"I saw him again. The guy from the mains. Said his boss wasn't happy." I said, biting into the piece of melted cheese pizza in my hand. "Nothing to worry about though. Think I scared him off." Taking off my glasses to wipe the steam of the pizza onto the corner of my t-shirt, I squinted to see my brothers and Sensei's expressions on it.
"What was his name? Squirt, you called him?" I nodded. "If you say that his boss told him that he wanted us, then said that he'll steer clear of the sewers, I wouldn't put it past them not stay true to their words-or worse, find some way to push us out of here. Under any circumstances, I do not want any of you to go up above-none of you are ready. That includes you too Tally."
Everything was silent for a moment. Another moment more. Then, everyone exploded.
"You can't do this!"
"Please don't do that!"
"We are ready, we swear!"
Slowly, I stood up. I was the only one who hadn't said anything to Sensei about this yet. "Sensei. Please don't stop me from going up. I can look after myself, you know I can! All of us here know it. Just don't-I'll go out less. Please, Sensei!" My pleading didn't work, and I saw any hope for me going up again go with the shaking of Sensei's head. I felt my face go expressionless and my voice monotone. "Well, alright then. I'll-I'll be in-in the training room." Walking away, I heard someone starting to come after but was stopped before they could reach me.
I was still in shock from Sensei's words. I was laying on the floor of our makeshift dojo, staring up the dreary ceiling that I saw every day. I contemplated running away, but then I thought, "Where would I go? This I where I've grown up, this is where my family is, everyone I love and trust are here-I couldn't leave them. I promised to protect my brothers, whatever the circumstances." Blowing out a breath, I closed my eyes and rolled onto my side, breathing in the all too familiar smell of turtles, swords, and battle practise. I just wanted to curl into a ball and think over every argument I ever had with Sensei that I wanted to do training like my brothers, every drawing I've ever done in secret, every time I fought and hugged and forgave and snuck out with my brothers into the open. Tears started to crawl out of my eyelids like slugs, steaming up my glasses, and they couldn't seem to stop.
Taking off my glasses and covering my face with my hands, I continued to sob silently. Needless to say, I felt embarrassed when a hand enclosed my shaking shoulder. "Hey, Tealeaf. You ok? Don't answer that, that was silly stupid to ask...So, uh. Sensei is sorting something out tonight, and I hear that Donnie picked up something pretty serious on the cameras-you up for it?" Furiously wiping my eyes on my arm, I sat up and tried to grab my glasses from where I thought I had put them. "Here you go Tealeaf."
"Thanks. And of course I want to go! Let's go."