Author's Notes: I am in the middle of a fanfiction dump that started around the middle of December, in which I am just dumping a lot of projects that have been sitting in my computer. This is part of it and the last fanfiction post I am making of 2017. Happy New Years everyone!
When Leo Met Mona 4
"My brothers want to see you again."
Mona Lisa paused at the sink as she cleaned dishes. She didn't answer right away.
"You don't have to agree to it," Leonardo continued. "I just wanted to let you know that there is an open invitation to come to my home if you want to take it sometime."
She went back to scrubbing before setting the newly cleaned plates in the rack to dry.
"My sensei would like to see you, too."
At that statement, Mona Lisa turned from her task. She knelt down across from Leonardo where he sat on the floor. "What did you tell him about me?"
He smiled. "Only good things."
Mona Lisa did not return the grin. "Leo." Her gaze remained fixed on him, patiently waiting for a full answer to her question. Leonardo had done this to her several times to get information. She had learned his ways and was now turning them against him.
"I told him how we met. I told him we've been friends ever since."
"What is your relationship with her?" were the exact words Splinter had asked.
Kneeling before his master, Leonardo neutrally said, "She is my friend."
Splinter watched him silently, eternally patient. Leonardo had learned this same trick from his master, but whenever Splinter stared at him expectantly like that, the truth always fell unbidden from the turtle's mouth.
"She is my very dear friend," he clarified softly, cheeks warm.
Splinter smiled knowingly. "I see. Then we will all take care to receive her better the next time." He raised his head, looking past the oldest to the doorway. "Won't we?"
Leonardo glanced behind him as he heard shuffling from other turtle bodies scrambling away, pretending they weren't eavesdropping on the conversation.
"I see," Mona Lisa responded. She pulled her feet out from under her, fiddling with her loose hair as her gaze wandered off in thought. Leonardo's sensei asked to see her. The one time she had been down to the lair, the old rat hardly glanced her way, too concerned about his son's whereabouts for anything else. Her entire experience in the lair had not been pleasant. She did not look forward to doing it again.
"Mona Lisa," Leonardo said quietly, ducking to try to catch her gaze. "Do you want to come formally meet my family? This time, I'll be there with you."
She let out a long breath. "Can I ask you why you never told them about me?"
He blinked at her, unprepared for that question. He had to think about it for a moment. It was difficult to find the best words to explain. "I wasn't sure how or when would be the best way to do it. I've never done this before. I've never... kept a secret from my family before."
Mona Lisa brushed some hair from her face and scooted closer. "So why did you?"
He looked at her for several moments, his brow furrowed. "I worry you'll get angry with me if I tell you the truth."
"I make no promises. Now be a man and spit it out."
Leonardo huffed out a depreciating laugh. "I honestly wasn't sure if you were ready for them. They are a lot to handle all at once—as you saw. They're crass and they're loud. And I knew eventually one of them was going to say something that would upset you. And I know they did when I wasn't there. I didn't want that to happen to you."
"Are you saying you were protecting me from them?"
"In a way." He quickly added, "I know you are so strong and independent. I know you can hold your own when anyone, including my brothers, says something disrespectful to you. But it doesn't mean I will willingly let that happen to you."
Mona Lisa was not mad, but that did give her something to think about. "When do you want me to come over?"
April trudged through the sewer in an irritated mood. New Years Eve in New York City. She could be anywhere doing anything on this night of nights, but no. She had stupidly agreed to chaperon a group of giant mutant turtles who didn't know how to behave themselves in front of new people.
The fact that there was a new person in question, however, did intrigue her. April had been very surprised when it was Leonardo and not any one of the other brothers who called her, asking if she would be present to this party in order to encourage his brothers to behave themselves. Also, so that this mystery friend of his would see another human woman and feel like she wasn't so outnumbered at this party. The only reason April agreed to come was because in truth she was dying to know about this other person and get in on the family gossip. Even if it came at the cost of spending one New Years Eve in the sewers.
"April! Babe!" came the boisterous greeting of Michelangelo as she stepped into the lair. "Glad you could make it. I saved you a spot right here when the ball drops." He pointed to his mouth.
"Hey," she replied casually, completely immune to the orange-clad turtle's flirting.
