Note: This is a post I made for Raphril week. The prompt being midnight. I worked on it before I left for vacation and took somewhere around forever to finish. Seriously it is like a million words long. This was supposed to be a short story how the hell did it end up so long. This was the most fun to write though. I hope you like it too.
"Look kid," Raph hissed through clenched teeth, "just put on the damn dress and go to the stupid dance okay?"
From her spot on the bed the red head glanced over the top of her book. As she regarded the irate turtle her expression was a mix of amusement and exasperation. The look was disturbingly familiar. It was one Raph had received from his brother on more then one occasion, so similar in fact that he had to take a calming breath so that he wouldn't march over and smack the teen across the head.
"Yeah…no." April said finally, turning her gaze back to her book. "And by the way my name is April. Not kid. Ap-ril. Two syllables. It's not that hard."
It took every bit of Raph's not considerable self-restraint not to throw up his hands and just go home.
This was the last time he did freelance fairy godparent work. Even if it was a favor to his father.
Usually the job was a piece of fairy cake. Show up, wave the wand, give the kid a curfew, and poof away. It was truly beautiful in its simplicity.
Not this time though. Oh no.
Normally he'd be dealing with kids with some sort of "evil"…whatever. Mother, father, step-parent, it didn't matter they were stuck at home and to was Raph's job to stage a jail break. This kid's aunt had practically begged him to get her niece to go to the ball. Plying him with cookies and tea, and staring hopefully at him through teary eyes.
Her behaviour had been really confusing, until he met the girl in question. Then it all became disturbingly clear.
Content to lounge in her bed reading a book bigger then Raph's head, the young woman resolutely refused to go anywhere, never mind to a ball. No matter how much Raph demanded, cajoled, or threatened, the girl stood, or more accurately sat, firm in her decision.
Raph sighed. If he didn't get April out of this room and to the castle on time his father would have him doing randori until he looked like Rip van Winkle.
"What the shell ki…April?" Raph asked finally, rubbing the space between his eyes. "Why don't you want to go?"
This time April didn't even bother to look up from her book this time. She merely licked her thumb and turned a page, eyes still firmly fixed on the print.
"Balls are an antiquated excuse for the rich to parade their eligible daughters around for equally wealthy bachelors to leer at like some sort of meat market. It is a complete waste of resources and time. Frankly I don't want to be part of something so blatantly stupid."
Raph blinked at her long winded answer.
Wordy little thing wasn't she?
"But don't you want to be a princess?" He finally asked, mystified.
All girls wanted to be princesses right? It was a girl thing. Guys wanted to be knights and girls wanted to be princesses. Heck for a while even Raph had wanted to be a knight, but fortunately he'd eventually thought better of it. Though admittedly fairy god-brother wasn't really an improvement it afforded his some freedom. Still, Raph was pretty sure that all girls wanted to be princesses.
This time April did look up from her book, if only to favor Raph with possibly the most unimpressed stare he'd ever been on the receiving end of. Seeing that he didn't realize the sheer idiocy of his comment April decided to take the time to enlighten him.
"Do you have any idea about the complex intersection of factors involved in marrying royalty? Sharing resources, increasing military power, guaranteeing alliances, ending family feuds, just to name a few." Seeing the blank expression on Raph's face, April threw her hands in the air in exasperation. "It is a political nightmare at the best of times. This whole finding the prince's "soul mate" at a party seems extremely poorly advised. I don't know what they were thinking but I don't want any part of it. So thanks but no thanks."
By now Raph's previously small headache had evolved into something that felt like the seven dwarves were mining in his head. This girl, this infuriating, ridiculous girl, reminded him way too much of Donnie. She just sat there, talking like she's swallowed a dictionary, and being a complete brat about the whole thing. Didn't she realize he had a freaking job to do?
And boy would it get done. One way or another.
"Look I don't give a flying carpet whether you wanna go or not." At the end of his rope, Raph gave April the most menacing glare he could muster. While he didn't necessarily want to scare the girl…well maybe he did a little, but more so he wanted to let her know that he meant business. No little red head brat was going to out stubborn him.
"Now I'm giving you two choices. Either you get your skinny little butt up and let me get you ready for the stupid ball, or I'm putting you in that dress myself and taking you to there in chains. Take your pick princess."
The glare April sent him in return could have peeled paint. Disturbingly silent, the girl finally closed her book with a thunk and gave the turtle her full attention. As she hefted the tome, Raph began to realize that he might have maybe made a tiny mistake. The book she'd been reading was thicker than his fist and had a cover that looked like it could dent stone. If this girl really was anything like Donnie that book could make for a rather effective weapon if she was so inclined.
And judging by the look on her face she was very much inclined.
Clearly it was time to pull out the big catapult.
"Besides you wouldn't want to disappoint your aunt would you?" At Raph's, slightly desperate, declaration April paused and Raph heaved a tiny sigh of relief. Feeling brave he decided to press his luck a little. "I mean, she really wants you to go and stuff."
Groaning April slumped back against her bed, burying her face in her hands. From behind her finger Raph could hear her groan.
"She thinks I'm becoming, I don't know, anti-social or something. " The words came out slightly garbled but Raph could hear the resignation in them. Finally, with a huge sigh, the girl set aside her book and hopped off the bed.
"Okay, what does this fairy godmother thing entail exactly?"
"First of all its fairy god-brother not fairy godmother. I'm not your mommy, princess." April rolled her eyes and waved her hand hurry up gesture. "Basically I dress you up, make sure you get to the palace okay, and tell you what time you need to be home by. It's 12 by the way."
"You're going to choose my outfit for me?" said April, eyeing Raph skeptically. "Um you do realize you're wearing a frilly pink dress and fake fairy wings right? I don't think I trust your fashion sense."
"It's part of the uniform." Raph bit out through ground his teeth. "Now shut up and let me do my job."
