NOTE: There will probably be grammar mistakes that I will fix later.

New York

Present Day

From inside her large tank, a Komodo dragon eyeballed a mouse that was being taken out of a box.

A muscular Caucasian man wearing a black leather jacket with an embroidered dragon on the back, black military boots, and blonde highlights in his spiky black hair dangled the mouse by its tail over the tank.

He smiled down at his beloved pet Komodo. "Is my baby girl hungry for some mice?" he cooed. "Are ya?" He turned to Baxter Stockman, who sat at a desk. "So I take it that your invention was a success, Mr. Stockman?"

Baxter cleared his throat and straightened his tie. "Well, Mr. Hun, I haven't sold them to the public yet, but my marketing staff has projected some really good profit-"

"Excellent," Hun said. "Then you should be able to pay for next month's protection by this Saturday."

"Of-Of course, Mr. Hun," Baxter chuckled nervously. "You know me. I never miss a payment."

"Of course you don't," Hun chuckled darkly as he lowered the mouse into the tank. "'Cause you know what happens to those who can't afford my protection." He dropped the mouse and the Komodo caught it in her mouth, gobbling it up.

Baxter gulped in fear and nodded. "Precisely, and that's why you're the King of New York."

"Got that right," Hun walked over to his desk and sat down across from Baxter. "But, unfortunately, the prince wants nothing to do with this empire." He sighed and he leaned back in his chair. "But he's still only a teenager. When he's old enough, he'll come to see that-"

The intercom on his desk suddenly beeped and he pressed the button to answer it. "What is it?" he gruffly asked.

Sir, Blake's come back, a male voice spoke to him, and he has a broken arm. Somebody jumped him and his pals.

Hun's eyes widened. "'Jumped'? Alright, send him in." He pointed his finger at Baxter. "And you are dismissed."

Baxter wasted no time in getting out of his chair and running to the door. "I'll have the money for you by Saturday, Mr. Hun!" he said as he hurried out of the office.

About a minute later, the Purple Dragon who had his arm broken by Leo earlier staggered in while clutching his limp limb. "M-Mr. Hun, s-s-sir," he stammered. "I-"

Hun held up a hand to silence him, but he spoke in a calm voice, "Son, relax. You're not in any trouble. These things happen." He motioned for the boy to sit down, which he did. "Just tell me who did this to you."

The boy took a deep breath. "Well, they were wearing these...these trench coats and these...fedora hats or something. But they had these really freaky hands, green and only three fingers and-and scaly like a lizard's. I...I don't think they were even human, sir."

"Hmmm," Hun tapped his fingers on the desk as he tried to comprehend all of this. "And you don't know which gang they were affiliated with?"

"No, sir."

"It doesn't matter. Whoever these bubs were, we'll teach 'em the next time they show their ugly mugs in town."

...

Mikey's face was covered in strawberry ice cream as he quickly devoured it before it would melt. He found it among the groceries that April had dropped back in the subway and couldn't let it go to waste. He turned to Donnie, who sat at the kitchen table taking apart the Mouser and studying its components. "Want some, Don?" he asked his brother.

Donnie looked at him disgusted. "No thanks. I just lost my appetite."

Meanwhile, Splinter was busy chewing Leo out while Raph looked on in satisfaction. It wasn't very often that the Golden Boy would get into trouble.

"How did this happen, Leonardo?!" the rat demanded.

Leo kept his head bowed the entire time he was being scolded. "Master, forgive me, but we had to save this girl from those Purple Dragons. If we hadn't moved in when we did..." He shivered at the thought. "...it would've been too late for her."

Splinter closed his eyes and sighed as he rubbed his temples. "I understand, son. But even so, why did you bring her here instead of dropping her off at a hospital?"

"The hospital was too far way, and well...we panicked."

Splinter growled softly and shook his head in disapproval. "Indeed."

Raph looked back at the couch where April lay, and she was still unconscious. He slowly and quietly approached her and knelt down to her level to get a good look at her face. His eyes went wide when he realized that this was the same girl he rescued back at the pizza parlor. She had kept his sai with her the entire time.

