Categories > Cartoons > Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Burn My Heart To Ash

by RikaDivani 0 reviews

April turns to her younger sister in a moment of great need. But will she help when all her memories of April are unfavorable? Raphael x OC eventually rated for gore, violence and possible later c...

Category: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Humor,Romance - Warnings: [V] [?] - Published: 2014-12-05 - 4541 words

  I fell off my bed in a tangle of sheets with a yelp when a car horn honked loudly outside my home. I shook my head and tried to get up, but the honk came again, startled me, and I smacked my head on the side of my dresser. I lurched to my feet with my head swimming and walked out of my room like a retarded mummy on crack, skittering with my arms outstretched and smacking into everything with heavily blinking eyes. The honking gets more insistent as I stumble down the stairs with a death-grip on the hand-rail and dash for the front door. I look through the windows as the honk comes for the umpteenth time to see my sister April standing on the porch and yelling at someone in a van behind her. The honking dies down and April turns to push the doorbell button.

I open the door as it goes off with a deadpan expression. “Kinda late for courtesy, I already brained myself on the dresser and almost concussed myself getting downstairs.”

She grimaced at my expression and spread her hands in a ‘sorry’ kind of gesture. “Casey is kind of impatient to get off the street. Um. Can you open the garage?” She looks sweaty and anxious. I glance down to spot her hands now at her sides, spread wide open, shaking.
“I’ll open the garage if you can swear to me there aren’t any drugs, or other illegal items or persons in that van. And if there are April-” I put a finger up in threat.
“No no!” She put her arms up in an X. “It’s not like that. I swear us being here is not illegal in any way, shape, or form!” Her expression is conciliatory, her body language practically begging me to let her, and whoever the hell the guy was, in.
“Fine. The button is over there.” I step aside so she can follow my pointing finger and dash for the garage button. I’m even more suspicious than before now.

  The guy drives into the converted barn and I follow April out into the makeshift garage. “April, I want an explanation for this.” If she tries to wave me off with that weak crap about it just being an impromptu visit, I’ll smack her right in the mouth. “I think I deserve one after you almost killed me with your fucking horn.” I whip my head around to glare at the guy getting out of the front seat. He cringes back inside with a grimace and shuts the door.

Damn straight. Better be scared-

“May, I’m sorry. I just needed a place to hide for a while. I didn’t do anything bad, but the people who are after us, well...” She reached out to grasp my shoulder.
I knew this was going to happen eventually. Even with all the odds against April getting kidnapped or murdered or singled out for a fuckin’ drug ring to use her as a mule- Her luck and stupidity would couple together and raise the chances because it was April. “What is it? Do they want your kidneys or some stupid shit like that?”
She looks nervous and swallows. “Not mine. But I’m sure they’d be happy to take them... I’m here for my... friends.” She turns and opens the doors to the van.
“Friends? Ap-” The first thought I had when she said ‘friends’ was that she’d fallen in with the wrong crowd. Grown woman or not, April was still probably- Then I saw them step down out of the truck and it was like I was hit by a truck. What? Genetic experiments? They don’t look like the mutants from Chernobyl. Maybe aliens? Either way, is it the government that’s after them? April can’t hide from the U.S. Government on a farm! “April...?” It was a breathy question and I realize I’m listing to the side when she wraps an arm around my waist to keep me upright.
“These are my friends: Michelangelo, and Raphael.” They each raised a hand as she spoke their names and then dropped them, looking disinterested and decidedly depressed.