With a wave of his trusty wand, Raph's magic enveloped April in a ball of pure white light. There was a puff of sparkles and the faint scent of sugar in the air. At the sparkles cleared April stood in her new dress.
It was a monstrosity.
Raph could do little but gape in awe and a little horror. The dress itself was massive. With no less than six petticoats, April was in serious danger of drowning in fabric. The collar of stiffly starched lace made it seemingly impossible to turn her head and the heavy brocade that made up the rest of the dress looked like it had been plucked off of Old Mother Hubbard's couch.
"What the heck did you do?" cried April. Stumbling under the immense weight of the dress she tried to keep herself upright. The sleeves were so voluminous that she couldn't move her arms, never mind walk.
Meanwhile Raph just stared in shock. This had NEVER happened before.
"I don't know." Raph shouted back defensively. "Just give me a second to fix it."
Quickly he waved his wand a second time, hoping this time would be better. Though with the way the last dress had gone Raph was pretty sure he couldn't make it much worse. Man, this was totally embarrassing.
Another flash and puff of sparkles April was the proud owner of a new dress. Taking a look at his work Raph sighed. This dress, at least, was better…but not by much.
The thing was little more than a tube of cloth. Completely strapless it only fell to about mid thigh and was completely skin tight. Though admittedly flattering to her figure Raph couldn't help but notice, it wasn't at all appropriate for a high class function.
Glancing down at herself then at Raph, April gave him an indignant glare. Clearly she felt the same way.
"Well…" Raph said mildly, looking her up and down, "I like it."
"I'm sure you do." April reply was as flat as her expression. "Look, I have dresses you know. I can just wear one of them."
Without a second thought Raph swung his wand once more. There was no way he was going to mess up this time. Seriously this only happened to old dudes, he was way too young to be having wand dysfunction. He was going to give April the perfect dress whether she liked it or not. His pride was on the line dammit.
Unlike the previous two times there was no flash of light or sparkles only a cloud of purple smoke that left April coughing.
As it cleared Raph felt his jaw drop.
The new dress, while also yellow, was made of a shimmering silk that trailed to just above her feet. It had no sleeves but the material was gathered into a strap on one of her shoulder providing some support and the shimmering crinoline over skirt really gave it that princess feel. Tiny intricate beads were woven in making it shimmer very time April moved.
All in all Raph was pretty proud of his work. Probably the best he'd ever done really. Even April looked impressed as she looked herself over, reverently stroking the dress's jeweled sash.
"Am I good or am I good?" Raph spun his wand around with a cocky smirk.
Lifting the edge of her gown April checked out her new foot wear. On each of her dainty feet was a solid gold slipper. Tapping a foot experimentally the heel made a satisfying thunk.
"What no glass?" She said, glancing up with a tiny smirk.
"Not unless you want your feet to look like sashimi by the end of the night."
"Fair enough." April shrugged. "What's next Mr. Fairy?"
"You got any vegetables around here?" Raph said, resolutely ignoring April's new nickname for him. "Like a pumpkin or a really big gourd?"
Thinking for a moment, April shook her head. "Nothing like that. I think we have some potatoes and a cucumber. Would they work?"
"Aw shell," Raph grimaced; neither of those things were big enough. Sure he had magic but conservation of mass still had some effect. This job was getting worse by the minute. "Okay we're doing this the hard way I guess."
Grabbing April by the wrist he began to drag her over to the window. Seeing his destination, and sensing his intention, April dug her heels in before he could heave her out.
"What the heck are you doing?" She shrieked, bracing her hands on the window frame as he tried to push her through.
"Gotta get to the ball," Raph grunted, man this girl was pretty strong. "This is the fastest way."
Glancing at Raph then at his clearly decorative wings, April's face scrunched up in confusion. "Um I hope you don't think you're flying us there because I hate to tell you but those tings aren't going to get you far."
"Heh," snorted Raph, finally getting the leverage he needed the turtle managed to lift the girl up and out the window. "Who said anything about flying?"
As she fell April let out another shriek louder than before. Surprise free falls often elicited such reactions. The sound was quickly cut off though, as a large hand closed around her wrist. With ridiculous ease Raph dragged the squirming girl on the rooftop of the next house over. He was careful not to let her fancy dress get caught on the wood. It would suck in all his hard work went to waste.
With his massive green hand still clamped firmly around her slender arm Raph dragged April across the many rooftops. At first he had to practically carry her, towing her behind as she stumbled along but eventually the girl caught his rhythm and they were actually able to make fairly decent time.
It was nice just running in the twilight. Raph hadn't just run for the fun of it in a long time. Too long. It was always for training or work. There was that exhilarating pulse of freedom as the wind whispered along his skin. Every time he cleared a gap it felt like the world slowed down for a second only to speed up again as he landed. In that moment his mind and his body were one cohesive unit made of sinew, flesh, and bones.
Glancing back to make sure April was still okay he caught sight of her flushed face. Despite their almost desperate pace the young woman's face was split by a wide grin and her eyes were sparkling with excitement as they cleared yet another building.
On the last rooftop Raph dangled April over the edge, lowering her carefully to the ground. While his grip on her forearms was solid he could see the apprehension in her eyes. Within seconds of her feet touching the packed earth Raph was beside her.
"Okay here we go princess." Raph was slightly out of breath. Dragging April across hither and yon really did tucker a turtle out. "Now get in there already."
April blinked and shuffled her feet awkwardly, clearly uncomfortable with the idea now that they were so close to the castle. It was strange watching her, this seemingly docile human girl. If he hadn't talked to her before, if he didn't know about her flashing eyes and sharp wit, Raph might have been fooled into thinking she was a normal girl.
Rolling his eyes Raph placed a hand on the small of her back and gave her a shove. It wasn't that hard of a push but it was enough to send her stumbling in the right direction. At this rate she was going to wuss out, he could see it in her eyes.
Glancing over her shoulder April gave him one last baleful look. In return he flapped his hands in her direction, gesturing for her to get a move on. With a small sigh she turned back and made her way up the steps.
