April breathed a sigh of relief. School was out for the day. Casey had a favor to do for Angel, something about helping set some new recruits straight, so she'd see him later when he stopped by the lair. She was planning on heading down herself now that she was finally free.
She probably should stop home and get her homework done before going, since trying to get it done around the turtles, particularly Mikey, was a recipe for disaster, but whatever. It would get done somehow.
After a whole six hours stuck sitting in classrooms, she needed some physical activity. As brutal as her kunoichi training could be, right now it was just what the doctor ordered. Plus, now that Shadow and Lisa had started training, she wasn't at the bottom of the totem pole anymore. Life was looking up.
As she walked past the park by their school, she caught sight of Irma and had to fight an instinctive urge to either flee or attack. Controlling her breathing, she reminded herself that this was just Irma and not Kraang Subprime.
It wasn't Irma's fault that she'd been targeted by the Kraang. If anything, it was April's. The only thing Irma was responsible for was having the poor judgment to befriend April.
Feeling a twinge of guilt, she postponed her training to hang with the girl who, somehow after everything, still wanted to be her friend. She wasn't using ninja stealth, but Irma seemed completely unaware of her approach, sitting at the picnic table, engrossed in her laptop.
"What's up?" Irma nearly jumped out of her seat and quickly slammed her laptop shut, turning an uncharacteristic shade of pink.
"April? Uh, hi! What's up?" April couldn't help but smile. It was rare to see the unflappable Irma so flustered and moments like these were to be savored.
"Nothing much. Just saw you and thought we could hang out for a bit." Finally composed, Irma managed a genuine smile.
"Thanks. I know you're usually busy."
"Not too busy for my friends. What are you up to?" She gestured towards the laptop and Irma flushed again.
"Nothing." April quirked an eyebrow, resisting using her psychic powers to satisfy her curiosity. Irma's mind had already been messed with enough without her poking around in there.
"Fine, but you have to swear you won't laugh at me." April solemnly placed a hand over heart and responded with mock sincerity.
Irma glared, crossing her arms and April sighed.
"Seriously though. I will not laugh at you." Finally, relenting and adopting a look that dared April to tease her, she answered.
"Just looking at some fan art and reading fan fiction." April didn't laugh, but she was surprised. Irma was so serious and studious. It was hard to envision her doing something so purely fun. She would never have guessed Irma to be a fangirl of…well anything really. Irma quickly jumped to her own defense.
"It's a totally legit art form. I'd even say pure art as people make it for the sake of creating without any concerns of profit. There are no corporate overlords, just creativity."
April laughed a little as she felt Irma might be laying it on a little thick, probably to compensate for the big reveal of what she was geeking out over. It better not be Crognard the Barbarian. Mikey gushing over that was enough for the entire world.
"Ok, so are you going to tell me which corporate overlord's property you are creatively liberating?" Flushing again, Irma sighed and opened her laptop letting April see. She almost did blurt out laughing, but caught herself at the last minute. Space Heroes. Leo would love that.
Her almost laughter died in her throat when she saw the fan page Irma had been looking at. Interpreting her friend's silence as potential criticism, Irma rushed to the artist's defense.
"This stuff is a team effort, but the stories are really amazing, like publishing quality amazing, and I think the accompanying art is really unique and beautiful."
But that wasn't why April was suddenly furious. She was staring at her own art. Pictures she'd drawn as gifts no less. And this Sunshine Kunoichi person was passing them off as his or her own. Leo had probably shared them with other Space Hero fans, being the generally trusting soul that he was when it came to people he perceived as kindred spirits.
Without a word, she snatched up Irma's laptop to her friend's squeal of dismay and examined the page in greater detail. Every picture she'd given Leo was up here. Well she'd just have to contact this Sunshine Kunoichi and say her piece.
Giving a cursory glance at the story Irma had up, she froze. The wording was familiar. Too familiar. They were her words, phrases and suggestions, given to Leo at his request. Who was he talking to? Who wrote this?
Co-written by Sunshine Kunoichi and Pizza King. Edited by Fearless. The pieces snapped together and she calmly pushed the laptop back to Irma, slapping a likely unconvincing smile on her face.
"Actually I think it's great that you're into Space Heroes. I know someone else who is probably the ultimate Space Heroes fan, so there's nothing to be embarrassed about." Irma was giving her an appraising look.
"Sorry Irma, but I just remembered something I need to do." Before Irma could reply, April was up and stomping off.
What was that about?
Raph flipped listlessly through channels, surprised how boring the lair was with just the four of them here. Granted Master Splinter was in his room, but he was meditating so that didn't really count.
Considering this was his whole world for fifteen years you'd think he'd settle comfortably back into it. But growing up doesn't happen in reverse and, now that he had a taste of a larger world, he found he preferred it.
He'd always love his family, but they really drove him nuts sometimes. It was nice to have friends you chose too and, considering how bored he was right now, he'd rather have them here.
As usual, Donnie was cooped up in his lab, working on something that would no doubt sound like scientific gibberish if anyone asked him to explain. He didn't do it on purpose, given how eager he usually was to talk about his projects, expecting everyone to share his enthusiasm.
For such a smart guy, he had a lot of trouble with the concept of dumbing it down. Usually by the time he finally got to a level other people could understand, he was frustrated and a bit snarky. And that was why Raph never asked him what he was working on anymore.
Normally, when the day got slow like this he'd challenge Mikey or Leo to pinball or bubble hockey, but they were in the kitchen playing 'Space Heroes What If' or something. Leo would usually present some Space Heroes scenario to Mikey and he actually recorded their zany little brother as he went off some wild, related tangent.
How could Leo want to listen to crazy Mikey rambles more than once, even if they were about Space Heroes? As much as Raph could use some competitive companionship about now, there were some things he would never stoop to and voluntarily listening to Mikey gibberish ranked at the top.
He heard footsteps approaching and breathed a sigh of relief. Finally someone was here who might be up for doing something actually interesting. He was about to greet April, but backed off when he saw her expression. Her eyes locked onto Leo and she stomped over to him.
Leo started a bit when he saw her, but tried to play it cool. Raph hadn't seen him behaving this awkwardly since that first time Leo had tried to introduce him to Karai on the Byerly Building.
"Oh, hey April. What's up?" She crossed her arms and glared down at him.
"Sunshine Kunoichi? Really?" Leo looked like a deer in headlights.
"Oh shell." In a green and blue blur, he was up and nearly bowling over Donnie, who'd come out at the sound of April's voice, as he raced for the garage door in the lab.
"Oh no you don't!" April yelled as she gave chase. Raph looked back and forth between his two remaining bewildered brothers and smirked. Maybe today wouldn't be so boring after all.