Donna moaned and leaned over to rest her head on the desk. Looking up from his workstation, Tello asked, “Are you okay?”
Donna clutched her abdomen. “It’s time for me to lay my eggs. I knew it was coming. Michelle started this morning.”
Tello stood up and walked over to Donna. “Do you need any help?”
“No,” Donna answered flatly. “I’ll get up when the pain ebbs and head into the bathroom.” Turning her head she looked up at Tello. “My sisters and I have decided to lay our eggs in the shower room. It will make cleaning up easier.”
Donatello poked his head from around the shelves that served as a room divider. “Do you think I could have one? I’d like to study an unfertilized egg.”
“Sure,” Donna replied. “I’ll bring you one when I’m done.”
“If there is anything we can do to make this process go smoother…,” Tello offered.
“Thanks,” Donna groaned, “but no.”
“I can sympathize with what you are going through,” Donatello said as he walked around the shelves. “It was painful bringing Snow into this world.”
Donna turned her head so that she was face down on the desk again. “You at least had a baby to hold when it was all said and done. I’m going to have half a dozen dud eggs. I always have six.”
“Maybe next year they won’t be duds,” Donny teased.
“I don’t wanna think about it,” Donna moaned. “That’s too many babies to have at once.” She tilted her head enough to rest her chin on the desk. “I think the worst of it is over. I’m going to the shower room now.”
“Do you want me to walk with you?” Tello offered, extending his hand to assist Donna to her feet. “Just in case the pain comes back while you’re walking up the stairs.”
Donna considered him for a moment. “Okay,” she relented, accepting his help up. “Just stay out of the bathroom.” She grabbed the doll that was sitting on her desk and together they made their way out of the lab.
Tello kept a reassuring hand on Donna’s carapace as they made their way up the stairs. It was slow going but Donna was able to make it without any issues. Tello held the door open for Donna and she quietly thanked him as she walked through. He saw Leah already sitting on the floor, letting the water wash over her. She looked to be in a great deal of discomfort as well.
She looked up as Donna entered and her eyes locked with Tello’s for a moment. He suddenly felt like an intruder and hastily turned away only to find himself face to face with Rachael. Her eyes narrowed as she looked down at him. “Stay out,” she hissed.
“I was just making sure Donna made it here okay,” he explained. “I had no intention of going in.”
“That’s sweet of you,” was Rachael’s satirical response as she pushed him out of the way. “Move.”
Tello gladly left at that point, feeling sorry for whoever ended up with Rachael and prayed that it wasn’t him. As he made his way back down the stairs he though back to what Donny had said. There was a chance that some of the eggs will be fertilized next year. That would mean turtle babies.
He found himself heading towards the dojo. It was something he had been thinking about ever since he first saw the girls. He had to know for sure one way or the other.
Splinter didn’t say anything as he watched Tello pull the orb down from its shelf. It had been at least a month since Tello had used the orb to talk to his brothers. So using it now wouldn’t be considered too soon. Setting it on the floor in front of him, Tello sat in the lotus position and entered into a trance.
He felt the orb open up to him and allow him into the spirit realm. He stood alone for only a moment before his brothers joined him. “There are female turtles now,” Tello said, getting strait to the point. “It’s only a matter of time before there are babies. When you told me that you were going to be reborn into this world, did you mean you were going to be reborn as turtles?”
His voice caught in his throat as he looked at his brothers. They stood silent for a moment, probably unsure with how much they could tell him. “I don’t need to know the details,” Tello pleaded. “Just tell me if I’m right?”
With a smile on his face, Leo nodded. “You are correct.”
Tello smiled through his tears. “I’m not gonna have to search for you.” He wiped his eyes and took a few steading breaths. “You said before that you’re not going to be born as brothers.”
“Yeah,” Mikey replied. “We couldn’t burden one set of parents with more than one sick kid. So we all chose a different mother.”
“You chose mothers?” Tello asked. “Do you know who your fathers are going to be?”
“Yes to both,” Raph replied but Leo shushed him.
“It will be through them that we will be able to live again,” Leo explained. “It’s only after the eggs start to form that we will leave here and go there. There has to be a heartbeat first.”
“That makes sense, I guess” Tello thought for a moment and then remembered something else he wanted to ask. “The April of this world is pregnant with twins. Is one of them April or Casey or maybe Shen?”
“They’re April and Casey,” Leo answered.
Tello didn’t understand. They were in love. “They chose to be reborn as twins? They can’t be a couple if they’re related.”
“But they will also never be apart,” Raph argued.
“Apparently it’s a thing,” Leo added with a shrug. “Lovers who die together will often choose to be reincarnated as twins.”