"Finally," thought Raph, slumping slightly in relief.
He had never had so much trouble on one simple job in his life. Getting April to do anything was like pulling teeth…out of a dragon's mouth.
Still, it was the first real challenge he'd had in a long while. Raph shrugged and turned away, it was fun while it lasted but he had stuff to do. No use hanging around some stupid castle. It wasn't like he'd merited an invite to the party.
As he turned to leave Raph felt a light tap on his shell. Feeling a cold chill of dread he slowly veered back around only to come face to face with none other than an extremely sheepish April.
Seeing the irritated expression on Raph's face April held her hands up in surrender. "They won't let me in. Apparently I'm not on the list."
"Not on the list?" Raph growled. "Why the shell not?"
"Well…" April began to fiddle with her skirt, a light blush staining her cheeks. "I didn't really plan on going so when they sent out the invitations I didn't RSVP."
Smacking his palm to his face Raph groaned. "Of course you didn't." Gripping April around the wrist once more he began to drag the girl back up the stairs.
If you wanted a job done right you had to do it yourself.
As the front entrance came into view, along with the guard, Raph felt the pounding in his head return full force. Marching right up to the front Raph folded his arms and glared at the guard.
"What the heck Mikey?" He said, tapping his foot in irritation. "What's this I hear about you not letting my client in?"
Mikey only shrugged with way too cheery grin on his face. For some reason seeing Raph in his uniform always made the younger turtle's day.
"Sorry bro no can do. She's not on the list."
By now Raph was about really to scream in frustration. This was supposed to be an easy job. AN EASY JOB! Never in his whole career had he had so many setbacks in one night.
Dragging April from behind him Raph gestured to her outfit. "To heck with the list. Just look at her, she is obviously the one who's going to marry the stupid prince. So hurry up and let her in"
Mikey looked over the April with slight suspicion as the girl gave an awkward wave.
"I dunno dude. Leo'll kill me if he finds out."
"Leo?" The feeling of dread from earlier was back in full force. "Leo's here?"
"Uh yeah, he's captain of the guard tonight." Mikey rolled his eyes in an exaggerated manner. "He's only been talking about it for like forever."
A string of very long and imaginative curses floated its way through Raph's head. Of all his brothers Leo was the most stubborn, besides Raph himself of course. The guy had an honour complex a mile long and if he found out that April wasn't on the approved guest list he'd have her chained up and shipped out before you could say "pixie dust".
"Look Mikey," Raph massaged the bridge of his beak. "Let her in and I'll deal with Leo okay?"
Mikey made a face as he deeply contemplated the suggestion. Hopefully his brain didn't short out due to overuse. But thankfully a few seconds later the orange masked turtle nodded.
"Go for it, but if Leo catches you I don't know anything."
"He won't have a hard time believing that," Raph muttered under his breath.
Hearing his quiet words April elbowed the turtle in the lower plastron. "Thanks Mikey," she said, smiling sweetly as Raph dragged her away.
Corralling her into the main hall Raph couldn't help but glower. April never thanked HIM for all his work and he'd done a heck of a lot more for her than his hobgoblin of a brother.
The sudden thought made him blink. Why was he even irritated about that? He didn't care if April thanked him or not. It was just his job; it wasn't like Raph was in it for the gratitude.
Though would it kill her to be a little more grateful?
"So…"April's voice was slightly teasing causing Raph to cringe. It wasn't hard to tell where her line of thought was heading. "Somebody you know?"
Raph sighed, he could deny it but knowing April she'd probably press him for details until the truth came out anyways. "You just had the honour of meeting my bone head of a brother. I'm not surprised you didn't notice the resemblance. I am the good looking one. And," he continued cutting April off before she could ask another obvious question," before you ask Leo is my other brother. He is a complete hard-ass so you're gonna want to avoid him. I always do."
"So you have two brothers?" April asked curiously as he led her down a twisting corridor.
"Three actually. Donnie's not here which is too bad 'cause you'd like him," smirked Raph. "He's an annoying know-it-all…kinda like you."
April gave Raph a dead-pan glare but chose not to dignify his comment with a response. This was perfect because Raph finally caught sight of the ballroom entrance. Seriously who put a ballroom in the dead center of a castle?
"Here we are," Raph gestured to the archway. "Now you get in there or I swear I'm gonna smack you."
April merely rolled her eyes, unimpressed by his act of machismo. "What about your brother Leo?"
"Don't worry 'bout him. I'll be keeping an eye from above and keep him from getting too close."
With a shrug April finally made her way into the ball room and Raph was able to heave a sigh of relief. He was half-tempted just to go home and leave the girl to her own business, but he'd told April he was going to watch over her so he would. It was part of his job…probably. To be honest this sort of thing wasn't covered in the handbook.
Moving up into the stone beams that made up the ceiling, Raph couldn't help but feel a little impressed. As much as he thought that balls were a gigantic waste of time, not so different from April he recalled with grim amusement, the spread was pretty impressive.
The whole room glowed in the low light, crystals and flowers decorating every surface. Clearly the king had spared no expense for his only son. Huge banquet tables laden with mountains of food were scattered around the room, reminding Raph that he hadn't eaten in far too long. It was almost tempting to sneak down for a snack but he was supposed to be watching April.
Speaking of April, Raph glanced around quickly for his target, spotting her almost immediately.
Not that it was hard. Even among the writhing throngs of people the red head was easy to spot. It seemed that no matter where she was in the room she stood.
Despite all her grumbling about attending the ball, and about balls in general, she seemed to be doing well on her own. Like a leaf in the wind she drifted between groups of people exchanging handshakes, giving a warm smile here and a bow there.
Though it gave him a small, very confusing, knot in his stomach the thought dawned on Raph that maybe April didn't need his help at all. He'd gotten her to the ball. That was where his job ended. Something about the girl was making a mess of his hard edged professionalism.
