story by Jephael
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story takes place during the spring of 1999, two years after the events of Seven Shredders.
Donatello yawned and rubbed his eyes as the alarm clock went off. "Another beautiful morning in the good old Big App!!!"
"Quit trying to make The Big App a thing, Don!!! I hate when people shorten words like that!!!"
"Like how you just shortened my name, Mich - el - an - gelo?!"
"Yea, but that's your nickname, dude. It's funny we never used to call each other by those names when we were younger."
"I know, it's like if we hadn't been raised by a professional instructor who taught us the importance of discipline and showing respect." Don replied sarcastically.
"Sheesh, and I thought Leo always had something up his shell... then again you are the one who carries a stick around!"
"Eh, I'm just a little frazzled. I had a really scary dream earlier."
"Oh really, about what?"
Michaelangelo couldn't help but burst out laughing. "Ace Duck? Come on man, we used to love those movies! They were like the first things we watched when we got mutated."
"No, you three liked them. I always got creeped out by that freaky fowl puppet! Heck, I still prefer those robots from Willie Wombat's. Whoever made Ace Duck, I hope they didn't quit their day-job!"
Michaelangelo and Donatello headed into the kitchen where Raphael was already sitting at the table eating a bowl of Rice Chex. "Hey guys, Leonardo wants us to take a break from pizza for a little bit, so he had April buy a bunch of high fiber cereal and lactose free milk... not that I'm complaining!"
"Sounds good to me, bro. I kinda wanna switch to burritos for a while." Mikey said with a grin. "Speaking of food, Donatello here was dreaming about poultry."
"What?" Raphael asked with a confused look.
"Oh I told Michaelangelo that I had a dumb nightmare about Ace Duck."
"Ace Duck? Oh yea, I remember him. Infact I think April's old boyfriend General Yogurt was in one of those movies."
"They never dated. Come to think about it, I don't believe we've ever seen any of our human friends on dates." Donatello stated.
"Right, but that's because what often takes place during a date isn't exactly suitable for young viewers!" Mikey remarked.
"Would you mind leaving the fourth wall jokes to yours truly?" Raphael replied.
That moment Leonardo came in carrying something in a bag. "Hey guys, I stopped by Mondo Gecko's lair and he said he came across this old Ace Duck plush toy in a skateboard park. I mentioned how we all loved those flicks when we were younger, so he said we could have it!"
"Aw dude, that's too funny! Though it turns out only three of us liked Ace Duck."
"Oh right, Donatello never could handle that funny looking puppet. Even I'll admit Ace Conrad wasn't the most pleasant looking duck, but Splinter always taught us to be mindful that humans would find us just as odd looking."
"Ace Conrad?" Donatello asked in a confused tone.
"Yea, that was his full name. Come on, don't you remember the backstory?" Raphael asked.
"I was too busy burying my beak in a vintage issue of Popular Science. Besides those movies were from like years ago."
"Right but they air every Memorial Day weekend... except for that one time we had to deal with that robot dude from the future who detested violence." Michaelangelo mentioned.
"Oh right, Macc. Gee, I wish we could contact our old pals Landor and Merrik to take us forward in time and-"
Raphael interrupted Don by covering his mouth. "Oh no, we're NOT getting into some Short Circuit/Terminator mash-up type rip-off... we're discussing a movie from 1975 about an alien mallard from the planet Quackron who comes to Earth, obtains a piloting licence, saves the entire country of Australia and gets into a weird inter-species relationship with a mall girl whose uncle has access to a portal that could conveniently send Ace back home any time he felt like it!"
"Boy, you got me in the mood to watch the whole trilogy!!! How about we invite some old pals over to watch with us, like Zach and his brother?"
"Sorry, Michaelangelo, but last time I checked, Zach's been living upstate with his new girlfriend and Walt is in the marines." Leonardo said. "What about your old flame Buffy Shellhammer?"
"Oh right, I haven't spoken with her in ages!!!" Mikey said with a big smile as he headed towards the nearby pay phone.
That moment at the Shellhammer estate, Buffy was just getting out of the shower when she heard the phone ring. "Hello? Michaelangelo, it's been like forever!!!" she paused to listen to the turtle speak to her. "Sure I'd love to come down and watch some movies with you! Um, would you mind if I bring somebody? I met this friend in college who actually happens to know you guys too. His name's Zach and-"
"Zach?! Holy guacamole, what a coincidence!!!" Mikey's voice said in excitement.
