"Lotus, I wanna ask your advice. Got a minute?"
She turned to Mike. "Of course. What is wrong?"
How do I make the Ronin listen to me? She has to stop what she's doing for her own sake. And I seem to be the only one willing to tell her. So what can I say to make her listen to me?"
"Is this what led to the fight between you and Allison?"
"My concern over the Ronin? Yeah, I guess so. Can you help me?"
"Why do you want to help the Ronin? I would have thought you would be more concerned about mending your relationship with Allison?"
"If the Ronin kills herself, there won't be any point to mending my relationship with Allie. Please, you have to help me. You do what the Ronin does; you can tell me what makes her tick?"
"I am sorry, but I do not do what the Ronin does. I can offer no clues to what she thinks." She touches his shoulder as he turned away. "It is commendable that you want to help the Ronin, but you should not do so at the cost of your own happiness."
"You don't understand, no one understands," he muttered.
"What do we not understand?"
"I'm not sure I understand any more."
April looked around the Lair. It was empty of people except Casey on the couch. "Where is everyone?"
"Doing their own thing. I've been doing some thinking."
"Careful you don't hurt yourself."
"I thought being serious was my role in our relationship?"
"That's what I wanna talk about. I think Allie and Mikey are making the same mistakes we did."
"And it's our place as the adults in this situation to tell them or just live our lives through them vicariously?"
"I already talked to Mike about it and I wanted to see what you had noticed, you being the investigative reporter."
"I've been so busy investigating the Ronin I haven't noticed anything with Mike and Allie. I knew they were fighting, but I figured they'd work it out. They always have. Are they really fighting as bad as we did?"
"Have you seen the look on Mikey's face!"
"Allie must be miserable. She hates hurting Mike."
"I figured it was probably something she picked up from you."
"You hurt me as much as I hurt you, Casey Jones!"
"I know and I'm not happy about it. We both made some stupid mistakes and I don't want to watch Mike and Allie make the same ones."
"I don't either. But this isn't about Mike and Allie."
"It's about us."
Casey looked down at the floor, then looked back up with no hint of mockery in his face. "You know how I feel about you, April."
"We already tried being together. It didn't work for either of us."
"Because neither one of us wanted to let go of our pride long enough to say I love you. I'm willing to say it now. I love you."
"Casey," April bit her lip. "I love you, too. But I can't handle a relationship with you. I couldn't stand the sight of you beaten-to-a-pulp then and I can't stand it now. When Dan brought you down here, I didn't know what to do. All I knew was that I couldn't help you, no matter how much I wanted to. You can't ask me to go through that every night."
"Here, eat." Sammie plunked a bowl of Macaroni and Cheese on the desk in front of Allie. "They haven't seen you at the cafeteria for a couple of weeks."
She pushed it away. "I'm not hungry."
"Eat! You have never seen me furiously angry, and I don't want to show you now." Allie reluctantly pulled the bowl back and took a bite. "Now, tell Dr. Sammie what's wrong."
"I don't want to talk about it."
"When you don't wanna talk about it, that's a sure sign you need to spill it."
"You really want to know the whole sordid truth with all the ghastly details?"
"As long as it isn't gory."
"Me and Mike broke up."
"Oh. Oh, Allie. Why? What happened?"
"He said we couldn't have a relationship as long as I was keeping secrets. I said we couldn't have a relationship if he could accept that I was going to keep secrets. And that was it."
"And that was it? He knows, doesn't he?"
"He wants me to admit it. After all I have done for him and he has to act like this. Why can't he just let things stay the way they've been."
"Why can't you tell him?"
"No one's holding a gun to your head and telling you that you can't."
"I can't tell him."
"You could if you really wanted to."
"Maybe at first, but not now."
"Why did you start this if you can't tell anyone anything?" Sammie frowned.
"I didn't think it would be like this." Allie pulled her knees to her chest and curled into a ball. "I thought it would be fun to watch their expressions change as they realized that I had done the impossible; me, the one who had to be protected; me, the one who had to be watched; me, the one who couldn't be trusted. I had the Shredder under my thumb. I had ran circles around them. But Mike's expression wasn't shocked; it was sad and hurt. And I never wanted to hurt Mike."
"You can still fix this by talking to him."
"But I can't tell him. I can't stand the hurt on his face. And discussing it will only hurt him more."
"You can't buy that."
"I'm not only buying it, I'm also following it."
"Are you sure you should be up and about?" Casey sat up, concerned.
Splinter sighed, "You sound like Donatello. Where are my sons?"
Zack dropped the book he was reading. "Sit down, Splinter! The last time you asked that you collapsed."
The rat sat in a chair with a smile. "They went patrolling with Mona and Lotus," Casey answered. "The gals said the Turtles needed to stop worrying and moping, and looking for ninjas was the cure."
"You don't feel bad, do you?"
"I feel fine, Zackery. They left while I was sleeping and I wondered about them. Is that natural?"
"Of course, it's natural," Casey snorted. "Zack just doesn't want to lose you. None of us do."
"I do not wish to leave you yet. But there is a journey I would like to make."
"I hope you don't want to visit the land of your birth," Zack grinned. "I think it would be a little hard to try to sneak you on board a plane."
"Not a journey that far. I only call it a journey because of the effort it will require. I want to visit a Temple."
"Any particular temple?" Casey asked. "This is New York; there's gotta be thousands of churches and temples."
"Preferably a Japanese one and one close to nature."
"But why do you wanna go?"
Splinter paused thoughtfully. "That is not an easy question to answer, Zackery. I feel I must, especially after I came so close to dying."
"But you don't believe in God?"
"Not as you know Him, but I do believe and trust in a Supreme Being. And I would like to make my peace with It. Do you understand?"
"I'm not sure I understand why you want to go, but I understand that it's important to you. There's only one problem."
"What's the problem?" Casey demanded. "He wants to go and there's bound to be something down here to disguise him in."
"The Turtles will have a fit when they find out you left. Ain't that true, Splinter?"
"It is true. I will handle my sons, though."
"Give me a minute and I'll be ready."
Zack shook his head. "No way, Casey. Splinter might be able to deflect the Turtles' anger from me over taking him out but if I take both of you, it'll take a presidential pardon to get me out of trouble."
Casey sighed, "I'll be up and outta here before too long, better enjoy it while it lasts."