Donatello walked in right then. "Hi April. Nice new coat."
"Oh, thanks for noticing. I got it for Christmas."
"I see you brought booze."
April looked down at the two cases she carried. "Oh, yeah, yeah. Take them, please. I had to haul it all the way down here. No way I'm doing this sober tonight."
"I hear that," Michelangelo said.
Each turtle took a case from her and she shook out her sore fingers.
"You could have called one of us to help carry them down," the purple-clad turtle added.
She smiled. Donatello was always so sweet. "Thanks. I'll do that next time." She paused then said, "So is Leonardo's … friend here yet?"
"Not yet. He went to go get her. They should be back any minute. They're bringing food, too."
"Okay..." She tossed her new coat on a chair and then started tapping her foot. April was very bad at waiting. She idly entertained the thought of starting the drinking now when Raphael entered the main area.
"Hey April, how's it going?"
She smirked at him knowingly. "Fine." She kept giving him that look.
"What?" he demanded.
"You know that guy I dated the other night?"
"The douche who threw a fit because I wouldn't invite him up to my place? Who called me a bitch and a cocktease."
"Did you know his car got trashed last night?"
Raphael looked away, chewing on a toothpick in satisfaction. "Nah, I don't know nothing about that."
"But you did know I went on a date, despite the fact that I never told a single one of you guys about it."
Raphael said nothing. He didn't look sorry.
April smirked back at him. She couldn't bring herself to condone the act of vandalism, or the spying, but she appreciated knowing they were out there, showing they cared about her in their own brash and awkward ways.
"Oh, hey, everyone's here," came a familiar voice behind her. April turned to see Leonardo step inside, with an impressive pile of pizza boxes. Behind him, a human girl with grocery bags in her arms. "Thanks for coming, April."
"Yes! Pizza!" Michelangelo cheered, immediately taking the boxes from his brother. "Pizza, pizza, pizza!" He paused and inspected the bag still hanging from Leonardo's wrist that contained various packages of cookies and one bag of chips.
"Aw, just one bag of Doritos?"
The new woman held up her grocery bags, stuffed full of Doritos. "More like one bag for each."
"Oh my God, marry me!"
Leonardo made a dismissive motion to his brother and Michelangelo moved on to put the pizzas on the table. April followed him and retrieved one of the bottled beers she brought. She popped the lid off on the edge of the worn table in one motion.
"April," Leonardo introduced, "this is my friend Mona Lisa. Mona, this is April O'Neil."
April just nodded as she took a long pull of her drink.
Mona Lisa nodded politely. She knew the turtles had another female friend, but she wasn't prepared to meet this tall, leggy redhead that looked like she walked right out of a fashion magazine. She self-consciously tucked some hair behind her ear, wishing she had done something more with it.
"Hi, April. It's nice to meet you."
"Is Mona Lisa really your name?"
"Yes. I'm afraid so."
At that point, Splinter chose to make his entrance. "Ah, so glad to see everyone arrived here safely."
April just nodded to him and took another drink.
Splinter walked up to Mona Lisa and extended a bony hand to her. She hesitated slightly before taking it. Splinter placed the second hand on top of hers. "We are so happy to have you here. Leonardo speaks highly of you. I am sorry we were not better prepared for visitors the first time you came down."
Mona Lisa just smiled and nodded shyly in response.
"Come, my child. Come sit on the couch and tell me about yourself."
April watched them go with Leonardo following after. Michelangelo came up to her, a slice of pizza and each hand.
"So, the sweet, timid doe-eyed girl is Leo's type, huh?" she commented to him.
"She told Raph to fuck off."
April snorted. "Really? Maybe she's got a little bite to her after all. Where'd Leo find her?"
Michelangelo chewed noisily on his pizza. "Dunno. He doesn't really talk about it." They both watched the scene on the couch for a bit as Splinter continued to speak to their new guest. "You think she and Leo are doing it?"
April snorted loudly. "Ha, I doubt it. Any one of you guys would completely wreck a normal woman. If even an attempt was made, that girl wouldn't be walking straight."
Michelangelo took his turn to snort. "That's why I love you. You tell it like it is."