For a split second Raph considered leaving. He didn't fit in these sorts of places and he really didn't want to spend the rest of the evening watching April flirt from the ceiling. Would she really even notice anyways? Then something caught his attention that made him freeze in place.
Leo, having also caught sight of April, was frowning and making his way over. As she chatted to a small group of young women, April remained oblivious to the oncoming threat.
Cursing mentally Raph tried to form plan as he quickly made his descent. Unfortunately, planning wasn't really his forte and doing so under pressure made it all the worse.
Finally, hoping for the best, he simply waved his wand over himself and slipped quietly over to the girl. Grabbing April by the elbow he pasted on his most charming smile.
"Good evening lovely lady," said Raph, though in his head he grimaced. He sounded like a complete sap but that's how noblemen talked right? "Might I have the honour of this dance?"
Not giving her a chance to answer he dragged her towards the dance floor. Out of the corner of his eye Raph saw Leo frown but there was little the blue turtle could do without causing a scene.
April on the other hand, was not at all amused at being strong armed into dancing by some stranger. As he tugged her towards the dance floor she tried to tug her wrist loose from his grip but to no avail. Realizing she wasn't going to get free any time soon April settled for carefully trampling on his feet as best she could as they circled around the ballroom. Each time Raph got within range she brought her heavily shod foot down on his.
Around the twelfth time she did it Raph finally snapped.
"Would you cut that out?" he barked, trying to keep his voice down.
It was enough to give April pause though. No longer trying to mash his feet under her heavy shoes, she gave him appraising looks as they danced. "Mr. Fairy?"
"Yes…no! My name is Raph not Mr. Fairy or whatever else your lame brain can come up with."
This time April kicked him in the shin.
"What are you doing?" she continued, pretending she hadn't just mauled his legs.
"Keeping you out of trouble." Though he was beginning to regret exerting the effort. "Leo was headed your way. Looked like he was on the war path."
"Oh," April said faintly, and then was silent.
The silence stretched out as the pair danced. Now that she was dancing properly, and not trying to mangle his feet, she was actually a fairly good dancer. April was able to keep up with his pace and even adapt when he threw in the occasional twirl just to throw her off, Master Splinter would likely have taken her on as a student if the chance presented itself.
Such a chance was unlikely now though, Raph realized, princesses didn't to his knowledge learn martial arts…or maybe they did Raph really had no idea.
"So you can change your appearance whenever you want?" said April suddenly, breaking the long silence.
Raph only shrugged. It was pretty basic stuff even a newling could do. Shape changing was kind of like shuffling into a new suit, only the suit was a person. Not that April needed to know that.
"Why don't you always look like that? Like a human?"
And there it was. Buying himself some time, Raph sent April into a sudden spin, making the girl stumble slightly to keep up.
"It's not me." He gruffly mumbled. "I'm not human and I don't want to be."
Keeping his face smooth, Raph tired to call to mind what his father had taught him. He had to let her words wash over him like water over stone. Even though she'd probably think he was an idiot. Why look like a monster when you could look like a normal person? Wasn't that the happy ending people looked for? To turn their frog into a prince. Only he wasn't a frog any more then he was a prince. This was who he was and Raph wasn't going to change. Not for anyone.
To his surprise though, April only shrugged acceptingly.
"Makes sense. Why spend the extra effort trying to be someone you're not? Waste of time if you ask me."
Much to his own surprise Raph almost wished that their dance could go on a little longer. She was the first person he'd met that hadn't questioned him to death about his unusual appearance and there was something in her gaze that told him she had more experience with the subject then she let on. But the music was winding down and Raph's masculinity couldn't handle prancing around like an idiot for another minute. So, allowing himself one final twirl, the disguised turtle gave a mocking bow and disappeared into the crowd.
Briefly Raph contemplated shifting back to his normal appearance but the thought quickly passed. It was easier to keep an eye on things looking like this. So instead Raph sidled over to one of the banquet tables and filled up a plate. Hey the prince could certainly spare it right?
The next few hours were spent trailing April with his eyes as he plowed his way through plate after plate of food. Occasionally some noble lady would ask him for a dance but a simple glare was enough to send them on their way.
It was as he was refilling his plate for the fifth time that Raph lost sight of April. It was only for a split second but that was all it took for the red head to disappear.
As worry began to wind its way through his gut, Raph began to search the room. Seriously there was no way that girl could move that fast. Aw man maybe she was kidnapped by a rival princess wanna-be or something. Ugh now he'd have to go and save her. AGAIN.
Raph's inner rant was quickly cut off as he caught sight of April heading out the door. Unfortunately Leo was right behind her.
Pushing his way through the crowd Raph tried desperately to get to her in time. If he could get her onto the dance floor again then she'd be fine. Not that he really wanted to spend any more time prancing around but it was the only plan he had. Dammit he should have been paying better attention.
"Um excuse me Miss."
Hearing Leo's voice Raph came skittering to a halt. Glancing around, he ducked for cover behind the nearest statue, praying that he hadn't been seen.
Fortunately for him none of the hall's inhabitants had caught sight of him. Peering around the statue Raph surveyed the hall. The only people in sight were April, Leo and another figure Raph couldn't see from his vantage point.
"Can I help you?" All attitude April placed her hand on her hip and stared at the pair.
"We were just wondering…" Leo paused, shifting uncomfortably. "It's just that I have a list of every potential female at this ball and you don't appear to be on it. Might I ask your name?"
Raph flinched. Aw man they were going to be caught out. Then they were both going to get kicked out and Leo would never let him hear the end of it. There was only one solution. Knock Leo and the other mystery person insensible and hide them in a broom closet.
As he was preparing to strike, April seemed to have plans of her own. Straightening her back she proceeded to give Leo her best impression of a haughty glare. "Is it not polite to give your name before demanding a lady's?"
Clearly unprepared for her sharp words Leo blinked. Reddening, he placed his closed fist over his heart and bowed stiffly at the waist.