In all his years of living in New York (which was his whole life, actually), he had never seen a girl as beautiful as this one. Being very careful not to wake her, he lightly touched her cheek with his fingertips. Her skin was so smooth and so soft, absolutely perfect. Her red hair was gorgeous and shined under the ceiling lights. And her small lips...

Without realizing what he was doing, he leaned in to kiss her...

...just as her eyes fluttered open. They became as big as saucers when she saw his face inches from hers.

She screamed at the top of her lungs and kicked him in the plastron. He grunted in pain and fell onto his shell.

Everyone else whipped their heads around at the scream and a startled Mikey almost dropped the tub of ice cream.

As April hid behind the couch hyperventilating, Raph stood back up and tried to calm her down. "Hey, hey, it's okay. We're-We're the good guys."

"Who are you?!" April yelled, her eyes wide with fear. "What are you?!"

"There is nothing to fear, young lady," Splinter cautiously approached her. "We mean you no-"

"AAAHHHHH!" April screamed again at the sight of Splinter and ran to the black pine tree. Using the survival skills that she learned at summer camp, she climbed to the lowest branch, which was still pretty high, and latched onto it. "You-You-You all stay away from me!" she shouted to the Turtles below.

Mikey looked up at the tree and chuckled. "So is she a human or a cat?"

"This isn't the time for jokes, Mikey," Leo scolded him, then he said loudly to April, "Miss, please come down! We won't hurt you!"

April shook her head. "No way! You're not eating my flesh! Not today!"

The brothers looked at each other for a moment before they all burst into laughter. April looked down at them confused.

"Eat you?!" Mikey laughed. "No way! I only eat pizza! And ice cream!" He held up the empty tub for April to see. "By the way, I hope you don't mind, but I helped myself to your ice cream before it melted!"

"Although meat is part of our daily diet," Donnie spoke up, "I assure you that that doesn't include human meat."

"Ma'am, you might not remember, but we saved you from the Purple Dragons," Leo reminded her.

April blinked and suddenly remembered that they indeed saved her life in the subway.

A bashful Raph stepped closer to the tree and rubbed the back of his neck. "Um, Miss? I just, uh, wanted to thank you for holding onto my sai. It means a lot to me."

"Your...?" She let out a soft gasp as she looked at him. Those red joggers, the lost sai, those green eyes. It was him.

He lifted his arms and gestured for her to come down. "Come on. I'll catch you."

She finally knew that she could trust these strangers. After all, they saved her life, twice. She jumped off the branch and right into Raph's arms, and though the Turtle stumbled once he caught her, he quickly regained his balance and held her.

They stared at each for a moment in awkward silence, before Raph cleared his throat and smiled shyly at her. "Um, hi."

April didn't smile back. "Hi," she said uneasily. "Um, could you put me down now?"

"Huh? Oh! Oh, sorry!" He mentally slapped himself as he put her down. He had just met a girl and he was already embrassing himself.

Mikey stood close to April, too close for her own comforf, and he smiled real big, his face still covered with ice cream. "Hi! My name is Michelangelo, or Mikey for short!" He took her hand and eagerly shook her hand, his speech starting to speed up as a sugar rush began to take over. "Hey guess what? You're the first human I've ever shaken hands with! I think it's really cool that we're shaking hands! I've never dreamt of shaking hands with a real-!"

"Mikey!" Donnie grabbed his shoulders and pulled him away from her. "Geez, take a breather. You're making this really weird for her." He shook hands with April and smiled politely at her. "Hello, my name is Donatello, but you can call me Donnie." He then pulled out a pair of tweezers. "Would you mind if I took a hair sample?"

"What?" April pulled away from him, feeling very disturbed.

"From where?" Mikey joked then giggled madly.

Raph looked at him unamused. "Mikey, grow up."

"Forgive Donnie," Leo said to April. "He lacks social skills because he doesn't come out his lab much." He bowed to the girl in respect. "My name is Leonardo, or if you prefer, you can call me Leo instead."