"Yea, it's kind of funny. We met when Dregg was... well, we can explain when we get over there. He's at his parents right now, but I was on my way over to meet up with him and Caitlin."
"Oh, invite her over too, and see of Walt's around as well!!! See you guys soon!!!" Michaelangelo said happily as he hung up.
"Gee, Mikey, I haven't seen you this happy since Vinnie's Pizza reopened!" Raphael stated.
"Oh that reminds me, I gotta order their party special!!!"
Elsewhere in the city, Burne Thompson was enjoying his first day of retirement from the news business. "Boy, who thought being out of the news game would make me feel so alive?"
"Perhaps no longer having to deal with my former students' adventures has something to do with it!" a familiar voice spoke from behind.
"Splinter... what the heck are you doing out in broad daylight?!"
"Oh I've been doing much soul searching these last few months and have come to realize I have spent far too much of my time in seclusion."
"Huh, I never knew rats could have a midlife crisis... though considering how short their lifespans tend to be"
Splinter chuckled at the portly old man's joke. "You probably don't remember the time we bumped into each other merely a week before the Turtles and I had our fated encounter with the mutagen that changed us. You were on a date with your girlfriend Tiffany who at the time hosted was hosting that silly game show that flopped some time later."
"Huh? Oh, Bowling for Bucks. Yea I - hey, that show lasted a good 10 years, but then those two goons of Shredder's showed up looking like people that one time and, well... eh, who cares anymore? It's all in the past, right?"
"Indeed it is. You know, I am sorry I never thought to reach out to you after I failed to stop the explosion that destroyed the original Channel 6, but I was so infuriated by the way you cared more for that place than the safety of April, Irma and all of your other employees... and worse, how you encouraged Vernon to say such terrible things about the Turtles, even after all those times they saved his life!"
Burne hung his head in shame. "Yea, I know. To be honest, that whole ordeal with H.A.V.O.C. left me such a wreck I ended up on a two year sabbatical in Portland, Oregon. To be honest, I wish I could've been around to see that Dregg clown you guys had to deal with. I knew right off the bat that alien menace was up to something! I only came back here after I got a call from Tiffany, the same girlfriend you mentioned earlier. She and her cousin were at a bachelor party in a club that got held up by Pinky McFingers and-"
"Yes, I remember Leonardo informing me of the fight that ensued that night. Ever since that encounter, Tiffany has been doing quite well working with my friends at the Far East Animal Society. Infact, I am on my way there right now. Would you care to come along?"
"I might as well. I was going to see her tomorrow for dinner anyway!"
"Very well, then."
Meanwhile at the lair, Michaelangelo was becoming more and more pumped for their ensuring guests.
"Will you calm down already? You're going to wet your shell!" Raphael remarked.
"I dunno what he's most excited for, watching Ace Duck, seeing Zach again or reuniting with Buffy!" Leonardo stated.
"All of the above, dude." Just then there was a knock at the entrance to the lair. "Oh man, they're here! Quick, uh how do I look?"
"Same as always." Raphael replied with a shrug.
Donatello went up and opened the door, though he was not prepared for what he was about to see. "Welcome back old fr- HOLY GUACA-MAKE OUT SESSION!!!"
"Huh?" the other Turtles said as they noticed Zach and Buffy pulling away from a brief lip lock.
"Sorry, guys. We're kind of still amid the lovey dovey stage of our relationship."
"You guys are dating?" Leonardo asked.
"Call it what you want, though I don't really like putting a label on it to be honest."
"I got a label to put on it." Raphael joked.
"Come on, dudes. Lets think positive here. After all, if it wasn't for us, these two would never have found each other!" Michaelangelo said cheerfully.
"Funny, I kind of expected you to have a fit, considering how you used to feel about Buffy." Don mentioned.
"Aw, come on. That was ages ago! Besides, you dudes were the one always saying she'd only go for human dudes. Besides, I still have a heavy duty long distance thing going with Kala!"
"Thanks, Mikey... and yea, we sort have you to thank." Zach explained.
