Chapter 9

I sat on the couch alone, waiting patiently. I wasn't really patient though, my fingers couldn't stop moving. I couldn't stop fidgeting around, I was waiting, waiting for the turtles to come back from talking with their father.

The TV was on to distract me from everything, but the truth is that I was already distracted. I couldn't focus on the moving pictures, my mind was moving on itself.

I felt so cold, I wasn't as warm as it was before when I was with Mikey. I don't know why, I always felt so uncomfortable around other people. If I even touched another person's skin, I would cringe away and my own skin would feel like something was crawling on it. But it wasn't like that when Mikey touched me. Maybe it only happened when I was with humans. Just not with this specific turtle.

I've known the turtles for less than a week, and during these past few days, the only turtle that even made me smile because Mikey. I haven't smiled in so long. What the hell was this turtle doing to me? A shiver ran down my spine, it made my head shake and my teeth clench.

Then I thought of Donnie.

My relationship with Donatello was strong, I felt comfortable around him. He was kind and sweet, and you can definitely hold a conversation with him. But he didn't make me smile, he didn't get me to laugh. Sure, he understood me. But him and Mikey were completely different. Donnie was like the big brother I never had, always looking out for me. He accepted me when I couldn't even accept myself.

"Miss Matthews, it has come to my attention that something has occurred. Would you mind explaining it to me?" I jumped and turned around when I heard Splinter's soft voice. He stood behind me, his arms wrapped around his back, I could hear his breathing, that's how quiet it was.

"However, let us talk somewhere else. Please follow me to the dojo." He asked as he turned around, expecting me to follow after him. I huffed and sighed as I got up and pulled my hair out of the braid that it was in. My hair cascaded in silky soft waves now that it was dry.

I followed after him into the dojo and into a small room, the same room where he told me his story and I barley told him mine. He sat down on the mat and offered me a cup of warm tea which a gladly took to calm my nerves. I sipped a small bit, it smelled like cherry blossoms. Those were my mom's favorite flower in the spring.

We went on a family trip a year before they died, it was to Washington D.C. I was nine. It was just in time when the cherry blossoms bloomed and filled the streets and sidewalks with bright shades of pink. My mom loved it there. She said we were going to go back for my thirteenth birthday. We didn't.

"Are you remembering something?" Splinter asked. I looked up from my cup of tea and realized that he was staring at me with a soft smile. I noticed that tears were slowly running down my face without knowing. I too was smiling softly.

I chuckled a bit out of awkwardness and wiped my wet tears with the side of my hand. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence.

"I was thinking about my mom. She loved cherry blossoms." I whispered under my breath, not being able to wipe the smile off my face.

"I haven't thought of my parents in so long. But every time I think of them, it's always about that night when they died. It's never good thoughts. And now that I'm thinking about all the good times that we had, I can't stop smiling."

"Some times, we focus so much on the bad things in life that we forget all the good. Our minds focus on how a person dies and not the life that they had. We forget the memories that they created and lose who that person really was to us. Remembering how a person dies and not who they were, that is our biggest mistake." He said as he looked away and stared across the room.

Then everything clicked.

"The same thing happened to you, didn't it? With your family."

"I was simply a rat back then but the experience that I had left many scars on me. I loved my master very much but when he died, that was all I could think about. Just him, dead. But that's when I found the turtles and everything changed. I couldn't think of only him as a dead man, but as a man who loved me and cared for me. The turtles made me realize this true meaning."

"Then I guess they did the same for me." I smiled shyly and thought back to everything they had done. Raphael saving me from dying in the hands of the Purple Dragons, all of them saving me from Bruce, and now saving me from my past. They had all saved me.

"You have many demons. Why?" He asked the question that I dreaded the most.

"I don't really think that people have just one reason for being depressed. Having depression is just a pile of things pushing you down so hard until you snap or collapse. Those things that just made me snap are all over the place. It's the pressure of school. And not having a mom when you really need her the most. It's the pressure of..." I stopped, I wanted to say Bruce and explain to him what happened but I couldn't. Splinter waited patiently for me to continue and find the right words.