She raised her bottle in a mock toast and took another swig.
"Oh, hey, Leo's girlfriend is here," Raphael said as he came into the kitchen area. The guys were always wandering in and out of the rooms, April noticed, no matter if there were guests or not. They said they were turtles, but they were more like sharks, unable to stop moving, as if being in one place too long would cut off their air.
The red-clad turtle took a slice of pizza from the top box and wandered again, this time into the living room. The conversation on the couch halted when he approached. His gaze was directly on Mona Lisa and he could tell she was struggling not to be intimidated by his presence.
"Hey, um... glad you could come tonight," he said awkwardly.
"Uh... thanks," came the equally uncomfortable reply.
There was a span of silence. Splinter cleared his voice expectantly as he looked at his largest son.
Raphael sighed. "So, listen. The last time we met, you were right. I was being an asshole. I'm sorry for the things I said. You didn't deserve it."
"Me, too," Michelangelo chimed in. "We didn't mean to make you feel bad. Can we have a do over?"
Mona Lisa sat up straight and looked Raphael in the eyes. For some reason, his cheeks began to feel a bit warm at her stare. Her eyelashes were so thick making her eyes look bigger. "That's fine. Apology accepted." She added with a narrowing of her eyes. "Don't do it again."
Raphael was taken aback at the sudden order. Leonardo looked exceptionally proud. Instead of getting mad, Raphael snorted with a smirk and went back to the kitchen to get himself a beer. The others on the couch soon followed after and everyone dug into the food as the fourth brother walked back in, a random contraption in his hand as he fiddled with it.
The purple-clad turtle looked up at his name as saw Mona Lisa smiling at him. "Oh, hey. Hi."
"It's good to see you." She moved in to hug him.
Donatello stiffened, unused to the motion. "Oh? Oh, is this happening?"
She pulled back. "Do you not want it to?"
"No, no. I want it."
She grinned. "Good." And hugged him as best she could around his wide torso. He patted her back awkwardly, which only endeared him to her more.
"Why does Donnie get all the sugar?" Michelangelo whispered in protest.
"So Mona, what is it you do?" April then asked as they all munched on food together, standing around the table.
Mona Lisa took a moment to finish what she had in her mouth before replying. "I've been waitressing. A couple different places actually. Although-" she paused and glanced at Leonardo. "I forgot to tell you, I have a job interview next Monday for a fancy genetics research lab." At Donatello's wide-mouthed expression she added with a grin, "To answer the phones, Donatello. They're looking for a secretary."
"Oh, yes. Of course."
"Is it a good job?" Leonardo asked.
"It sounds good. The pay sounds really good, actually. I might not have to work three jobs any more."
"You work three different waitressing jobs?" April asked, impressed. "Damn."
"No one wants to hire full time. I have one for days, one for nights, and one for weekends. But this job is full time. Benefits, health care, it's all included. I can finally go to the dentist."
April saluted her, going on her second beer.
"How did you get this interview?" Leonardo asked. He honestly had no idea how getting jobs worked in the human world. Especially finding one that sounded this good.
"I guess the owner is a semi-regular at one of the places I work. He heard me answering phones and gave me his card, said he was looking for a new secretary. Not that the job's in the bag yet, but he asked me to apply so I have a good chance of getting it." She smiled at Leonardo. "I might get more nights off than just one a week."
"Ooh, la la, yeah. Free nights for a sexy hook up," Michelangelo intoned.
Raphael slapped the back of his head. "Don't you have a filter?"
At Leonardo's stern look, the orange-clad turtle muttered a quick apology.
"The trick is to tune Mikey out," April counseled. "Being down here is much easier that way. All I hear is just white noise when he talks."
"Aw, girl. Don't do me that way."
"See? Just noise."
Mona Lisa grinned.
After eating, the group gathered in the living room to play games. April had brought several board and card games when she first met them so they would have something to do together while she got to know them better. Uno was, surprisingly, a favorite game of all four turtles and the entire group sat in a circle on the floor and played it well into the night.
"Aw, shit, Raph, your number's up boy!" Michelangelo announced as he played a yellow Draw Two over a yellow six card.