“But Casey…” Tello looked Leo in the eyes. “He suffered like you guys did.”
Leo nodded and looked away. “He will have some problems.” Holding up his hand before Tello could ask any questions, Leo added, “It will be revealed soon enough. April will need some moral support when she finds out.”
“We’ve told you all we can,” Raph said and then smiled, placing his hand on Tello’s shoulder. “But you can tell us a few things. Like, which of the girls you like.”
Tello chuckled softly as his heart sank. “Who I like…. Does it matter?” Shaking his head, he looked away from his brothers. “I don’t think I’m anyone’s first choice.”
“April really did a number on you. Didn’t she?” Mikey said and then added. “You’re a great guy, Donnie. Any of those girls will be lucky to have you.”
“One of them will end up settling for me.” He didn’t like being so negative but, all things considered it was hard for him to be positive at the moment. “I just hope it’s not Rachael. She scares me.” He then grinned and held up his hands. “Sorry for saying anything negative about the woman who could one day be the mother to one of you guys. Though, I don’t know what any of you would choose her. There are three others to choose.”
Raphael chuckled but didn’t say anything.
Tello considered his brother for a moment. Could Rachael be the one he had chosen? The desire to ask had the question on the tip of his tongue but he thought better of it. It was best not to know too much.
“When a relationship actually starts to establish, I’ll let you guys know,” Tello decided to say instead. Clearing his throat he looked at each of his brothers in turn and then asked, “When we all do start to pair off and… um… the inevitable happens, will you tell me then who your chosen mothers are?”
Leo nodded his head. “Once we are conceived we will let you know. As long as you visit us before we have to go.”
“Good,” Tello smiled. “It will give me a chance to prepare your parents to be.” He hugged each of them, noting that in the spirit world they lacked their familiar scent. “I guess I should go.”
Raph gave him a reassuring smile. “We’ll be in your life again soon.”
“Just don’t play favorites,” Leo warned with a teasing smile.
Feeling a little better than he did when he first came in, Tello nodded and waved to his brothers before pulling himself out of the spirit realm. When he opened his eyes, the first thing he saw was the orb. Tello picked it up as he got to his feet and placed it back on its shelf.
“Did the visit with your family help?” Splinter asked.
“It did,” Tello replied with a nod. “Found out a few things.” He debated with himself for a moment and then decided to go ahead and tell Splinter what he knew. He knelt on the floor in front of Splinter. “My brothers, along with other turtles who had died in the multiverse, will be reborn here. To us.”
“I can see how this news would excite you,” Splinter said. “What else have they told you?”
Tello shrugged. “Not much. They can’t give me any details. I guess they fear altering the outcome or something. The spirit realm is a strange place.” Splinter chuckled and nodded in agreement. “They did tell me that my father is going to be reborn as Karai’s child,” Tello continued, “and that Casey and April are going to be reborn as April’s twins.”
“And yet, you still seem a little sad,” Splinter observed.
“Their deaths scarred most of their souls,” Tello explained. “My father and April, not so much, but the others are deeply scarred, so much so that they will have afflictions in their new lives.”
“I see,” Splinter said thoughtfully. “You feel a level of guilt over this.”
“Yes,” Tello admitted, relieved that Splinter understood.
“But it is not your fault,” Splinter pointed out.
“They told me that my being here was what made it possible,” Tello argued. “If it wasn’t for me, April’s children would be… normal.”
Splinter shook his head. “Michelangelo bringing you here is what showed Donatello that passing through the portal was safe and therefore he was able to find the courage to save the girls. Without the girls here there would be no children. You being here might have swayed their decision to where they were to be reborn but they could have made that decision before you were brought here, for other reasons. Maybe they saw this world’s April and Casey as the best to handle whatever afflictions they have.”
Splinter reached out and took both of Tello’s hands into his. “Do not feel guilt over what is to come. You did not choose their fate.”
Letting out a sigh of relief, Tello thanked Splinter and then excused himself from the dojo. As he made his way up the stairs he saw Rachael making her way down. She looked exhausted. After a moment’s hesitation, Tello decided to offer her his help.
She glared at him for a moment before relenting and accepting his assistance. She leaned heavily on him as they made their way down the stairs. When they arrived at her room, she mumbled her thanks before disappearing through the door. The soft murmur of voices told him that Michelle was already in the room resting.
He looked up towards the bathroom and wondered how the Leah and Donna were doing or if they were already done. The opportunity to ask Rachael about them was already gone. Knowing better than to enter the bathroom to check, Tello decided to head back to the lab to lose himself in work.
One day, hopefully in the not too distant future, he will be allowed to sit with and comfort the one whose eggs carry his children and possibly the reincarnation of one of his brothers.