  I can’t really remember whether I fainted or just wobbled on my feet a lot, but there’s a blank spot in my memory and suddenly I’m in the kitchen with April pouring me some chamomile tea. I jolted and tried to reconcile the memory skip, but just found a hazy wobble to the kitchen with April saying something to me. It’s mostly in words, you know those memories where you know what happened but you can’t see it? “April. Did I just see, what I think I saw?”
“Depends: What do you think you saw?” She sits down next to me at the table.
I show her exactly how amused I am with my facial expression, which is to say, NOT AT ALL. “Fuck you.”
“I’m sorry May, I’ve had kind of a bad day. Can’t we be civil to each other for a few minutes?” There were dark circles around her eyes and she was still kind of shaking, though it’d gotten better now that we were inside.
“It’s six in the morning, you honk at me until I nearly kill myself, I stumble down to let you and the guy with the van in, and get the shock of a lifetime and you won’t even explain without being a smart-ass?” I speak quickly and let a whiplash into my tone.
April makes a face like she wants to argue but sighs and sinks into the table. “I’m sorry, okay? My friends- my family in New York is broken up and some of them might be dead, or all of them...” She starts to hiccup and sob, her body shaking with it.

  I get up and walk over to the sink to wet a couple washcloths. I put one on the back of her neck and tap her face with one until she leans up and I can put it over her eyes. She leans back over with it and just sobs to her hearts content as I rub the washcloth on her neck. I need a cigarette. Or alcohol. Which one will April bitch about less? Eventually I trudge upstairs and get my electronic cigarette. It was just flavored vapor, as April had hounded me to quit a long while ago, but who gives a fuck? I walk back down with it clenched in between my lips, making another cup of tea and setting it in front of April./ Oh what the hell, I’ll just make breakfast./ I reach up in the cabinet for my pancake mix but can’t quite reach, as it’s up top and I don’t use it much so I’d never gotten around to moving it this month. I huff and walk over to the stool, dragging it over to step up and grab before falling back down to my other foot on the floor. I’m so lazy I just left it up there when I could’ve just done that. I need to get a horse or cow or something, I’m going too soft. Maybe some chickens.

  I pour the mix into a bowl as April calms herself, sipping her tea and dabbing her face with the washrag. “May?” I grunt. “I couldn’t tell you before- well no, I didn’t want to- I met some people a while back who weren’t... Really people.” I throw her a glance over my shoulder to prompt her to go on. “Splinter and the four turtles, you just saw two of them... Were mutated.” Obviously. I open the fridge and grab eggs and milk. Get to the point. “Splinter was a pet rat to a ninja master, and somehow when the mutagen started to- well- mutate him, it burned the images of his master training into his mind, he says it’s the only constant he had in his life from Japan to here.” I stir the milk in to the pancake mix with a white knuckled grip on the whisk. She clears her throat, “He has a photographic memory now, as a by-product... Anyway, he started to train and when the baby turtles grew a little, he trained them too.” If I hadn’t just seen them for myself I’d be calling bullshit. “They became ninjas, and eventually Splinter let them go above ground.” She tapped her coffee cup of tea with her nails. “They became vigilantes, they’re really good guys. They saved people from the Japanese Foot Clan, Shredder moved them over here from Japan- to kill Splinter’s ‘owner’. And eventually they defeated him and dismantled his empire. The crime rate went up for a while but when it was clear they wouldn’t tolerate it, it halved its original amount. They spend every night except Monday and Wednesday out on the streets, stopping rapes and kidnappings and murders.” She bites her lip when I glance back at her again, my hand automatically cracking the egg lightly against the bowl. “But last night they found the lair.” Sounds more like a villain HQ than a hero vigilante home but what the hell do I know? “They took Splinter and Leo, and Donnie hit an emergency flush in one of the tunnels so that Mikey and Raph would leave without him. Mikey had to knock Raph out to get him to calm down long enough to call me.” Why didn’t he just go with them?
“And he flushed them down whatever tunnel because?” I turn on the stove while I stir the last few remaining chunks of powder into goo.
“Donnie had to stay behind and set a false trail, open up their escape and delete all the data on his computer hard drives remotely.” She sighs, “Basically he did a lot of work after sending them off but it had to be done or they’d have everything the turtles had. Now they have safe houses that aren’t compromised with resources inside that could be useful to rescue them all. But...” She dipped her head. “They’re all so self-sacrificial for each other and innocent bystanders... I think it’s just a knee-jerk reaction now.” Never thought the ‘wrong crowd’ would be a bunch of heroes who teach April to value her life less than the innocent. How do you even fucking argue with that? I grab my waffle-maker and a bag of brown sugar, pouring in the batter after mixing some of the brown sandy-stuff in./ I don’t think you can without looking like a bitch, but I’m willing to give it a shot/. I put a pan on the stove and get back in the fridge for some bacon.