Mikey pulled Raph close and pointed to him. "And you've already met Raph!" he told April.

Raph chuckled nervously as he looked at her. "That's my nickname. I'm Raphael."

"All the best ones end in 'O'!" Mikey laughed, earning a slap on the back of the head from his older brother.

Splinter walked up to the group and the Turtles immediately dispersed, bowing their heads to their master. "And I am Splinter, their teacher and adoptive father," he said as he bowed to her.

April looked around at these strange creatures. Was this really happening? "Um...I-I'm April. April O'Neil. Nice to meet you all."

The rat smiled warmly at her. "I can see that this is all so very strange to you and that you have many questions."

April nodded. "At least one question, that's for sure."

Splinter turned to his students. "Boys, you may return to your rooms."

"Hai, Sensei," Leo said as he bowed to him again, then he went upstairs with his brothers following close behind. Raph was the last to leave and he stopped for a brief moment to look back at April. He smiled at her and gave her a goodbye nod before he proceeded up to his room.

"Come," Splinter walked with her to the kitchen table. "Sit, and I will explain everything to you."

April sat down in a chair and saw the disassembled Mouser on the table. She could see some blood on its jaws and shivered.

Splinter placed a small cup in front of her and poured her some warm tea. "Drink this. It is a herbal tea from my homeworld. It will sooth your nerves."

She hesitantly took the cup and placed it to her lips, taking in the liquid. It actually tasted pretty good. "Hmmm, this is...wait. Did you say 'homeworld'?"

Splinter nodded as he sat down next to her. "I did."

"So are you guys, like, aliens or something?"

"We are foreigners, yes. But we are not from the stars. We are from what you would call 'an alternate dimension'."

April chuckled in disbelief. "An alternate dimension? Are you serious?"

"I was born in a world where animals, not humans, were the dominant species of the planet. In fact, humans did not even exist. I was the servant and student of a great shadow warrior in Japan named Hamato Yoshi, the father of the Turtles. They were only eggs when my Master Yoshi was killed by a powerful and dangerous assassin, so in desperation, I fled with them to this strange new world sixteen years ago. Although we were safe from the assassin's wrath, I knew that we would not be accepted by mankind, so I made the sewers my new home and raised the Turtles in secrecy, training them in the ninja arts so that they could fight and defend themselves against any enemy."

"Hold on, if you really are Japanese, then how come you gave them Italian names?" April asked him. "If you don't mind me asking."

Splinter smiled. "Well, as I studied human history and culture, I came across a book on the Italian Renaissance and became fascinated with the art from that era. I decided to name each of them after my favorite Renaissance artists: Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo."

"I see," April said softly as she looked down at her reflection in the tea, still trying to process all of this. "But...how did you get here in the first place? Who brought you here?"

Splinter hummed quietly and shook his head. "I'm afraid that is a piece of information that must be kept secret. I made a promise to some dear friends years ago that I would never reveal their existence to the inhabitants of this or any other world."

"Okay, I can respect that. But what I really want to know is, what happens to me now that I know about you guys? You're not gonna..." She gulped nervously. "...kill me, are you?"

He gently placed his hairy hand over hers. "Of course not, child. As I have said before, we have no intention on harming you. That is not our way. And I can tell that you are a reasonable person with a good soul, so I will trust that you will not reveal us to the other humans."

"No, of course not," she said with a grin. "After what you guys did for me? No way."

Splinter smiled gratefully. "I thank you. Until now, we have never had a human friend. It would do the boys good if they had someone from the outside world to socialize with. That is, if you wouldn't mind paying us a visit every once and in a while?"

April shrugged. "I don't see why not." Then she let out a big yawn.

"You are tired," Splinter chuckled.

"Very," she mumbled tiredly.

"I will have Raphael escort you home. You mustn't go out alone this late."

"I couldn't agree more."

Unbeknownst to them both (or maybe to just April since Splinter had a keen sense of hearing and smell), Raphael had been listening in on their conversation from up on the balcony, and when he heard that he would be the one to walk April home, he pumped his fist in the air and mouthed an excited, "Yes!"

...