"There was a pro-Ninja Turtle rally at the university around the time you guys were struggling with your second stage mutations during the ongoing battle with Dregg. Unfortunately, there was no way to get the word across, what with Channel 6 being long gone."
"What about the internet?" Donatello asked.
"Not secure enough, especially against alien tech!" Zach explained. "Even Caitlyn couldn't be of much help... and she's become a real whiz at computers!!!"
"Oh right, your friend who helped us recover the Tortellini Emerald from Don Turtelli and his cousin Boldini!" Leonardo asked.
"Don't forget that cameo by the Rat King." Raphael joked.
"Speaking of which, here she comes with Zach's brother." Buffy proclaimed.
"Oh boy, don't tell me those two are dating as well!" Donatello spoke.
"Actually... they're married, and their baby is due in four months!" Zach mentioned.
"WHAT?!" all four Turtles exclaimed.
"You know how us teenagers get when they think it's the end of the world and we may never have another chance to... you know?" Buffy remarked.
"Great, our show is now officially rated PG-13!" Raphael commented.
Meanwhile at the animal shelter, Burne was overjoyed to see his old girlfriend Tiffany. "My dear, you look amazing!!!"
"Oh, Burnsie, you always knew how to make a girl happy!"
"Ahem... Miss Tiffany, I hate to interrupt, but you still need to assist me in cleaning out the litter boxes for the newborn kittens we got last week."
"Oh, of course, Usagi! I'll be with you in a minute, dear."
"Very well." the samurai rabbit said with a sigh as he quietly walked off.
"That bunny seems a little high strung."
"Donatello never was able to locate his home dimension, and unfortunately adapting to this world has not been easy for him." Splinter explained.
"I feel bad for the poor Honey Bunny." Tiffany said sadly.
"Hey, I thought that was my nickname!" Burne said in a dejected tone.
"Yea, but that was back when I was scared of the Turtles and most other reptiles. We gotta learn to put the past behind us, Burnsie."
"I can't argue with that. To be honest, I'm starting to wonder if I should've stayed out west. I-I just don't feel quite welcome anywhere."
"Nonsense, Mr. Thompson! You are more than welcome here and in the lair."
"The lair? Wait, you mean to say that all these years I could've just asked April or even Irma to introduce me to you?!"
"Yes, I would have been more than happy to welcome you to see how we live. Granted the boys were never perfect."
"Damn it all..."
"You mustn't live in regret, my friend. I tried to encourage April to look for the good in you and even Vernon... but sadly there wasn't much good in either of you. I do recall the time Slash transformed both you and Mr. Fenwick into ordinary turtles and he brought you both down to the lair."
"Well, it wasn't really much of a tour, and I was too concerned with being changed back into a human to really appreciate it."
"There's no better time than today to rectify that. Come, let us leave your girlfriend and my rabbit bodyguard friend to their duties here and I'll take you to the sewers. I believe the Turtles are having company over to watch some old movies."
By the time Splinter and Burne got to the lair, the Turtles and their human friends were already a quarter of an hour into the first Ace Duck film.
Leonardo paused the movie as he saw their sensei approach. "Welcome back from your walk, Master!"
"Thank you, my son. I hope it's all right that I invited my own company over."
"Really... you invited him?!"
"Yes, I did. Is that going to be a problem, Raphael?" Splinter said sternly.
The smart alecky turtle winced and chuckled. "Eh, no problem at all, Sensei."
Michaelangelo chuckled. "Aw man, he gave ya the eye, dude!"
"Oh shut up, cornball!"
"Where is Donatello?" Splinter asked.
"In his lab as usual." Leonardo stated.
"Poor guy was always so unnerved by the duck puppets!" Mikey added with a laugh.
"Gee, this place sure hasn't changed much since the days we used to hang out with you guys." Walt said as he hugged his wife tightly.
"Too bad Zach never brought us down together."
"Hey can we get back to the movie?" Zach spoke. "We were just about to get to my favorite part, when the evil Colonel Cardinal banishes Ace from Quackron! I know it's such a cliche they use in these hero movies, but you gotta love how they execute it here!"
"My granddad used to feel the same way. It's too bad none of you ever got to meet him." Buffy added.
"I bet he and Donatello would've made great friends!" Leonardo mentioned.