"I apologize, my lady. I am Leonardo Captain of the King's guard and this is Donatello Chief Advisor to the king."
Oh great Donatello was here too. All they needed was Splinter and Mikey's cat made of frozen cream to show up and the whole family would be in attendance. Maybe it was time to start listening when his brothers talked.
"I must apologize on my brother's behalf." Donnie's unmistakable voice echoed through the corridor as he came into Raph's field on vision. Sure enough, there he stood in all his fancy clothes, looking completely ridiculous Raph couldn't help but notice. "Clearly this young lady belongs here. Just look at her."
Turning to face April, Raph could see Donnie putting on what he believed to be a suave grin. What it really looked like was that someone had shoved a bear trap in his mouth but April smiled anyways. Keeping up his, extremely clumsy, ladies-man act, Donnie held out a velvet clad arm to the redhead. Though he ruined the image with an awkward little giggle at the end.
"If it pleases milady, might I request the honour of a dance."
"Of course," April's smile is a little too bright, a little too forced, but Raph can see her shoulders relax a little as Donnie lead her away from Leo.
For a split second Raph was sure Leo was going to stop them. In fact a little voice in that back of Raph's head actually hoped he would, but the turtle beat it down viciously. Instead, Leo cast one last long look in the pair's direction before heading off down the opposite way.
As soon as the coast was clear Raph bolted from behind the statue and back into the ballroom. Already April and Donnie were on the dance floor, spinning in time with the other colorful figures. Something about the scene made him stomach tighten.
He'd expected people to freak out at the sight of a young girl dancing with a six foot turtle. Screaming, fleeing, at least some weird looks or whispers. Like that time the ogre crashed Princess Trinity's cotillion. Instead everyone seemed quite accepting of the giant terrapin in their midst.
Even if there had been staring or whispering though, Raph wasn't sure either would have noticed. As they danced Donnie and April chatted away, seemingly in their own world. While he'd figured that they'd like each other, the brainy type always seemed to stick together, Raph hadn't anticipated the discomfort that their interactions would cause. He was too far from the pair to hear what they were saying but April seemed happy enough and Donnie was staring at her like she'd perfected his horseless carriage propulsion system.
This was a mistake, Raph thought grimly. April was supposed to be dancing with the prince, not his brainy brother. That idiot was ruining everything. If this kept up Raph was definitely going to have to put a stop to it. Quickly and without mercy.
Thankfully the dance was relatively short, though to Raph it seemed to stretch just short of eternity. As it ended Donnie looked as though he was going to make a bid for another dance but April was too busy watching the large clock to answer. What the shell was she looking at, Raph wondered, following her gaze.
He needed to get April out of the palace, like now. Unfortunately Raph was too far away to get her attention. His magic wouldn't hold out much longer and he really didn't want to have to deal with the red head's wrath if it dissipated in the middle of the crowded ball room.
Pushing his way through the crowd Raph grabbed hold of April's wrist and dragged her away. He could hear Donnie protesting behind them but was in too much of a hurry to care. Not that Donnie would recognize him in his human disguise anyways. Served him right anyways, muscling in and dancing with April like that, ruining all Raph's hard work.
"Hey, slow down." April yelped, stumbling to keep up with Raph's pace. In their hurry they almost sent two young women flying and did send one gentleman into a punch bowl.
"No time." Replied Raph grimly. "It's almost midnight."
"So I'll be a little late," April tried to detangle her captive limb but Raph kept a tight grip. Eventually she gave up and instead attempted to dig her heels in, with equal success. "It's not a big deal. My aunt will understand."
Swinging around Raph pinned her with an irritated gaze. Didn't this girl know anything? "Midnight means my job is over. The spell ends at midnight. No exception, no extensions."
April stared blankly for a moment, clearly not understanding what he was getting at. Then realization dawned on her face, turning her pale.
"So I'll be standing here?" Raph nodded. "In my pajamas?" Again Raph nodded. "In front of all these people?"
This time Raph didn't even have to nod because April was already pulling him towards the exit. They had almost made it to the doorway when a voice called out to the pair.
"Well hello gorgeous. Where are you goin' so fast?"
Fully prepared to deck this joker if he didn't back the hell off, Raph spun around with a murderous glare. His night, which was supposed to be spent relaxing, was in shambles. He'd been stuck with the most uncooperative girl on the face of the planet. He'd ended up having to stalk said girl to the stupid ball. Worst of all he'd had to dance. And for what? So that his stupid brother could waltz around with his client instead of having her dance with the prince like she was supposed to. The only thing that would make up for this waste of an evening would be if he got to knock the sparkles out of this sleazebag.
Fortunately April was a little quicker on the uptake.
"Good evening your majesty." She smiled tightly. Bending into a graceful curtsy the girl managed to cram an elbow into Raph's side, glowering at him until he too bowed grudgingly.
All in all Prince Casey was not what Raph had been expecting. He wasn't particularly tall or muscular, or even look all that charming really. Raph was sure the handbook had mentioned some criteria for Prince (or Princess) Charmings and he was positive that this guy wasn't making the cut. Maybe that's why Raph hadn't noticed him earlier. Still, Raph wasn't a Prince expert, so maybe Prince Casey's slicked back black hair and wide smile of straight gleaming white teeth were enough.
"Where ya headed the party's just getting' started." Even though he was talking to both Raph and April, Casey's eyes were trained solely on the girl.
Raph didn't like it one bit and not just because he didn't appreciate being ignored.
"Well, I'm supposed to be home by midnight…"
Prince Casey waved his hand imperiously. "You can't leave before dancin' with the prince. It's like a rule."
Before April could say anything, make up any excuse, Prince Casey was already leading her towards the dance floor.
Another look at the clock tower made Raph wince. If they didn't hurry April wouldn't make it out of the castle by midnight, never mind make it to her aunt's house. Seriously that bone head prince had the worst timing. Why couldn't he have shown up earlier?