He carried her on his shell as he jumped from one rooftop to the next, and his heart pounded the entire time she had her arms around his neck. He could feel her softly breathing on his skin and her heart beating against his shell, which made it harder for him to focus on the path before him.

They eventually arrived at her apartment and snuck into her room on the sixth floor through her balcony. April slowly slid the door open and peeked into the living room. It was still dark and her mother was nowhere in sight, which meant that she was either in bed or still at work.

She sighed softly in relief and turned to Raph. "Thanks for taking me home."

He grinned and crossed his arms. "Hey, no problem. You get a good night's sleep, kay?" Just as he was about to leave, she grabbed his arm.

"Wait, you got a cellphone or something?" she asked him.

The question threw him off. "A-A what? A cellphone? No, but, uh..." He reached into the pocket of his joggers and pulled out a small device with a green turtle shell on the back. "We have these communicators. Here, you can have this one," he said as he gave it to her. "See the red button? That's the one to contact me, you know, in case you're in trouble. The blue one is for Leo, purple is for Donnie and-"

"Lemme guess," April grinned, "orange is for Mikey."

Raph chuckled. "Yeah. Always keep that with you, and don't hesitate to call if you ever need us again. You...will come see us again, right?"

She nodded. "Definitely. Thanks again for everything." She yawned again and stepped into the living room. "Night," she said before she slid the door shut.

"Night," he said softly and watched as she pulled the curtain over the glass door. He then climbed to the rooftop and shouted to the moon in joy, "WHOO-HOO!"

A pretty girl had asked for his number.


In Another World

Twenty-four Years Ago

"Splinter, this is Tang Shen," Yoshi introduced the female Turtle from earlier to the young rat. "She is a dear friend of mine."

Shen smiled kindly at Splinter as she knelt down to his level. "Hello, Splinter. It is nice to meet you."

Splinter blushed, mesmerized by her beauty, and bowed to her. "It-It an honor to meet you." He felt her pat him on the head and heard her giggle.

"Such manners for one so young," she complimented. "I see why Yoshi has taken a liking to you."

Another male voice suddenly spoke up. "I wouldn't touch him, Shen." They all turned and saw Nagi approaching them. The Turtle sneered down at Splinter, causing him to back away in fear. "Homeless rodents like him carry all sorts of diseases."

Splinter lowered his gaze to the ground ashamed.

A greatly angered Yoshi stepped forward. "He is not homeless," he snapped. "And he is not disease-ridden. I will not tolerate you speaking of my friend in such a manner, Nagi."

Nagi merely scoffed at him before he turned his attention back to Shen with a smile. "Shen, as you already know, tomorrow is my grandfather's birthday and my father is holding a grand feast. I would like for you to join us." He took her hand and tenderly held it. "Please say you will."

Yoshi glared at his rival, his hands tightening into trembling fist. Nagi knew that Yoshi had strong feelings for Shen; in fact, they both did. They competed in nearly all things, but none so fiercely than for Shen's heart.

Shen, however, did not return Nagi's feelings. Her heart had always belonged to Yoshi, who was much kinder and more honorable than Nagi ever was. She felt uneasy whenever he touched her, so she gently pulled her hand away. "I will come if Yoshi and Splinter are permitted to," she said as she turned to said Turtle and rat.

Nagi's eye widened in shock before he narrowed them in aggravation, but he quickly calmed himself and released a sigh of resignation. "Very well, Shen, if that is what you wish." He then walked away from the group, glaring hatefully at Yoshi as he did so.

But an unfazed Yoshi grinned triumphantly. Another victory for him.

...

The next day, in the backyard of the Oroku family temple, a great crowd had gathered to celebrate Oroku Ikari's 92nd birthday. There was a great table of food, mostly sushi, as well as a comical play, a kyogen. Ikari, himself, sat on a bench and told the children, including Splinter, stories of his adventures as a shadow warrior.