"Yeah, hurry and draw two Raphael so I can win," Mona Lisa grinned at him, only one card left in her hand. The boys were very lively and competitive about their card games. Lots of shit talk was going around and Mona Lisa was having a blast with it.
Raphael grinned evilly at her. "Not so fast, brown eyes, bam!" He slapped down a blue Draw Two card, bringing the total to four cards. "You can suck my dick." The second it came out of his mouth, he wished he could take it back. He was used to shit-talking his brothers. Sensei and Leo both were going to beat his ass for forgetting his manners at their guest.
"You can suck MY dick, you giant hippo!" Mona Lisa instantly retorted. "And lick my balls!" She slapped down a Plus Four Wild Card and raised her empty palms. "I win."
"Hippo?!" Raphael demanded.
"Oooooh!" Michelangelo and April jeered together.
Back at the table, Leonardo and Donatello had sat out that hand as they munched on what food remained.
"She seems to be fitting right in, it just took a little time," the purple-clad turtle said.
Leonardo made a sound of agreement as he chewed.
Donatello was suddenly reminded of a question he meant to ask Leonardo at an earlier time, but never got around to. "Is she... okay?"
"What do you mean?"
"The last time she was here, I got the impression she may have... I guess... been through something. I'm no expert, but she seemed to be expressing some symptoms of PTSD when the guys upset her."
Leonardo frowned, his gaze now more of a glare.
"Not that they did anything to her," Donatello floundered to retract his accusation. "I think just their brashness combined with the stress of the evening wore her down. It's not like-"
"You're right," the blue-clad turtle confirmed. "Something did happen to her. Something bad."
"What happened?"Donatello asked softly.
Leonardo sighed. "I don't know. She's never told me about it."
"I see." He paused. "You never tried to ask?"
"We don't really nose into each others' business."
"Then what do you two talk about?"
"Just the little things. We watch a lot of movies."
"Dudes! Dudes! It's almost midnight!" Michelangelo announced to the entire lair as he jumped to his feet. "Quick! Turn on the TV!"
All stray members wandered back into the living room, scrambling to fill various cups with whatever drinks suited them. The Times Square Ball was already dropping on the screen, the crowd counting down the seconds. Entire group joined in.
"Five! Four! Three! Two! One! Happy New Year!"
Noise-makers and confetti-poppers came out of nowhere, as well as many loud bellows. Mona Lisa covered her ears from the explosion of sound. There was multicolored streamers and confetti all over her hair and in her drink. But she seemed to still be enjoying herself.
Michelangelo immediately turned to April, fully expecting a New Year's kiss. She waved him away, completely focused on Leonardo and the new member of this group. What would the two of them do in response to this holiday tradition? Following April's gaze, she soon wasn't the only one eyeing them to see what would happen.
The two in question seemed very aware curious eyes were upon them. Leonardo feigned nonchalance, pretending he had no expectation whatsoever. Mona Lisa was a bit more obviously fidgety. She hesitated a few times, glancing around, then quickly reached up and gave Leonardo a peck on the side of his face, fast as a snake's strike.
On the other side of her stood an oblivious Donatello. He had no idea what was coming before Mona Lisa placed a hand on the far side of his face. She turned his chin towards him and gave him a much longer kiss to his cheek. Or as least as high up as she could reach on the tall turtle. Donatello just stood there, wide-eyed. When she let him go, his glasses were fogged a bit and he wandered off in a daze, Mona Lisa grinning after him.
Eventually, the party began to wind down. April, despite her previous hopes to leave the party early and catch some of the topside festivities, had passed out on the couch and would not be woken for anything. The boys had draped a few blankets on her and let her sleep.
Leonardo returned his Christmas scarf around his neck and escorted Mona Lisa out of the lair to take her home. The two were allowed to leave by themselves and Leonardo was silently grateful no one else offered to accompany them. He enjoyed the party, but it was nice to have some quiet time after. The two walked companionably together in the darkness until their hands found each other.
Upon reached Mona Lisa's apartment building, she went in first, as usual, and then let Leonardo in through the roof entrance before secreting him into her studio apartment. Once he was inside, Mona Lisa closed the door and leaned her back against it with a long breath.
"Woo! That was quite a night."
