“Just open you obsolete, ineffective, worthless piece of refuse!”
April’s eyes widened as Donnie stopped spearing the electronic door lock with his naginata blade and switched over to punching it. When Donnie started unlocking things Raph-style, then you knew the situation was bleak.
As if she needed more indictors of the dire extent of their circumstances than the deafening blare of the alarms and blindingly bright, flashing, red lights that seemed to be installed in every available space of the elevator compartment’s surface area. If she wasn’t so terrified for her life right now, she’d probably be well on the way to a crippling migraine right now.
Assuming the inevitable explosion of the overloading power cells didn’t kill them outright, the twenty story drop surely would. With Donnie being unable to find a way to open their only, hydraulically-frozen exit, they were screwed.
Temper spent and exhausted, Don sagged against the door. “I can’t do it. I can’t.” He turned back towards her, fists bloody and eyes full of sorrow. “April, I’m so sorry. We’re going to die here and I can’t save you.”
She managed a weak smile and placed a hand on his shoulder. “At least we can face it together.”
It was small comfort, but Donnie brightened a little anyway, before growing nervous, avoiding eye contact and wringing his hands. “Uh…April…since we don’t have a lot of time left, before…there’s something I need to tell you.”
Uh oh. He was about to confess. Her heart rate accelerated, surprising as she thought it was already beating top speed from their rapidly approaching doom. Afraid of not knowing how to respond, she’d been avoiding this admission with every kunoichi trick she’d ever learned and then some. She hadn’t wanted to face it until she knew how she felt and the moment was right. And now it never would be. She might as well, let him have it. Not that she could think of a good way to stop him now.
Taking a deep breath, he stilled his fidgety hands by grabbing hers and locked eyes with her. “April…I love you.”
She swallowed hard, so many possible responses, things she wanted to, ought to, say bubbling up and getting stuck in her throat. All she could manage to push out was the one thing she knew unequivocally to be true.
He started, clearly not expecting that. Although whether he was shocked that she’d known all along, hard as that was to believe, D did have a special gift for rationalization, or that he’d been anticipating some kind of acceptance or rejection was unclear to her.
Unable to bear the confusion in his warm, brown eyes, she struggled to find the words. But everything she might have said was locked up inside her. They were about to die. It was time to forget the stupid words that wouldn’t come. If these were her last moments, she’d spend them doing what she wanted, without any concern for the consequences.
His eyes about doubled in size as she grabbed the tails of his mask and pulled his face down to hers, pressing her mouth firmly against his. His shock melted into enthusiastic reciprocation, as he quickly figured out how to perfectly fit their differently proportioned lips together. He tasted like pizza, coffee and home.
The vice in her chest released and in one instant of clarity, all the complications, fears and worries fell away and she knew how she really felt. Sensing she was running low on air, he broke the kiss.
Her words finally unlocked as she gasped, breathless. “I love you too.”
A broad grin split his face. “Really?”
She nodded shyly.
His expression became one of absolute determination. “Shell with this. We’re gonna live!”
He quickly scanned the small room, ignoring the door that had been his previous focus. Snatching up his staff, he strategically stabbed several of the blinking, red lights in the ceiling with his blade. The now blocked off circuitry caused the patch of ceiling to glow even more brightly as it began overloading even faster than the rest of the room.
Donnie dropped his staff and pulled out his grappling gun as he wrapped an arm around her, drawing her in and holding her tightly to his chest. The ceiling blew in a firework of red sparks and the elevator became weightless for an instant as it began to fall, the roof cable no longer attached to the top.
She heard him fire the grapple as they began to fall. Her heart dropped into her stomach until they abruptly jerked to a halt. He curled his body protectively around hers as the elevator car rushed past them.
Adrenaline pumping, she looked up to see the grapple line tangled with the dangling elevator cable. Donnie smiled down at her and pressed the recoil button to reel them back up to the grapple hook.
She wrapped her arms around his neck, so that he could use both hands to complete what promised to be a long and tedious climb back to the top. But he didn’t seem tired at all. In fact, he appeared to be lighter than air, floating on cloud nine.
Smiling cheerfully, he looked into her face as he climbed. “Let’s go home.”
She couldn’t help smiling back in response. Maybe she had waited for the right moment after all.
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