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The Flowchart might have backfired

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The first time they kissed was on top of a floodlight overlooking an open air concert, their third date. They were sixteen and almost definitely misusing all the skills Master Splinter had taught them; but there was no way anyone would ever have let a bipedal mutated turtle into a concert even if they had bought tickets so really they’d just skipped the screaming and a few unnecessary bruises.

 

They’d also brought beer but Master Splinter did say you had to learn from your mistakes and you could hardly learn without making the mistakes first right? And it wasn’t as though either of them had known what it was going to taste like-

 

They’d both gagged on their drinks and April had laughed and they’d talked and listened to the music and gradually edged closer together. Somehow he’d ended up with his arm around her. She’d leaned into him and tilted her head up and it had just seemed so perfect and right and-

 

That was when they’d discovered that Donnie’s lips didn’t work that way.

 

He’d choked, April had lost her balance and half a six pack of truly awful beer had fallen down into the crowd below.

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The first time they snuggled was in the lair and really if he’d been paying attention he’d have realised it sort of set the tone for a fair chunk of their future. They’d been watching a pretty stupid movie, sitting next to each other and they’d been alone or at least everyone else was out of sight so he’d tried putting his arm around her again.

 

Because, ok, the whole kissing thing hadn’t worked out but it was nice just having her close and-

 

She’d started squirming almost immediately and he’d jerked his arm back as if she’d sent a thousand volts through it.

 

“Are you ok?”

 

“I’m fine Donnie,” She’d reassured him. “It’s just…this isn’t very comfy.”

 

She’d shifted so her arm wasn’t squashed against the bridge of his shell waited a full three seconds and fidgeted again. First she tried putting it on his leg but she moved it almost immediately. She leant it against the top of his plastron for a moment before finally scooting closer and putting her arm over his shoulder.

 

That one lasted half a minute.

 

Then she tried leaning her head in, knocking the back of it against the peripheral scutes of his carapace, then bumping her cheek against the top of his plastron.

 

She’d made a noise that was a little like the growl Raph gave when he was really angry leapt to her feet and stormed across the lair.

 

He’d frozen in place still trying to process the sudden switch between April being there and being happy and April being furious and half way across the room. What- what had he done? He hadn’t said anything and he hadn’t even moved and he’d still somehow managed to mess it up-

 

He was trying to think of what he should have said when April stormed right back.

 

She plonked herself back beside him with a scowl and stuffed a pillow into his shoulder. Then she leant against it and uh…him.

 

He’d spent the rest of the movie alternately embarrassed and distracted but she didn’t shift again.

 

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The first person to find out about them, because the Gods clearly hate him, was Mikey. They’d been heading home after another run in with the Foots. Raph and Leo had charged ahead quarrelling about something that was almost certainly trivial. Michelangelo had plugged himself into the latest, so far miraculously undamaged, MP3 and seemed to think he could victory-dance the entire way to the Lair-

 

Everyone else had been distracted. So it had seemed natural that they should slow down together, fall back and gain a semblance of privacy.

 

April had smiled and they’d talked about the program she was working on and adjustments to the latest Shellraiser and how the Foot were really dumb and-

 

“Wow-” And Mikey had come out of nowhere with that wide-eyed awe-struck expression that made anyone in their right mind want to smack him.

 

“Are you guys holding hands?”

 

“No!” Donnie protested before it occurred to him that actually April was right there and may be denying all knowledge could be taken as insulting and- “Yes! Er I mean-”

 

Which was when April hit him.

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All things considered being hit was a LOT better than what had happened when Mikey decided to announce his hand-holding-discovery to the whole Lair.

 

His brothers had converged on April as if she was the latest ceramic superconductor or something, shoving Donnie out of the way.

 

“I er- Well I guess you- Ummm-” Leo had stammered through the first half of several different sentences as if he wasn’t quite sure whether he should be offering congratulations or condolences.

 

It was awkward and embarrassing and made Donnie want to put his head in his hands then curl up into his own shell.

 

So of course Raph decided to make it worse.

 

He put a supportive hand on April’s shoulder.

 

“You can do better.” He told her.

 

After that things got a little confusing. One, or perhaps both, of them had gone for Raph. And Leo might have been trying to pull them apart and Mikey might have been trying to help them or maybe he just thought ganging up on Raph didn’t happen often enough and April had almost certainly been trying to skin someone with her tessen-

 

And then Splinter had come in and demanded to know what was going on.

 

It had gone downhill from there.

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It was three, wonderful, blissful, awkward, crazy months before April suggested introducing him to some of her friends.

 

Donnie got as far as ‘errr’ before he realised that an outright rejection on the grounds of making people run away screaming was a bad idea. She’d probably take offence and she’d got used to them all and she’d been right about Murakami–san who’d taken to them right off the bat but there were also people like Baxter Stockman and that jerk with the phone, not that April would have been friends with people like that just his experience was sorta limited to April, her Dad, the Pulversier, a cook, a jerk and a bunch of Foots. Or uh general bad guys really since the Purple Dragons probably didn’t count as Foots. Or ninjas. Or uh-

 

Which was when April hugged him and thanked him and vanished back up to the city before he recovered enough to realise that she hadn’t really been asking so much as telling and he hadn’t objected fast enough.