"Did you have fun?" Leonardo asked.
She grinned. "I did. And I have to say, your family is starting to grow on me."
A mixture of relief and gratitude showed on the turtle's face. "I'm glad. They really do mean well. If you ever need anything, they will be there for you."
Her smile softened. "I'm glad you have them."
"I have you, too."
She made a sound of agreement as she crossed the space between them. "You plan on staying for a while?"
Leonardo watched her with a bemused expression as she stepped into his personal space, her fingertips lightly touching his chest. Her face was a little flushed from the alcohol she consumed that night. "I will if you want me to."
She moved closer, pressing against him. "I'd like that."
His hands landed on her shoulders, slowly rubbing down her back. Leonardo would have liked to focus on this moment and how close she was, but Donatello's earlier questions kept niggling at his thoughts.
"So, I was thinking..."
"Hm?" she asked as she looked up at him with hooded eyes.
"We've never let conversations get too personal, you know that?"
She smirked. "You want to ask me questions. Is that how it is now?" Mona Lisa turned from him, pulling her hair up into a sloppy bun. "This calls for pajamas, then."
The side of Leonardo's mouth ticked up as he watched her fish through clothes on the floor. He half expected her to get irritated for him for suggesting it. After all, it had been an unspoken rule between them to never dig too deep in each other's lives, merely skim the surface. But Mona Lisa never did get angry with him for speaking his mind or being frank with her. He appreciated that about her.
"You can ask me questions, too," he insisted.
"A trade off, then." Mona Lisa kicked off her jeans and slipped on a pair of flannel pants. She plopped herself on her floor mattress and Leonardo sat nearby, leaning against the wall. "Can I go first?"
"If you'd like."
"Fine. Where do you come from?"
He blinked at her for a moment. She didn't even have to think about what question she wanted to ask.
"Wow, we really haven't talked about much, have we?"
"No. We just kind of... accepted each other as is. I mean, I knew you had a family. I knew you had to keep yourselves hidden. I knew you trained in martial arts. I don't know WHY you trained in martial arts. That's about it."
"I didn't even think about it. Huh." Leonardo looked at the ceiling thoughtfully, well aware Mona Lisa's intense gaze was on him, trying to will him into answering. He looked back at her. "The most satisfactory answer is to say we came from a lab."
Mona Lisa leaned back on her hands, blowing a few stray strands of hair from her face. "I guessed it would be something like that. It was either that or aliens. The science project sounded more plausible to me." She paused. "So, this project, was it successful or unsuccessful?"
He shrugged. "I guess that depends on your perspective. We weren't the desired result, if that's what you're asking."
Mona Lisa leaned closer, clearing intrigued. "Wh... Can I ask... what are you? Or, what were you before the experiment? Human? Turtle? Were you even anything?"
"I was a turtle, as were my brothers. Just regular little box turtles." This time, Leonardo paused. "Does that... change anything?"
"Of course not. Knowing something new about you doesn't change who you are to me. Honestly, none of this surprises me. No matter where you came from, you're still my big, caring turtle boyfriend." Mona Lisa's eyes immediately widened at her slip and slapped a hand over her mouth.
Leonardo raised a brow in intrigue. "Boyfriend?"
She covered her face with her hands as her face burned. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean for it to come out that way." Embarrassingly, she had been amusingly referring to Leonardo as her 'turtle boyfriend' in her head since Christmas. She just never planned on saying that out loud.
With a smirk, Leonardo let her stew in that for a moment before speaking. "I guess that's one of the things we should have talked about when we were busy trying not to talk about things." He then added. "I don't mind the title of 'turtle boyfriend' unless you're using it to differentiate between me and your other boyfriends."
Mona Lisa snorted in her hands and then look up at him. She was still trying to process that Leonardo was accepting the boyfriend thing when he grabbed her wrist and gently tugged her closer.
"Your face is really red."
"It's really hot in here all of a sudden," she replied, fanning herself. Why was blood still rushing to her face like this? Having a boyfriend wasn't that big a deal, was it? Even if it was of the turtle variety. She was the one who started it, now why was her heart racing in a sudden panic?
"Are you okay?" Leonardo asked. Her embarrassment seemed to have changed into a kind of distress.