Meanwhile, April appeared to be having troubles of her own. Whoever had written the fairy godparent handbook clearly had never met a prince like Casey. As he whirled her around the room, occasionally tramping on her feet with his hard soled boots, he attempted to regale her with tales of his victories on the jousting field.
He wasn't a bad guy, April decided as she half listened to his latest story. He'd make a nice husband for some girl, correction some other girl. To hell with what Raph thought, April had no intention of marrying him this strange young man. So, while oohing and ahhing at the appropriate intervals, April kept an eye out for any possible escape opportunities.
"So babe," Pulling April a little closer, Prince Casey smirked down at the girl. "How would you like to be a princess?"
Despite her best effort a small giggle did manage to worm its way out. "I'll bet you say that to all the girls." She said, rolling her eyes.
Unperturbed by her response, Casey spun her around with a wide grin before pulling her back against him.
"You're feisty. I like that in a girl."
From the edge of the dance floor Raph watched with a dark glower. Prince Bonehead, as Raph had nicknamed him, was taking way too much time. He had to get April home soon or risk her wrath when his magic ran out.
Not to mention the Prince was holding her way too close. Didn't the guy have a sense of decency? Any tighter and Raph was pretty sure April would asphyxiate from lack of air. Worst of all was his hands. They kept straying to places that made Raph want to march over and tear them off. Not that he cared.
Five minutes and counting.
Now Raph had to come up with a plan. Something cunning and sneaky to get April away from the prince and out of the palace. Something that wouldn't catch Donnie or Leo or any of the other guards' attention. Something like…
As Raph watched, Prince Casey's hand slid down past the point of propriety and Raph's mind went blank. Storming over he grabbed the young man's shoulder in an iron grim and spun him around. Giving the prince no time to react Raph pulled back his fist and sent it flying at his royal face.
The room went silent, but Raph didn't notice. Grabbing April once more he bodily dragged her through the stunned room, not caring who he knocked over this time.
"Dude, Get back here with her!" Casey yelled, though blood spilled down his face staining his jacket. "Guards stop him!"
Barreling through the crowd they finally reached the door while the guards struggled through the masses, being far more polite then the turtle and his companion. Taking advantage of their head start Raph bolted down the winding corridors, hoping to lose their pursuers before they made it to the front entrance.
Thankfully the hallways were completely deserted as most of the castles inhabitants were busy in the ballroom.
As Raph raced down the halls with April hot on his heels he caught a flash of green in the darkness. It took a minute for his frazzled mind to process what that green shape had been. It had in fact been Leo. Which was bad. Leo had been occupied. Which was good. Leo was occupied in the embrace of one Princess Karai. Really, really occupied. Which was too disturbing to think about.
There was a momentary urge to vomit but unfortunately Raph didn't have time to stop and indulge as their pursuers weren't far behind. For once Leo's completely messed up obsession with the girl was working to Raph's benefit.
But it was still freaking gross.
A quick glance over his shoulder saw Leo untangling himself from the dark haired lady and joining in the chase. Not one to be left out Karai quickly followed suit, though somewhat hampered by her wide skirts.
Unfortunately April was having the same problem. Keeping up as best she could the layers of fabric wrapping her from waist to ankle proved to be disadvantageous in a chase scenario. Raph cursed himself for not considering this when he'd cast the spell. The yellow tube dress would have been a hundred times easier to run in. Bending down April scooped up as much skirt as she could in one arm, gaining a little mobility but not near enough.
They needed to go and fast.
Spinning around Raph grabbed the red head around the knees and tossed her over his shoulder. It took only a split second but it more than doubled their pace. While April wasn't exactly light but it was definitely preferable to dragging her the whole way.
"What the heck are you doing?" April shrieked.
Desperately she tried to find something to hold onto as she bounced along on his shoulder. The position wasn't exactly comfortable with his almost painful grip around her knees and his hard shell digging into her stomach. Not to mention it was really, really undignified. Clearly April was not okay with being treated like a sack of potatoes and told him so with a smack to the head.
"I'm getting you out of here." Raph growled, ignoring the blow. "This is not what I signed up for when I took this job."
Sensing she wasn't going anywhere of her own accord April slumped against his shell. Chin in her hand the girl allowed herself to be carried along through the palace's winding interior.
"Hey Raph," She said finally, "I don't think this is how this whole thing is supposed to go. I don't remember anything in the story books about being chased out of the palace by a bunch of guards."
"Just…be quiet for a second. I gotta think."
"Well think fast 'cause we got company."
Another glance over his shoulder caused Raph to curse under his breath. Their pursuers had finally caught up and they were making good time. Evidently lugging a girl around on his back was slowing Raph down considerably.
The crowd had even gained some new members, now consisting of Prince Casey, Donnie, Leo, Karai, and a bunch of guards. All were armed and none looked very pleased. Not a group Raph wanted to chat with at the moment.
Fortunately the entrance to the castle was just a few feet away. Turning the handle so hard that it snapped off in his grip, Raph barreled out the door and into the cool night air. His mind was racing as he took in their surroundings.
If they could make it to the houses at the edge of the village he might be able to lose them on the rooftops.
"Faster," April squealed, pounding on his shell, "faster, faster. They're catching up."
Grimacing Raph tried to push his already aching legs, did she not realize how heavy she was, but he was already at his limit. In fact Raph didn't even dare look backwards again. He could practically feel his pursuer's breath on his neck.
"If you want to switch places then be my guest." Raph snapped. Sweat was pouring down his face and his left leg was beginning to cramp. "If we can make it to the rooftops we're clear."
"Just to the rooftops?" April said skeptically. Raph could almost hear the wheels spinning in her head but was far too occupied to comment. "Wait…"
Curving her spine in a way that had Raph scrambling to re adjust his grip, April managed to dislodge one of her heavy golden slippers from her feet. Taking careful aim the young woman drew back her arm and let the piece of footwear fly.
