The Way Home


“Did you even have an exit strategy when you blew up his ship?” Monroe laughed, shaking his head as he asked.

Mona Lisa grinned at her little brother. “No, but I’m good at improvising. Besides, I had to act fast if I wanted to take Filch down. There was no time for planning little details.”

“Like your escape?” He responded rolling his eyes. His phone dinged and he looked down at it in annoyance. “This is the fifth text in as many minutes. Seriously, mom is smothering me.”

She began packing his homework and textbooks into his backpack. “You know she’s only freaking because she worries about you being out after dark.”

He huffed. “I suppose it’s better than her freaking out over you being a mutant.”

She sighed. “I think it’s more my vigilante lifestyle than the scales and tail that bother her, but she’ll get used to it. Maybe.”

He shrugged. “At least Tyler approves of her your new look.”

She choked on a snort of laughter at the memory of her artistic, older brother. “I guess that ‘more interesting now’ could be interpreted that way.” She handed his pack over to him and he reluctantly took it. “You’d better get a move on before mom sends out a search party. Wouldn’t want to end up as April’s next human interest story.”

Returning a fake scowl, he stood and started for the door, pausing for a moment to call back to her. “See you tomorrow after school.”

She smiled. “Wouldn’t miss it.”

As he disappeared into the tunnels, her phone pinged. It was Taylor, asking if she was available to hang.

Not tonight. Got plans. Tomorrow?

The response was nearly instantaneous.

Bet I know with who. ;) Talk to you tomorrow.

She couldn’t help shaking her head at her friend’s inference. With any luck, Taylor would finally find someone who stuck and she could start giving back as good as she got.

“Someone’s popular tonight.”

Her face split into a wide smile at the sound of the familiar voice. “You could have joined in any time you wanted.”

Raphael stepped out of a darkened tunnel into the light of her lair. “And have to waste some of my attention on other people?Nah.”

She rolled her eyes, though her heart sped up. Would that ever stop happening? She didn’t think she wanted it to.

Hopping to her feet to cover that he’d flustered her, she sauntered over to him, curling her tail around his calf as she provocatively stopped with her snout just short of his beak. “You’re all geared up. I take it, this isn’t just a social call.”

He sighed dramatically. “Much as I would love that, sadly nope. Donatello’s ruining everyone’s personal time with his surveillance of the city. He’s noticed some weird stuff going on and now Leonardo’s having us split up and check it out. If you’re free, I could use some back up.”

A thrill shot up her spine as it did every time she had a mission. How could it have possibly taken her so long to find her true calling? “I’ll have to check my calendar, but I think I can pencil you in.”

He chuckled, slipped away from her and darted out of her lair.

With a sly grin, she took off after him, not catching up until he was almost atop the building closest to the nearest exit from her dwelling. Flipping off the top of the fire escape railing, she bowled him over, knocking him prone on his shell as she straddled his chest. “Gotcha.”

“A new record.”

Stepping off him, she reached out a hand to pull him up. “Way easier now that I’m not human.”

He frowned slightly. “Was it that bad?”

Her nose scrunched up. “It was a disaster. Everyone was trying so hard, even me, and it just wasn’t working. I guess that’s what happens when you try and force yourself into being who you think you should be, instead of who you are.”

He winced.“Sorry.I thought that’s what you wanted.Guess I kind of screwed that up.”

She shook her head. “It’s what I thought I wanted to. Besides, I think it’s what I needed.”

His brow furrowed in confusion. “But…”

Tracing a hand along his cheek, she lifted his chin, so that his eyes met hers. “It was a mistake I had to make in order to understand.”

“Understand what?”

She smiled, running her fingers along the edge of his mask. “Who I want to be. Where I belong. Who I want to belong with.”

His expression smoothed into one of relief and he leaned his forehead against hers. “Best mistake ever.”

A loud boom, emanating from somewhere below, caught their attention and they hurried to the ledge to see odd, purple smoke pouring out of every window of a multi-story, store building.

He looked over at her with a mischievous glint in his eyes. “Ready to save the city?”

She could feel a smile spreading across her face. “With you?Anytime.”

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