"I may not be able to understand everything but I do understand that sometimes we do not have strength. We feel weak and useless but then we have to remember that we are only human. People make mistakes. We hold onto the past because its the only thing that we know of." Then he stopped.

"Things like this happen to people, but it doesn't make then any less from another. It makes them stronger and smarter. It makes them think." He said referring to what the turtles told him about Bruce. He was trying to make myself feel better and it was working.

I grabbed his opened hand and held it tightly in mine to show him my gratitude. I felt shameful before, now I feel better. I've survived so much.

"Thank you." I whispered under my breath and looked away. It was just too many feelings for one day. I got up and left Splinter alone to try and find the turtles.

The lair was quiet, it had an eerie silence to it as I walked along the halls to find someone; in the back of my mind, I hoped I would find Mikey first. As I walked around, I found Raph punching a bag in his room. The door was wide open and my curiosity got to the best of me. I just had to talk to him.

I walked in the turtle's room and looked around quietly. To say that it was a mess was an understatement, there was pizza boxes on the floor, comic books and magazines placed in disorderly stacks, trash laying in the middle of the room, and I'm pretty sure I saw a cockroach scamper around.

The place looked like a garbage man's dream.

I chuckled lightly at the thought causing Raph to notice me and turn around. His face was angry at first, probably thinking I was one of his brothers but went soft when he realized it was just me. I leaned against the frame of his door and slightly smiled, not showing me teeth. If I wanted to get better, I would have to try somehow.

"I think that's the first time I've seen ya smile, sorta." He said as he crouched down and grabbed the water bottle that was at his feet. He took a small sip before I responded.

"What? Are you sure? I think that I'm smiling all the time." I said sarcastically and and smirked at him. I'm sure that he's telling the truth but decided to play a bit. He was the hot headed one, I'm sure he got sarcastic at times as well.

"Oh, right. My fault. You just happen to be Miss Sunshine all the fucking time. I suppose I just forgot about that." He said as he walked over to me. He was playing along and I liked it.

"You must be blind then, Mr. Bad Boy. I think you need to get your vision checked."

"Oh, so now I'm the bad boy." He said as his eyebrow ridge went up in an arrogant way.

"You've always been the bad boy, Raphie."

"Then I guess you know what bad boys do." Raph mumbled as he got closer to me, only now a few inches apart.

Then my mind flooded with thoughts, images of Bruce flashed through my eyes. His deep and terrifying voice was replaced with Raph's.

"S-Stop." I said as I pushed him back with my hands, giving him a hard nudge to go back to where he was. His face want to shock when he realized what was happening and stumbled back to a respectable distance.

"I- I'm so sorry, Riley." He said as he wiped the back of his neck with his hand, embarrassed and shamed of what he did.

"No, wait. It's my fault. I started something I couldn't do. I wanted to play and be a bit sarcastic. I wasn't expecting for it to turn to this." I said as I narrowed my eyes down at the floor, staring at the slippers on my feet.

"Well then you've accomplished that...Besides, I know that you don't like me. I see the way you look at Mikey." He said as he came back closed and pulled me into a soft hug to reassure me that everything was alright.

My eyes went wide when I heard what he had said. I don't like Mikey, do I?

"I don't look at Mikey in anyway."

"Could've fooled me. Ya look at Mikey like some superhero, like some guy how's gonna save you from everyone and everything."

"Well, of all people, I think I'm the one that needs saving the most." I mumbled under my breath, hoping that Raph didn't hear me but he did.

"I think that it's cause he's funny and silly. He's the innocent one that can never have a bad thought going through his mind. Mikey makes people smiled and I think you need that the most. A laugh can't hurt you, and it can save you from a lot of things. Besides, Mikey always considered himself as some sorta superhero. Maybe your his damsel." Raph said as he put his arm on my shoulder and squeezed it slightly.

"Raph, I'm a mess. No ones going to want something broken-"

"Sure, no ones gonna want something broken...unless they are sure that they can fix it."

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