"You’re already pretty intelligent, April. I’m not sure you have anything to gain by teaching math to a guy who’s been hit in the head with one too many hockey pucks."
"Nothing to gain but better grades. So! Are we…" She quickly referenced her phone.
"…getting some of that pizza, or what?"
"Donnie, fix it!”
"Tutoring? Casey? Not that I don’t think he’d need it, but I can’t picture that going well."
"Anyway… just keep it in mind. I’m only 22 texts away."
"You have no idea…”
"But extra credit’s extra credit, right? He and I can both use the boost."
Donnie cringed when April saw through his babbling excuses, but he relaxed and sighed deeply in relief when she expressed understanding for his reluctance to take public transport. Apparently it wasn’t weird for New Yorkers to avoid the subway — thank goodness. He gave a nervous chuckle and stumbled after April when she set out on their route.
Despite it being that Hammad was the one so desperate to lead her out of the alley, it was now April’s turn to drag him around town. It was incredibly disorienting, when one was used to dark and silent rooftops, to try to navigate the city from street-level with swarms of people and noisy vehicles on all sides. April merged into the hectic foot traffic like a pro, and if he hadn’t been following her motions so closely, Donnie would have surely tripped or trampled someone.
He caught her staring up at him and instinctively looked away, only to shyly glance back again. Before she disowned his family, he would have been made a blushing, stuttering mess if she looked at him with such a curious air, but now his stomach was flipping for a different reason. He couldn’t believe that he had escaped her suspicion so well — how much did he need to worry that his unusual luck in fooling her was going to run out?
At least enough to start coming up with the details of his identity before she started asking about them.
"O-oh. Well, y’know. Hang out. Do chores." Was not being in school that strange? What did humans even do during the day? It was better to put off answering until he figured that out, in case ‘ninjutsu training’ and ‘building robots’ weren’t neutral responses.
"Why aren’t you going to school?” he evaded.
It was a vague answer—very vague, actually. Before April could analyze it too deeply, however, he had turned the question back on her. The inquisitive smile on her face broke and she stopped walking as he continued several steps ahead of her.
Unbidden, her memories flung her back to the previous night—a sickly green glow, shattering and screeches, pain written in his touch—and she jerked back to the present with a start. She lowered her gaze and hastily tripped forward to catch up with him again, parroting with a shaky smile, “Oh, y’know. Hanging out. Doing chores…”
And just like that, the conversation died. Shoving her hands in her coat pockets, she hunched against the unimpeded wind that raced down the streets and alleys. “Hey, Hammad?” she finally ventured, looking straight ahead and watching her words fog the air around her in light wisps of steam. “D’you… Do you ever…” She sighed and motioned him toward the crosswalk he almost overshot. “It’s this way.” If she didn’t know better, she would almost believe New York was one puzzle he didn’t fit into just right.
"Oh, and what did he want?”
"You know I’d be happy to bail you out any time he’s annoying you…"
"Oh, just—you know—trig tutoring… and stuff.”
"Don’t worry; I can handle Casey Jones. Thanks for the offer, though."
"April! I knew you’d get my messages!"
"Sorry, Donnie. I was a little tied up with Casey."
"I’d say number 22 was what finally did it, though."
"Tough talk for someone who uses a fan.” August taunted back, tightening his grip on the blade between his hands. “better be ready to use that fan April, things are about it get hot.”
He lunged forward and swung the blade at his twin, a playful grin spread across his face. It was on.
"Really?" April’s smile cracked into a competitive grin, and the second August was moving, so was she. Stepping to the side and sliding the edge of her fan along his wrist as Splinter had instructed her in her sparring sessions with Leo, she redirected his bokken to the floor and smugly flicked him between the eyes with her fingers. If August’s training had been anything like hers, then she knew that he had lots of practice reacting to the sword, sai, staff, and nunchaku, but she doubted he knew what to do with a fan. “I guess so, because I’m on fire.” Point one, tessen.
"Okay, Augie…” Splaying her tessen with a flick of her wrist, April shaded a demure smile with the weapon while daintily fanning herself. “Your move.” Sliding into a ready stance on the dojo carpets, she narrowed her eyes and waited for him to take the first strike.
"You say that like I haven’t already won. See you at the finish line, loser!"
"I wonder why everyone’s acting so… wait. They do know my birthday’s tomorrow, right?”