“You must allow April return in her own time…”
Master Splinter’s words ricocheted in Donatello’s mind as he soldered an array of wires to a circuit board. Another week had come and gone without word from April and he began to worry that she would never forgive them. Though he tried to keep her from his thoughts, she crept in regularly: the look of despair upon her face when she saw her father—his leathery wings spread wide, his scythe-like talons fully extended; the desperation in her voice as she begged them to do no harm; how her eyes burned with rage when she discovered they were responsible, like smoldering coals stoked to an inferno. That night was one of the worst he could remember and the days since limped by, each more listless than the last.
Lost in thought, he failed to notice the bead of molten metal slithering down the circuit board until it made contact with his thumb. His nerves howled in pain; he responded with a startled gasp and a string of expletives. He ran the burn under cold water and looked it over. It glared back—bright red, the foundation of a fluid-filled blister forming at its center. He cursed himself for being absent-minded and returned to his lab to continue working, but when he examined the board he knew it was ruined. Frustrated, he threw it against the wall; copper wire and shards of plastic rained down around him. With a sigh, he sat at his workbench and hanged his head.
Everyone kept telling him that time and space were the common denominators; that through their application, April’s battered soul would mend. But the longer he waited, the more restless he became. Perhaps it was because guilt was devouring him from within like an insatiable beast; perhaps it was because without her, his world seemed cold and colorless; or perhaps it was because by nature he was a man of action: if something needed fixing, he made the necessary repairs; if a wound needed attention, he cleaned, stitched, and bandaged it; and if his intellect could solve a problem or ease a burden, he devoted himself to the cause. Whatever the reason, he decided that he could wait no longer. He needed to see her. He needed to try to make things right.
He trudged from his lab to the common area, his legs stiff from disuse. His presence, however, did not go unnoticed: Raphael peeled his eyes away from the latest issue of The Walking Dead, the corners of his mouth tugging into a wry smile.
“Good news, Leo.” He chuckled. “He lives! You can call off the search party.”
Leonardo delivered a final forceful blow to the heavy bag in the far corner of the room, turned, and whisked sweat from his brow with the back of his hand.
“Donnie, you’ve been holed up in your lab for almost two days. Is everything alright?”
Donatello strove to be as honest as possible. He believed truth promoted trust; that speaking one’s mind kept life’s minor irritations from leading to conflicts. But when it came to his relationship with April, he took exception to the policy. The...