  The silence is almost deafening, the slight ring in the air irritating my eardrums. I tap my fingertips on the counter-top in a flowing rhythm. “Don’t you have questions?” I stare down the waffle-maker like it killed my mother. “Anything?” What does she want me to say!? I’m sorry these... Mutant people who aren’t people- who you just called your family- are missing and probably dead? What do you say in this situation? Even if I wasn’t socially retarded this would be hard to figure out!
“Nope.” I open the waffle-maker and shut it again when I see it hasn’t warmed up enough to cook yet. “I need to take in and adjust so just... Shut up for a minute.” She looks put off and I can’t even blame her this time. Even if she IS being a whiny bitch, she’s... She’s apparently got reason to. It was hard to swallow that sentiment and not just spew angry word-vomit in her general direction.

  I kept opening and pouring and flipping waffles out onto a plate until I had a sizable stack and had to get more mix and plates. I cooked an entire heap of bacon, and a plate full of eggs in sunny-side-up, and scrambled fashion. It was something to do while my brain worked. So my sister knows mutants who are also vigilantes, got close enough to consider them family, and now they’ve been kidnapped.

  I had tried to teach April to be a better person our whole lives. I was the younger sister, but she was the wild child. She was partying in the city whenever she could sneak out with her friends- smoked weed and drank like a lush. She had a pregnancy scare and stopped doing the wild bull-shit, but it didn’t stop her selfish personality. I’d tried to get her to consider other people as people and not just things for her to use but I didn’t have much of an effect and even when one of her friends had committed suicide it was like it didn’t concern her at all. She eventually moved to the city and when mom and dad died I took over the farmhouse without a single peep from her. And now all of a sudden she gives a shit. As much as I’d wished for this and felt the warmth of affection creeping up my throat, I hate that it took something so extreme to snap her out of it. I gave up on her, thought she was a lost cause. “You’re a bitch.” I mutter to myself. I don’t know if I’m talking to myself or to her, but both are accurate.
“What?” Her irritated tone gets to me.
“I said, you’re a bitch. I spent years trying to help you become... this-!” I turn and gesture angrily at her. “A normal functioning member of society and instead, the moment I give up and let it go, thinking you’re some kind of sociopath, you go off and find another family/-” She flinches at the venom in my voice, “- and I’ll be damned if they didn’t get you to be exactly who I always wanted you to be.” I slam the frying pan into the sink and she jumps at the loud clang. “So what was it, April? Did your pretty, skinny, red-headed ass feel like it’d found kindred spirits? People who throw themselves head-first into danger- oh wait, they’re doing it because they fucking care- Huh? Is that what you needed?” I spin around and jam my finger in her face, taking a puff of my cigarette and blowing out the smoke as I accused her. “Like you didn’t have that here? Like I didn’t spend every weekend fishing your ass out of some kind of dangerous situation- not because you needed to but because you /wanted to!”
“I’M SORRY!” I go still and glare at her as she heaves with her breath. “I’m sorry I was a crappy sister, and a crappy daughter, and I’m sorry I left you alone after mom and pop died. I’m sorry I became a better person for someone who needed me that wasn’t you!”
“Don’t pull that shit with me! You know damn well that’s not what this is about.” I step forward, staring her down, we’re nearly the same height. “If you were gonna have a sudden turnaround why couldn’t it be here? Why is it that you suddenly care about people?”
“Because they’re not people and they still care.” A pin dropping right now would sound like an explosion to me.