Meanwhile in Donatello's lab, the brainy turtle was hard at work on his old dimensional portal when Splinter and Burne Thompson walked in. "Hey, Master Splinter. Hey, Bur - Burne Thompson?!"
"Yes, Donatello. I ran into him on the way to the animal shelter where his old girlfriend now works with our friend Usagi."
"Oh right. Speaking of which, I've been driving myself nuts trying to hone in on our good old long eared pal's dimension!"
"Doesn't your portal leave behind traces of temporal energy or something you can use to figure out somebody's point of origin?" Burne asked.
Donatello and Splinter both looked curiously at the former news manager.
"What? I used to watch Star Trek in college."
"Well, darn... if only I had thought of that 10 years ago! By now any trace of temporal energy on Usagi would've long since nullified. Infact, I'm starting to wonder if our bringing him here didn't somehow accidentally cause his world to be erased from existence."
"How so, my student?"
"Well, theoretically every reality has a focal individual, like a main character in a story, and if somehow they get pulled from their world, that place has no purpose and it just vanishes completely!"
"A most intriguing... and very disturbing theory you have there, Donatello."
"I know. The only thing is, how do we break it to him?"
"As you pointed out a minute ago, it has been some time now since he was brought here. There is a good chance he will be able to accept that it is his destiny to be here with us!"
"I still feel bad kind of responsible about it though. I mean it was my portal that brought him here after all!"
"Atleast you take that responsibility to heart... unlike your former enemy Shredder who never took responsibility for anything he did, and only thought of himself!" Burne said. "I wasn't much better than he was, always blaming you Turtles, even after you saved my sorry ass time and time again! For that I am eternally sorry."
"Apology accepted, Mr. Thompson." Donatello said with a smile as they shook hands.
"Well, I better head home and get ready for dinner with Tiffany."
"You know I was actually going to pay April and Irma a visit. It's their day off from Channel 6 and they're treating that new anchor girl Julie to lunch. I think she kinda digs me!"
Splinter laughed. "Donatello, you met the young lady only once.
"Hey, don't get me started on the time Michaelangelo developed a crush on Alicia Silverstone after watching Clueless!"
"I dare not to, my former student." Splinter said with a sigh.
"Anyway, why don't I take Burne downtown to go say hi to April?"
"That would be a pleasant trip. Would you both mind if I stayed behind though? I've been up since dawn and have not had the chance to enjoy my morning tea."
"Oh that's fine. It was good to see you, Master Splinter." Burne said with a bow.
"Likewise." Splinter bowed back as he left the lab.
"Okay, let me just quick grab a disguise and we can head off."
"I never could take you guys seriously when you showed up wearing those stupid trenchcoats!" Burne said with a laugh.
"You're one to talk, Teenage Mutant Ninja Aardvark!"
"Oh... you heard about that?"
"We were at that costume party... pretending to be ordinary citizens disguised as us!" Donatello replied with a smirk.
Back in the living room, the other Turtles and their guests were now fully immersed into the Ace Duck movie when the VCR started acting up. "Hey, like what's up with the picture quality?" Michaelangelo said.
"Aw man, tell me this old hunk of junk VCR is eating the tape!!!" Raphael griped as he got up to examine the cassette tape, which former contents were now nothing but black ribbon. "Okay, that settles it! We're switching to DVDs!"
"You know maybe it's for the best that happened. I mean it's been forever since we saw Zach and the others. We should be visiting and catching up, not vegging out over some dumb movie!" Leonardo exclaimed.
"For sure... like, I've missed you kids!" Michaelangelo boasted.
"Aw, we've missed you t- oh. Hey guys, the baby just kicked!" Caitlyn exclaimed, which got Buffy excited.
"I still can't believe I'm going to be an uncle... to my best friend's kid no less!" Zach exclaimed.
"Aw, you're going to be an awesome uncle, little bro!" Walt said proudly, though his face suddenly began to grow red. "Oh my God, I'm gonna be a dad."
"Hey, like we're always more than happy to babysit!" Mikey spoke.
"Yea, we could start a daycare center!" Raphael cracked.
"Well, atleast human babies are easier to handle than say a Neutrino baby." Leonardo mentioned.
"Oh right, your friends from Dimension X. How've they been doing?" Buffy asked.
