Chapter 2: Little Changes
For the next two weeks, Shadow began living with the Hamato family. Still staying in Leo’s room she was finally able to get back into a somewhat normal sleep pattern. At times she would roam the room trying to see if anyone was around to attack. Anytime she woke up Leo would sit up in his bed and motion for her to go back to bed. They would both lay on their sides, facing each other. Leo would then take Shadow’s hand and hold it until she fell back to sleep, showing her that someone would always be with her. While the turtles trained in the dojo during the morning into the afternoon, Shadow just side outside of the dojo’s doors and watch the turtles train. April and Casey sometimes dropped by to talk to Shadow while the turtles were busy. At first Shadow would hide in Leo’s room and would only talk through the door with them but gradually she would crack the door open until finally they were talking face to face. Though there was a 3 feet gap from where they were standing to her when they talked, everyone was happy about the progress.
It was later that day while the turtles and Splinter were training when Casey and April dropped by with a surprise this time. Casey and April placed the bag on the living room table and watched from a short distance as Shadow slowly walked to it. Peering into the bag Shadow looked at them with a questionable look.
“It’s for you and Haku, Shadow. Now go and see if the two of you like them.” April said pointing towards Leo’s room. Shadow nodded her head, gathering the bag and Haku, Shadow jumped up to the second floor and closed the door quietly.
Shadow placed Haku and the bag on the floor, walking over to the light switch she closed her eyes so that the light change wouldn’t be too drastic for her eyes. The room was bathed in a soft light that Leo changed for her when she started to stay in his room. From her past she always stayed in the shadows and that made her eyes not accustomed to the harsh sunlight or lights in the lair. Donnie gave her temporary sunglasses to wear when she roamed the lair until he was able to make something more permeant for her to wear everyday including nights.
Shadow opened the bag onto the spare mattress that she was sleeping to see a bunch of style of clothing. Different styles so that she could pick what she would like. In a smaller bag Shadow saw that April and Casey got Haku a blue collar with little green turtle design across the sides. The tag on the collar was in shape of a human dog tag with his name engraved across it. Shadow smiled at the collar, calling Haku over she gentle adjusted the collar to Haku’s size. When the collar clicked together Shadow looked Haku over, smiling she placed Haku back on the ground to sleep. Shadow looked at the mountain of clothes that she had to choose but she knew what she already wanted to look like.
Slowly removing the old hoodie, jeans, cord, and sneakers she always wore she threw them into the rooms trash can.
‘This is goodbye to my old self. Now it’s time to move pass my past and focus on what I need to accomplish.’
Gathering the clothes she wanted to wear she dressed herself slowly so that her injured shoulder won’t hurt as much and the stitching won’t pull out again. Shadow walked to the mirror to see what she looked like.
Shadow was now wearing a black t-shirt with a red dragon on the front and red trim on the sleeves, collar, and bottom of the shirt. A long with the shirt was a dark blue jacket with two pockets for her hands another pocket on the left side of her chest. Dark blue jeans that fell loosely against her body that were being held up by a black belt with a sliver buckle. Black socks with black shoes that had red laces and trim running all across the shoes. Finally to help hide the cuts on her hands that have yet to heal, Casey left a note with some fingerless gloves in the bag saying that if he thought they looked badass and would make her look tougher. They were black gloves with red trim where the finger and wrist enter and exited and silver buttons road across the knuckles. Two pairs black diamond earrings were in her ears along with the locket that April found on her the first day they met was now hidden under her shirt, no one had asked them about the locket which helped but she knew they wanted to know but didn’t want to push it.
Shadow pushed her now clean long black hair back behind her ears, a small part of
the left side of her hair was left down to cover her face while she pulled the rest into a loose ponytail that fell to the middle of her back. Shadow picked up her temporary sunglasses that where tinted black with a slick black frame over her eyes.
Shadow gathered all the other clothes and placed them back into the bag she walked up to the doors and was about to leave when she heard the sound of the turtles coming out from the dojo. Pressing her ear to the door she listened to noise outside of the room.
“Hey Case watcha doin’ standin’ there.” Raph yelled out.