  We stare into each others’ eyes for a long time before she speaks again. “Because they had no reason to care, they owed nothing to humans, and humans consistently screw them over... But they cared. They saved people, they didn’t hold their ignorance against them.” She turned and pressed her hand to the tabletop, her other hand rubbing her forehead. “My whole life I was in this frame of mind that other people wanted things from me and if they got them, they wouldn’t need or want me anymore. The guys weren’t like that.” She sighs and cracks her back as I watch her. “You were younger and I didn’t count you in all the calculations because you were my sister and you were supposed to annoy me. After I met the guys, and they kept giving and giving and never asked me for anything in return unless they HAD to... I realized that not everybody was like that. A majority, but not all of them.” She bites her lip, “And I was one of them. I took and took until the people around me had nothing left to give and then I left and didn’t look back. I didn’t realize that I was screwing people over, I thought they were using me too. My family using me for chores and other small, stupid stuff. My friends for popularity and my boyfriends... Well I don’t have to tell you what they wanted.” Easiest thing to understand that she’s said so far/. “So I started small, and I changed, in small ways. The guys and Splinter became my family, I fell in love with Casey who just wanted to love me.” She drops her head into her hands. “And I’m asking you to help me, when I didn’t even think of coming back to you. I didn’t apologize, or try to make amends. And I’m sorry. But I- I couldn’t do it, May. I couldn’t ask you to forgive me, and I couldn’t put any stress on you anymore. You’d moved on and I wasn’t- r-ruining your life anymore-” She was sobbing again, her ragged breathing ripping at my insides in a way that shouldn’t be possible after all the shit she put me through. April was years older in body, but years younger in maturity- Her entire being existed just for herself and her own needs when she was younger. Now she was suddenly turning over a new leaf and sincerely asking for help that she needed, not for her, but for someone else. /Where am I, the twilight zone?

  April took a while to cry and eventually slumped, exhausted, onto the table. “So what do they need, exactly?” She looked up and gestured at the house. “Hiding, fine. If I end up dead because of this, I’m haunting your ass.” She blinked at my deadpan expression and leapt on me like I was about to be hit by a speeding bullet. She hugged me tightly and gasped for breath, sobbing into my neck as I sighed and put a hand on her back.
“Thank you!” She whimpered into my throat and squeezed me.
“I can tell you still don’t get it, April.” She pulls back to rub her eyes and give me a confused look. “I never helped you because I wanted you to be less irritating. I did what I did because I’m your family and that’s what you do. If these people-who-aren’t-people were able to do what I couldn’t, then I owe them. If they really are like your family, that makes them my family. But I AM gonna bitch your ass out a lot. Resentment doesn’t just fuckin’ go away.”
She nodded furiously and squeezed my arms, her hands curled around them in a death-grip. “I understand.”
“I don’t wanna talk to you for a while, go find a corner, sit down and stay out of my sight.” She abruptly turned and walked out of the room, heading for the garage where her ‘family’ was probably still hiding.

  I counted how long that conversation lasted by looking at the clock and deducting the time it would have taken for me to get downstairs and to the kitchen table. We had talked for a lot longer than we ever used to. Even counting the time when I locked her in her room with her windows nailed shut to keep her from going to a drug party. Fuck. I need a drink, who gives a shit if she throws a hissy-fit about baiting an alcoholic. I checked myself, She probably doesn’t bitch as much anymore.

  I drank peppermint Schnapps and always tried to stop when I got tipsy. I wanted to feel good and floaty and warm, not stupid and lumbering and depressed. So I grabbed my bottle and walked upstairs to my attic-room that I used to share with April and stepped out onto the roof. I went still and jerked my head to the left when I detected movement. Apparently the two turtles liked to be on the roof, cause they were sittin’ there, watching me like a pair of exhausted zombie-people. When I sat down and looked away from them, they seemed to relax and sat back on their hands, staring out toward the city. I turned the opposite direction so I couldn’t see them from the corner of my eye anymore and uncorked my drink. The pop echoed in the night and I took a sip as I leaned back and lie down. I sat up every once in a while to take a drink, lying back down after swallowing and glaring at the heavens like they’d personally wronged me.