 

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April had, actually, put an awful lot of thought and planning into, well, all of it.

 

In her head she’d taken Casey and Irma through to the living room and told them about Donnie-the-person before having to broach and deal with what he actually looked like, aliens, ninja, mutating ooze and well…everything.

 

And when she’d imagined it she’d got every response from casual acceptance to horror from each of them. She’d had enough time to think that their response may be didn’t matter as much as the fact she would have been honest-

 

When it came to actually doing it though-

 

Donnie had arrived early and perched awkwardly on the balcony so she’d shut the windows.

 

But it was summer and seventy nine degrees. So as soon as they’d got in Irma had raced to the balcony and flung the windows open.

 

Then Irma had screamed. And Casey had produced a hockey stick from somewhere unlikely to protect them all.

 

And attacked her boyfriend.

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“He nearly broke my friggin arm!” Casey protested.

 

“You tried to hit him over the head with a hockey stick!” April countered. “Which! Is a pretty dick move considering it’s the first time you met my boyfriend-

 

“Wooooooah,” Casey drawled. “I didn’t know that!”

 

“Oh so it’s fiiiiiiiiine to just beat on-”

 

“Giant scary mutants who appear randomly in your house?”

 

April took a deep breath. “Yeah. Okay. Yeah.”

 

“So ummm, how long has he been uh-”

 

“A turtle?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

April shrugged. “He’s always been a turtle.”

 

“Woookay-”

 

“What?!”

 

“You’re dating a mutant turtle-”

 

“SO?!”

 

“Eh. It’s kinda weird.” Casey shrugged. “Hey it is, so don’t look at me like that.”

 

“Whatever.”

 

“So. We cool?”

 

April sighed. “We’re cool. Can I introduce you this time without you trying to brain him with a stick?”

 

“For sure!”

 

For a moment she relaxed, it was a rough start but it was all going to work out. Then of course she remembered-

 

“Oh crap! We left Donnie alone-”

 

“Eh, if he’s as nice you say Irma’ll be fine-”

 

“We left him alone WITH IRMA!”

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The after effects were awful.

 

She’d missed the period of stunned silence. Which April was actually really happy about because Irma told her later that she almost thought he’d had a stroke-

 

No, she’d walked in during the way-too-high-pitched-argumentative-and-more-than-slightly-offended period of Donnie’s ‘discussion’.

 

Then, because it was Irma and DUH of course she would, they’d got on to the subject of whether ninja’s had honour at all- being originally mercenaries and assassins-

 

And before April could step in Casey had tried to which had just made things worse and-

 

In the end, somehow, she still had two friends, a boyfriend, an apartment and most of the furniture. The idiots even made up later over pizza and everyone apologised and it was all fine and-

 

And she was NEVER letting Irma show any of the Hamatos Naruto EVER AGAIN.

 

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The first time they tried to have ‘The Talk’ was easily in the top three most awkward, embarrassing moments of Donnie’s life.

 

It wasn’t that he was ignorant exactly, just that uh every sex-ed syllabus on the planet started out with the assumption that you had human anatomy. Which he didn’t, exactly.

 

And it wasn’t like the nature documentaries were helpful because he wasn’t exactly a turtle either and-

 

And did April really have to start talking about it with that horribly earnest expression because he was pretty sure she was finding this just as embarrassing and pointless as he was and ohgodswhatdidthateuphemismevenmean?

 

He poked surreptitiously at his laptop in an attempt to find out and-

 

It took him a couple of minutes to process the fact that his girlfriend was trying to ask him if he had a-

 

Donnie shot to his feet because there was a sudden and urgent problem in his lab that definitely needed his attention now.

 

He did not run exactly but he might have moved a little faster than usual. Once the door was shut he ducked under the microscope table and curled up into his shell.

 

They’d laugh about how stupid they were about it later. But when you were sixteen it was the worst thing in the world.

 

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And eventually there was no way around it. They could…talk or he could lose April and however embarrassing it was sitting in a half-full bath and showing her the thought of losing her was even worse.

 

“OK so that’s- that’s-”

 

“Um…yeah.” Donnie murmured, blushing.

 

“That’s uh not really what I was expecting.” April admitted.

 

Donnie took a sudden intense interest in the bathroom ceiling.

 

“Is it- is it supposed to be that colour?”

 

“I think so. I mean it always has been when it’s-”

 

“When it’s what?” April interrupted.

 

“You know-

 

“Wait it gets bigger?”

 

“Um…yes?”

 

“I-wowkay well that’s GAH!”

 

“What?!”

 

“Doesn’t that hurt?

 

“No uh-”

 

“It’s meant to do that?!

 

“I…guess?”

 

“I-” April trailed off and put her hands over her face as if she wanted to block everything out.

 

“Okay…” She breathed eventually. “Okay.”

 

Donnie bumped the back of his head against the edge of the bath and honestly expected they’d break up then and there.