“Raph we’re waiting for Shadow. We got her some clothes to wear and we’re waiting to see what she picks.” April stated.
“Yea, and I got her something ta make her look badass and tough.” Casey said with a chuckle.
“Oww, watcha do that for”
“Arnold Casey Jones what did you give Shadow.” April demanded.
“Nothin’ bad let’s just see if she even wants ta wear them before ya beat me ta pulp.”
“I think that waiting for her might scare her back into the room guys.” Don said.
“I agree with Don let’s just go about our routines and look at her if she says it’s alright.” Leo said.
“I’m going to grab the camera.” Mikey said
“Mikey don’t. Who knows what that could do.” Donnie yelled.
“Michelangelo do as your brother as asked you.” Splinter stated.
“Ugh, fine sensei.” Mikey said in a huff.
Shadow chuckled at the amusing conversations that they had.
‘Maybe I could be like that one day.’
Shadow stepped back and took a deep breath, pushing opened the doors she looked out to see everyone was still gathered by the living room staring at Leo’s door. Shadow jumped down from the ledge and walked over to everyone.
“How do I look?” Shadow asked.
At first everyone eyed her in silence but nodded in agreement that she looked great, Casey was happier over the gloves she was wearing stating that he had great fashion. April and Raph rolled their eyes at that statement. But that wasn’t the end of things for Shadow, everyone including Splinter agreed it was time for Shadow to get out of Leo’s room and into her own. Lucky for them there was a spare room beside Leo that they used for storage that she could live in.
But getting Shadow to leave would be the hard part but thanks to Don and April’s computer skills they got Shadow leave for the next two weeks to get an education and riding lessons. It took some convincing by everyone but Shadow agreed with the mindset it would get everyone off her back. Shadow would be staying at April’s apartment while she took an IQ test to see where she belonged then online courses in that standing.
Then Casey would take her for riding lessons, everyone knew she was underage to get a license to legally drive but Shadow stated that she would only ride at night and with the guys, plus taking all of those test just to prove she was street legal annoyed her and being in the system didn’t help with no birth certificate. So Shadow chose Casey to teach her how to ride a motorcycle rather than a car because she didn’t like being enclosed places.
For the next two weeks Shadow lived at Aprils’ while during the day Shadow stayed glued to a computer screen only leaving to the bathroom and to eat and sleep. April was amazed by the score she got on the IQ test.
“Wow Shadow I knew you were smart because of all the talk you have with Donnie and I about his inventions but I didn’t think this.” April said the first day Shadow started living with her.
“Read a lot of books while staying with the guys plus the library is a good place to stay at during the winter. There are a lot of places to hide in when the lights go out but nothing to do but read.” Shadow said.
April peered at the screen to see the score, 187 but what amazed her more was that she found out that Shadow could read over 10,000 words a minute and had an eidetic memory. But anytime April brought it up did Shadow shut down and just block out any of April’s attempts of contact. All Shadow would do was work on her online courses and go riding with Casey.
Nights with Casey would free her from the computer screen that was causing her headaches to get worse. Casey would take her out to abandon air strip to teach her all about riding a motorcycle. Casey was about to rig up a smaller version of the shell cycle with Raph so that Shadow could practice on. Shadow and Casey rode from dusk till dawn, sometimes Casey caught Shadow laughing and smiling when she rode with him. The time spent with Casey and April had Shadow break more and more of her walls down.
At the end of her stay Shadow was able to get a college degree in both biochemistry and medicine she said she wanted to be able to help the guys out when they got injured. April said that Shadow could continue with her education even after she left. Shadow nodded and said she would think about it, Shadow was leaving back to the lair after she dismantled the bike she rode with Casey. Shadow said he wanted to build her bike from scratch now that she had an idea of riding, she even sketched out a design in her notebook that she gave to Casey to hold on. The detail on the bike caught Casey’s attention saying that it was as if the drawing was real.
April and Casey saw Shadow off as she made her way back to the lair through the sewers. It was about a twenty minute walk back to the lair but she didn’t mind, it helped her clear her mind especially after being away for so long. Shadow had to leave Haku with the turtles and Splinter because April’s apartment didn’t allow animals.