It flew through the air in a perfect arc.
Raph turned just in time to see the golden blur connect with Prince Casey's face with a resounding, and rather satisfying, thunk. The sheer force of it sent the poor guy stumbling backwards, clutching his face for the second time that night. Had Raph been a tiny bit more empathetic he might have even felt bad for him.
But he wasn't, so he didn't
Immediately the guards, Leo included, broke off and began to cluster around their wounded monarch-to-be.
Taking advantage of the chaos Raph finally made it to the edge most houses. Scrambling up the siding he grasped hold of the roof and vaulted them both over. He hazarded one last look over his shoulder but, much to Raph's relief, their pursuers had been left far behind.
With her own sigh or relief, April collapsed against his shell with a sigh of relief.
Still Raph dared not slow his pace; as they passed from rooftop to rooftop he could feel the magic melting away. Tule and ruffles dissolved into mist beneath his grip, and his own limbs were regaining their natural form.
By the time the pair reached April's house Raph was completely a turtle again and April was standing once more in her pajamas.
For a moment they stood in silence, staring at one another.
"Nice shot." Raph finally offered causally. "Got him right in the face."
"I was in little league when I was a kid. Star pitcher for the West End Dragon Slayer." April replied with a shrug and a smirk.
Suddenly the ridiculousness of the situations was too much to bear and they both broke down into raucous laughter.
"That was so wrong." April moaned clutching her sides.
"I can't believe you hit him with your shoe." Raph covered his face with his hands. His whole body was shaking.
"Hey you punched the guy first."
"I am so going to get fired for this."
"Don't worry," April patted Raph consolingly on the shoulder, though she couldn't keep a tiny grin off her face. "We made the perfect get away. They don't know who I am and you were in disguise. They'll never know it was us."
"Ya well…" Raph trailed off, very much aware that April's hand was still on his shoulder.
It was so warm on his cool skin. Her tiny pink fingers looked ridiculous in contrast to the tough green leather of his skin.
He should go. Raph knew that for certain. After totally ruining April's night he no longer had any obligation, any excuse, to be hanging around the girl like some simpering puppy. Sure she was cute, and smart, and fiery, but there was no way she was going to be interested in him of all people. He'd just blown her chances with a prince, THE PRINCE. It would be best for both of them if he just went home right now before he made anything worse.
"I should probably be going." Raph muttered finally. It was like pulling off a bandage, better done quickly.
"Oh really?" If he hadn't known better Raph would have thought April looked disappointed. "You don't have to go yet. Unless you want to I mean. It's not that late."
Why was she making this harder than it already was? Didn't she see how conflicted and tempted he was?
"Well," Raph scrambled for an excuse, "my sensei's going to wonder where I am. Plus Leo's probably going to be home soon and I really wanna see the look on his stupid face when…"
From somewhere over Raph's shoulder came the unmistakable sound of someone clearing their throat. Praying that is wasn't who he knew it was, Raph slowly turned around.
"Oh, hey Leo."
"No please go on." Leo waved his hand in the air, his face deceptively calm. "I really want to hear the rest of that."
"Ooooh busted." Mikey crowed triumphantly from behind Leo. He too had apparently joined the merry chase.
"How did you know it was me?"
"Are you crazy Raph?" Not even bothering to wait for an answer Leo stormed over to his brother. "This mess has your name written all over it. Seriously you never think things through. If I were the prince I'd have your head for this."
"Hey, hey, no one's beheading anyone around here. Got it?" April muscled her way between the two glaring terrapins. Crossing her arms she glared defiantly up at Leo.
"Yeah beheading is so last year. I'm thinking tar and feathers." Pushing his way to the front of the group, Prince Casey crossed his arms and surveyed the girl and turtle in front of him.
"So ya, I've got a shoe here that I think belongs to you." True to his word, hanging from his outstretched finger was April's slipper.
"Um yea," April fiddled nervously with her bangs before shuffling shyly over to the young man, the other slipper in hand. "That's mine. Thanks for returning it and…er sorry for throwing it at you."
"No big." Prince Casey grinned, revealing his smile was no longer so pristine. Apparently April's shoe had knocked out one of his teeth leaving him with an obvious gap.
This was it, Raph marveled in horror, the fairy tale moment. Even after everything, after all the screw ups, everything was ending up as it should have. Maybe it really was magic after all. The girl was getting her prince. She was going to live happily ever after and all that mushy crap.
So why did it hurt so bad?
"Sooo does that mean you two are going to get married now?" asked Mikey innocently.
Normally Raph would have smacked Mikey for his careless words except for the fact he was wondering the exact same thing.
"No!" April shrieked, red faced.
"Whoa hold on there, who's talking about marriage?" Much to Raph surprise Prince Casey looked equally shocked by Mikey's question.
This was NOT how things were supposed to go.
"So you don't want to marry her?" Raph blurted out.
"Marry her? I just met her. Plus I'm only like 17. Who gets married at 17?"
"But, but," Raph was at a complete loss. "Why were you chasing us then?"
Folding his arms Prince Casey gave Raph the most dead-panned stare he could muster.
"Some guy runs off with a girl over his shoulder?" He shrugged. "I just thought you were kidnapping her or something."
Turning he gave a wide eyed April a sheepish grin.
"Sorry about not marrying you and junk."
"Nope," April raised her hands in mock surrender, "totally cool with me."
Raph had had enough. It was time to put his foot down. This…this was insane. Didn't anyone know what they were supposed to be doing? While he'd never been one for rules Raph had always done his job right. It was a lame job but he'd always ALWAYS completed a mission. Now these jerks were trying to rewrite the rule book.
The worst part was the completely unacceptable seed of hope that had burrowed its way into his chest. Maybe if April didn't want Casey then maybe…possibly…
No. This had to stop.
Stomping over to the Prince, Raph grabbed him by the collar. Dragging him down he stared deeply into the guy's face. Tiny veins popped out all over his face and neck, giving Raph's eyes a bulging look from behind his mask.