  Eventually I found myself lolling my head over to look at the turtle-guys on the barn roof. The one on the right was being held by the one on the left. He was curled up in a ball under the other one’s arm and seemed to be shaking a little. The bigger one looked older, more together, but I thought fuzzily in my tipsy-drunk mind that maybe he wanted a drink too. So I corked the bottle with the glass topper and stood up shakily on my feet. There’s a railing up here for this kind of situation. Mom converted all this into a widow’s walk so April and I could star-gaze at night. April didn’t care about the stars and I was more concerned with just getting the hell away from her.

  I walk over and lean on the rock-steady railing, shaking the bottle. The bigger one went even more still if it’s possible and turned to shoot me a tired look over his shoulder. I was holding it out, sloshing it just a bit. He glanced at the turtle-guy under his arm and stood up, lowering him to the rooftop and covering him with a blanket I now see was covering both their laps. He walked to the edge of the barn roof and I confusedly stared at the gap when he jumped clean across the small hallway my Dad had built to connect the two buildings and landed on the other side of the railing. He was still a good foot away from me, but stepped up closer and grabbed the bottle with confidence. He’d obviously drank before, ripping open the stopper and sniffing the contents before taking a long gulp. If you didn’t smell anything, it usually meant it was strong and would burn on the way down. He sighs like a great weight is lifting off his shoulders, “Peppermint.” He hopped over my rail, to my great surprise and sat down with his back -er-shell- against it. He kept the bottle close to his face and took long, deep breaths.
“Hello.” I pull my e-cig out of my pocket and twist it on, inhaling a long drought of mist.
“You quit?” Gravelly, hoarse, slightly accented.
“April made me.” He heh’d like this is something he’d expect from her. I realize he probably thinks it’s because it was bad for my health, when in actuality she just hated the smell of the things. Even after she left I didn’t start up with real cigarettes again. I could tell him, tell her whole ‘family’ what she used to be like. But since she changed for them, they probably already knew. And if they didn’t... Who was I to fuck with their whole unit? “I was kind of out of it when she told me your name.” I left it open and obvious that I’d forgotten.
“Raphael.” He took another drink, sighing in satisfaction. “I haven’t had anythin’ this good in a while. April doesn’t buy us any and Casey likes beer that tastes watered down and...” He shakes his head, “Hell it just tastes like somebody pissed beer into a bottle.” I snorted and almost sucked my cig down my throat.

A large hand settles between my shoulder blades as I cough and rubs in soothing circles until the fit subsides.

  We don’t talk much after that. He seems to need to pass out, so he just keeps drinking. Whatever. The guy had half his family stolen away and they were probably dead, he could drink a little tonight. Even turtles like to drink away their problems I guess. I glance over at him, catching sight of his eyes and realizing for the first time that he’s wearing things. A red mask is covering his face, contrasting with his green skin and light yellow catlike eyes. A leather belt is wrapped around his waist, right on his hips, maybe a bit above them. There are... I know what those are. I squint at the pair of shiny tridents hooked into his belt. I didn’t know what they were called, but I saw a lot of them in Japanese movies. /April said they were ninjas/. “Sai.”
“Hm?” I glance up and catch his eyes. He glances down and taps the handle of one of them.
“They’re called Sai.” Ahhh, the accent is Brooklyn. I can place it now. “They’re a hand to hand and throwin’ weapon.” He went back to staring soundlessly into the bottle, inhaling the scent of peppermint like it was fresh air for some reason.

  After a while I stumble back in my window and onto my bed, curling up and almost falling asleep before remembering and leaning out to snap and get his attention. “There’s blankets and pillows in the hall closets, my mom stocked up on them for winter. The room on the ground floor is my parents old room, and there’s a sofa that pulls out into a bed. Stop sleeping on rooftops and in the damn barn. Tell April and the dude with the hair too.”
“Aye aye.” His lips quirked up at one edge in a smirk and he sarcastically saluted me. I flipped him off and heard him laugh as I lie down.
Maybe this will all go away when I wake up? I glance at the window as a rush of air and light thump echo outside. An image of April flashing in my mind. Do I want it to?
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