Carefully Shadow entered the passcode to the lair. The doors opened slowly to the dim light lair, Shadow thanked the guys for the light change.
“Come on Shadow we got a surprise for you.” Mikey exclaimed the moment Shadow walked through the door.
Shadow cocked her head to the side and looked at the guys with a questionable look on her face.
“What did you do?” Shadow asked.
“Come on kid it’s better ta show than ta tell plus its easier this way.” Raph stated grabbing Shadow’s shoulder, Raph pulled her close to him and started walking with everyone up the stairs to the room next to Leo's.
“Isn’t this the storage room?” Shadow asked.
The doors to the storage room were different from before. At first the doors were just some boards the guys found and nailed against the wall but now they were replaced with cherry oak doors that were stain black with a matching red dragon painted across it.
“Thought you would like the design, since it matches the shirt you always wear.” Leo said. Shadow stared at the door with wide eyes.
“Is this for me?” Shadow asked.
The guys nodded.
“Well you are a part of our family and need a place to stay other than Leo’s now.” Don said.
Raph gave Shadow a light push towards the doors saying,
“We’ll be downstairs when ya finish.”
Everyone jumped down from the second floor and made their way to the dojo. Mikey jumped down and gave Shadow a wink and a thumbs up. Shadow smiled and turned her attention back to the room. Turning the knobs slowly Shadow pushed the doors to the room open, feeling for the light switch that was near the door Shadow turned the lights on and gasped at the room. It may have been dimly lit but everything still visible to her.
The room was setup in a basic Japanese style. A bed with a cherry oak bed frame was placed right against the wall in the left corner of the room with a queen size mattress that was covered with a black comforter with red on the edge of the comforter with Japanese writing down middle in gold saying Hamato in kanji. The pillows had the same design and color as the comforter. The bushido code was carefully written with in black paint in kanji above the bed. A cherry oak nightstand was to the right side of the bed with a lantern design lamp that had a very low glow with an alarm clock beside it. The lantern lamp was tall rectangular shape with a black dragon on each side with a red background and black painted wood supporting it.
A few feet from the nightstand stood a cherry oak bookcase with all kinds of material arts book; some were in Japanese, Chinese, and English. Along with some from Leo’s collection on war and battle strategies, Donnie brought some medical and scientific books by April’s request after seeing what Shadow was learning. Raph even put a few of the books he had on the shelf; fighting and motorcycle books, while Mikey put a few of his comic books in there probably saying that it was too educational. A small black two seated couch was against the right side of the room with a spare red blanket laying across the top.
A cherry oak desk and chair were pushed against the left side of the door with a laptop and lamp with the same design and style as the one by her bedside on top. The laptop was red with Hamato Shadow written in black on the top in kanji. When open the laptop had black trim on the top and base, the keys were also black with white on each of the keys to represent the letters and numbers. On the right side of the door was a cherry oak dresser with clothes of the same style as Shadow would normally wear from April and Casey in them. Nakama in kanji was written on the top draw in bright golden color and Hato on the bottom. On top was a shell cell that Donnie made with everyone’s numbers already programed in, while everyone’s was green Donnie went the colors that Shadow usually wore. Black shelled with red in between where the scales connected, along with inside buttons the screen was also dark grey. Shadow quickly went through the shell cell’s contacts before placing in her left front pocket.
An area rug was placed in the middle of the room; black with red trim and in the middle were the guys’ names written in gold kanji with Shadows’ in the middle of theirs. Haku had a small dog bed that was press against the base of the bed. It was a red on the outside with black trim and small black paw print design on the sides and Haku’s name was stitched on the backside in black.
Looking around the room Shadow could see that she was starting to become more and more accustomed to the Hamato family and even the word that would make her cringe; family. Shadow decided that it was time to really change for the guys, her past was her own but maybe with the help of the Hamato family along with the two human she could call friends, Casey and April she could get over the hurdles and start to have a normal life once again. Shadow turned towards the doors of her room, touching the door knobs slightly she made her resolution.
Shadow pushed the doors open to the dimly light lair with reason to live other than her dog and the others that gave their lives for her. Shadow was now living for her family and friends along for herself.