"I-I don't know." She pulled away, tugging at her collar to try to cool her temperature a little. "I know I'm acting dumb. I guess I'm not used to dealing with relationships."
Leonardo leaned back to give her space. "Hey, it's just me. And honestly, I kind of felt this relationship was already going in this direction before we attempted to put a name to it."
She made a name noise of agreement and then took a few more deep breaths. Soon, her heart began to settle and her face didn't feel quite so hot. Leonardo was happy to see her calm down, but her reaction brought up old questions he still wanted answered.
Mona Lisa seemed to read his mind. "Your turn to ask questions?"
A part of him didn't want to bring it up now, but he didn't know when else there would be a chance like this. The words tumbled out of his mouth. "I know something happened to you. Something that I see haunts you every now and then. Can I... is there anything I can do to help you with it?"
Mona Lisa blinked at him in surprise. The "what happened to you?" she thought she was going to get changed into a "can I help you?" That alone touched her heart. He was still giving her a way out. She didn't have to tell him all the details, just confirm if she felt safe or not. But she couldn't do that to him. She owed him more than that.
Leonardo watched her carefully as she pulled her sweater over her head. Though she had changed clothes with him in the room multiple times, she had always turned from him before. She sat before him in PJ pants and a pale blue bra. A long scar ran visibly between her breasts down to her navel.
"I was seventeen and I was walking home from work late at night. A man I had never met before pushed me into an alley. He held a knife to my neck and told me he would kill me if I screamed. I remember being told before if anything like this were to happen, to not fight back. That it wasn't worth risking my life. So I let him do what he wanted."
She paused and gave Leonardo's concerned face a mirthless smile. Then she glanced away. "But when it started, I hated myself. I hated the fact that I gave up so easily. I struggled and he hit my head against the wall or... the ground? I'm not sure, I don't remember it very well. When I came back into consciousness, he was nearly finished with me. Then he sliced me and said 'I own you. You will never forget me.'"
Leonardo looked like he wanted to say something, but Mona Lisa wasn't finished.
"He was right, I never forgot him. Every time I looked in a mirror, there he was. He gave me a reminder that I was not done fighting. I was at that police precinct every single day until they stopped sitting on their goddamn backlogs of rape kits and processed mine. I called countless other precincts in this state and others and found other victims of the same MO. Once the police were finally on his tail, they caught him fast. I was the only one of his victims who wasn't too scared to testify in court. He sat less than ten feet away from me, staring and grinning like he still owned me. But I looked him in the face as I testified and that grin quickly disappeared. When they took him away, I said to him 'I own you now.'
"That man died a violent death in prison only two months later and I haven't lost a wink of sleep over it since." She paused to look the turtle in the face as she touched the scar on her chest. "This thing he left me was a reminder, Leonardo, of how much I hated myself at that moment when I chose not to fight back. If it ever happens again, they are going to get more hell than they ever bargained for. And maybe they'll still beat me, but they will fucking remember me."
Leonardo listened to it all with a neutral mask while his emotions churned inward. He went through terror, anger, surprise, and even a bit of pride. When her story was over, Mona Lisa was shaking and breathing hard.
"I've never told anyone that before," she admitted.
Leonardo leaned forward, grasping her arms and gently but firmly pulled her against him. He could still feel her trembling and she offered slight resistance to being coddled. He pressed a kiss to her forehead and she quit her half-hearted attempts to avoid his affections. Leonardo pulled her in as she sank against his chest.
"If anyone ever hurts you," Leonardo said in the stillness, "I will finish whatever you leave behind."
She snorted softly in amusement. "Knowing you would murder and hide bodies for me makes me kind of happy."
Leonardo chuckled deep in his chest. Mona Lisa enjoyed the low tones with her ear pressed to his plastron. He pulled his legs up around her. The turtle's whole body dwarfed her, enfolded her, making her feel so safe as his rough fingertips ran over her back and arms.
"That's probably enough questions for tonight."
Mona Lisa made a soft sound against his chest. "Agreed. But there is definitely going to be more questions at a later time. You have opened the flood gates. No topic is now safe."
He chuckled again. "I think I prefer it that way."