"Pretty good ever since Shredder and Krang retired from attempting to rule the universe, though you know there's always something more evil just on the horizon."
"You gotta stop reading those Space Heroes comics, Michaelangelo!" Raphael remarked.
Meanwhile just a block away from Channel 6, April and Irma were with their new co-worker friend Julie at a Starbucks coffee shop not far from Channel 6.
"We'll take the usual." April said to the barista.
"Right, three caramel macciatos coming right up, Miss 'O Neil!"
"Thanks again for treating me today. Things have been a little tense ever since my dad ended up in the hospital." the young news woman said.
"Aw, don't worry about it. We all go through family stuff from time to time!" Irma spoke. "Heck, I can't tell you how many times I thought we were all going to bite the big one no thanks to that psycho Shredder!"
"Oh right, I remember before getting my internship the Turtles saved my life from some hoodlums. That's kinda why I was so happy I landed the position at Channel 6!"
"I know Donatello has taken quite a liking to you!" April said with a smile as she sat down with their drinks.
"Hey speaking of which, there's the brainy Turtle coming up the street... and he's with Mr. Thompson?!" Irma said in shock.
"No way! I-I heard the chief was back in town, but... he seems happier." April stated as she ran up to Don and Burne. "Hey um, what's up?"
"April, so good to see you!!!" Mr. Thompson smiled as he gave her a hug. "I trust you've been handling my old job pretty well, right?"
"Well, I gotta say without any real crimes going on, it's been pretty smooth sailing! To be honest, we kinda miss having the thrill of super villains attempting to take over the world!"
"Speak for yourself, April." Donatello replied with a smirk as he walked over to Irma and Julie. "Hi, ladies."
"Hey, Donatello? Care to sit with me." Julie asked flirtatiously.
"Oh sure." he said as he plopped down in the seat April had previously been sitting at.
"So what're the guys doing today?"
"Oh, you remember our old friend Zach right? You'll never believe who he's been dating."
"Oh I know... I was the one who introduced him to Buffy Shellhammer. Never thought I'd make such a good matchmaker." Irma boasted.
"Speaking of which, I know this is going to sound kinda crazy, but how come you haven't asked me out on a date, Donnie?" Julie asked.
Donatello made a nervous gulp. "Uh, well... you see I - I never really took much stock into girls before."
"You can say that again." April remarked sarcastically.
"Anyway, this all kinda new to me, so you'll have to bare with me if I'm a little on the quiet side... especially when you take into account how hard it's been for us mutants to fit into society over the years."
"Hey, if it makes you feel any better, I'll gladly get my hands on some mutagen and turn myself into a newt or something!"
Donatello gently held Julie's hand as he looked her in the eye and said "Oh no, don't even joke about doing such a thing! Raphael dated a woman who had been mutated and sadly it didn't end to well, and April's been mutated so many times over the years I'm pretty sure her genetic make-up has become incredibly unstable!"
"You're such a compassionate person, Donnie! I hope we can make it work." Julie said as she kissed him on the forehead.
"Aw, I should really give Joe Eyeball a call sometime. I've actually missed him!" Irma said.
"Pardon me, Donatello, sir?" a young man in his 20s said as he and a little boy in an Ace Duck shirt approached. "We're so sorry to bother you, but my son is a big fan of yours and he wanted to know if he could get a picture with you."
"Oh of course, we Ninja Turtles are always suckers for the little tykes!" Don boasted as he sat the little boy on his knee.
"Where'd you get the Ace Duck shirt? I love that movie!" Julie spoke.
"It was my brother's when we were kids. he gave it to my little boy for a birthday present." the father answered.
"Aw, that's so sweet!" Irma replied.
"I really should give those movies a shot. The puppet always gave me the creeps." Donatello mentioned.
"Oh that's understandable. My wife was always creeped out by Beetlejuice and I still get the heebie jeebies from that puppet show in The Sound of Music!"
"Hey there's an idea for an exposay. What scared us as little kids!" April stated.
"That's my award winning news reporter! You ladies keep up the good work. I'm gonna go get ready for my date with Tiffany!"
"Oh, you're... back together with her?" Irma asked.
"It's a long story." Burne replied as he waved goodbye and walked off.
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