"Listen here you…you idiot," He snarled, his voice little more than a rumble in his chest. "You are GOING to marry April. Who wouldn't want to marry her? Just look at her." Letting go with one hand Raph gestured wildly to the confounded young woman standing barefoot in the courtyard. "GO ON LOOK AT HER. She's perfect. Now get your butt over there and ask for her hand in freaking marriage before I kick it over there."
"Hey don't I get a say in this?"
April propped both hand on her hips and glared at Raph. Stomping over to the pair she smacked at his fists until they finally relinquished their iron grip. The second he was free Prince Casey scrambled backwards, side eyeing Raph as he did so. The dude was clearly unbalanced.
"Look princess," Raph sighed in exasperation. This was turning into the longest night ever. "You're confused. Just let me take care of it and you'll get your happily ever after okay?"
"By what, making me marry some guy I don't even know? You're crazy." April threw up her hands, equally done with the turtle in front of her. Clearly he wasn't going to get the message unless she spelled it out to him.
In giant block letters.
That were on fire.
Grabbing him by the front of his dress April slammed her face up against Rap's with as much enthusiasm as she could muster. Not giving him the chance to pull away she locked her arms around his neck, firmly anchoring him in place.
Not that Raph was struggling.
On the contrary the poor guy stood frozen, trying as best he could to process the new situation. April had kissed him. All by herself. She'd just…just…kissed him. She was still kissing him. APRIL WAS KISSING HIM.
Like a man possessed, Raph arms decided they'd had enough of this passive nonsense and wrapped their way around April's tiny waist. Sensing that her partner was no longer an unwilling participant Raph could feel April's lips curve into a smile against his. There was a large poof of purple smoke but neither Raph nor April seemed to notice.
Finally, due to the necessity of oxygen, April pulled back, though she kept her arms twined around his neck.
"Now do you get it?" April said, panting.
Glancing down at his hand Raph frowned slightly. They were still big and green. He hadn't turned into a handsome prince. Not that he'd wanted to but it was the principle of thing.
"Sorry princess but I didn't turn into Prince Charming for you," replied Raph.
April giggled and gestured to his outfit.
"I wouldn't be so sure."
Following April's gaze Raph's jaw dropped. In place of his normal fairy godparent uniform was a deep maroon ball gown. The ruffled skirt was so wide that even April's legs were lost among the many folds of fabric. It was really a lovely dress. Except for the fact that Raph was the one wearing it.
"Looks like I'm not the princess around here." April smirked. "Which is good because I hated that nickname anyways."
"We'll see about that."
With a smirk of his own Raph grabbed April's face in his own massive hands, this time pulling her forwards into a kiss. It wasn't as long as the first, barely a peck, but it left Raph's outer extremities tingling in a rather pleasant manner.
His dress, unfortunately, remained unchanged. If fact it looked like it had gained another few bows just to spite him.
"You have got to be kidding me." Raph growled.
Stupid freaking magic.
"Maybe third time's the charm." April said coyly and drew his in for another kiss.
Unlike the last two, this time the touch of April's lips was soft and gentle. There was no trace of the aggressive frustration of the first or the smug satisfaction of the second. From deep within Raph's stomach it felt like a thousand pixies had taken up ninja training all at once. The tingling that had before only been in his hands had migrated outwards turning his entire body into a quaking mess.
It almost made up for the fact he was in a ball gown.
As Raph opened his eyes the last of the purple smoke dissipated from view. With any luck everything would be as it was supposed to. If he was really lucky maybe April would be wearing the red dress. She'd look really good in red.
Glancing down once more Raph groaned. While his gown remained stubbornly fixed in place April's pajamas had morphed into a heavy brocade coat, white shirt, and tights. Atop her head was a massive crown and a golden sword hung from her belt.
Clearly the universe had one messed up sense of humor.
"We're gonna keep doing this until we get it right." Raph muttered darkly, refusing to release his gentle grip on her face.
Tilting her head to the side, April regarded Raph with a contemplative expression.
"I think I'm okay with that."
"You're funeral." Raph replied with a shrug, and picked up where he'd left off.
Raph and April were so engrossed with their new favorite activity, that they completely forgot that they still had an audience.
"Dude," Mikey muttered, staring in awe. "How do they even breathe?"
Throwing his hands in the air Prince Casey turned and walked off. With any luck there'd still be some food left by the time he got back.
"I'm out." He muttered, shaking his head. This was ridiculous. All he'd wanted was to have a rocking party and where had it gotten him? Standing outside in the cold watching a crazy girl and a turtle in a dress make out. Seriously next time Casey Jones was definitely making a more selective guest list.
"Come on Leo," Karai had Leo by the collar and was dragging him away. "You owe me a dance."
Judging by the glint in her eye Karai had other, more active, plans for the blue masked turtle. Not that Leo seemed to mind as followed the girl meekly, only pausing to give his brother a glare of consternation as he melted into the darkness.
Donnie on the other hand was completely shocked. Since the moment April had grabbed Raph his jaw had taken up permanent residence on the courtyard dirt.
"Raph?" He stammered, his voice rising hysterically at the end. "She chose RAPH?"
"Bro, the heart wants what the heart wants." Mikey replied sagely, as if he'd known all along.
"Come on," Mikey laid a hand on Donnie's shell, leading the dazed turtle away from the oblivious couple. "Let's get you back to the castle. There are plenty of hunnies left to choose from."
"I know, I know."
Neither Raph nor April noticed as their less then appreciative audience left, finally giving them some privacy.
"Hey," said Raph, laying his forehead against April's as he tried to regain his breath. "Why did you chose me anyways?"
Though she too was breathing hard, April managed a tiny smirk
"I think it was the wings."
"Well you know what they say about a turtle's wingspan…" Raph wiggled his eyebrow ridge in a suggestive manner causing April to cackle wickedly in response.
"Shut up and kiss me you dork."