Yoshi, Shen, and Nagi watched the kyogen together, with Shen sitting in between the two rivals. Nagi would glance at her lustfully every once in a while, his urge to touch her getting stronger by the moment. But Yoshi sensed every glance and would shoot him a warning glare. Nagi knew better than to start a fight in front of his guests, so he caved in and turned his attention back to the play.

"So there we were," Ikari continued to tell his story to the children, "completely surrounded by Lord Toshi's soldiers, their blades pointing at us from all directions. They told us that if we wanted to die honorably instead of being executed like common criminals, we were to commit harakiri right where we stood. So my friends got down on their knees and prepared to die, but I remained standing and faced the enemy."

Splinter listened to Ikari's amazing story with eyes full of wonder, eager to hear what happened next, when he felt someone tap him on the shoulder. He turned around and looked up to see Saki standing over him.

The young Turtle grinned at him. "I remember you, from yesterday."

A pleasantly surprised Splinter smiled widely and stood up. "I was hoping you'd be here tonight."

Saki grabbed him by the arm and started to pull him toward the temple. "Come with me. I'll show you around."

"Oh, but," Splinter looked back at Ikari, "I want to hear how Ikari-san's story ends."

"I'll tell you how it ends. I hear it all the time."

"You do?"

Saki laughed. "Well, of course! He's my grandfather!"

"Oh," Splinter grinned sheepishly. "Right."

...

For the next hour, Saki gave Splinter a full tour of the Oroku temple, showing him every artifact and suit of armor that had been passed down from generation to generation. He expressed his pride in his heritage and told Splinter the history behind each heirloom.

"I must confess," Splinter said as they stepped into a large room full of weapons, "I was surprised to learn that you are Oroku Nagi's brother."

Saki's brow furrowed and he frowned. "It's true. He is my brother, but sometimes I wish he weren't."

"What do you mean?"

"Nagi is both respected and feared by everyone in the village, and he severely punishes those who so much as look at him or any member in the Oroku family wrong." He lowered his gaze to the wooden floor. "That's why I have no friends," he mumbled somberly. "They are afraid of my brother, and therefore they are afraid of me."

Splinter then realized why Saki asked him to play Kemari with him the other day: he was lonely and would go so far as to befriend a street rodent that everyone else hated. He felt a great deal of pity for the young Turtle. "But you're nothing like your brother."

Saki glanced up at him and chuckled bitterly. "How do you know I'm not?"

The rat smiled warmly at him. "I just do. I'm just sorry that no one else does."

There was suprise and then gratefulness in Saki's golden eyes before he cleared his throat and led Splinter to a closet that had a terrifying dragon carved on each door. "This is the crowned jewel of the Oroku family." He opened the doors and revealed what was inside.

A samurai suit of armor stared down at Splinter with a terrifying dragonesque menpo, nearly making jump out of his skin.

Saki smiled proudly at the armor. "My great-great grandfather, Oroku Isao, wore this armor as he bravely faced the Claw Clan on the battlefield alone. There were about a hundred soldiers, and he took down over half of them on his own. He was close to death when the recruits finally arrived, but if it weren't for him, the Foot Clan would've fallen to the Claws years ago. His story is legend all across Japan. Because of his terrifying power and strength, they called him 'The Shredder'."

Splinter gulped nervously. "The...Shredder?"

Saki chuckled as he nodded. "Amazing, right? As Isao's descendants, we strive to become the strongest warriors in the Foot Clan, in Japan, and even all the world. My grandfather says that his spirit lives on in each of us."

A loud thumping sound made them both jump and Saki instantly grabbed Splinter's arm. "Come on!" he whispered as he suddenly dragged the rat with him into the closet and closed the doors, leaving a small crack to look through.

Nagi stepped into the room and looked around. "Saki!" he yelled. "I know you're in here! Father wants you to come back to the party!"

Splinter's heart was now pounding out of fear. Nagi would surely punish him for being in his house, but Saki wouldn't let that happen...right? He glanced over at Saki and could barely see the younger Turtle's face in the dark. He was apparently thinking the same thing and put his finger to his lips.

"Saki!" Nagi bellowed.

In a matter of seconds, Saki jumped out of the closet and shut the doors behind him before Nagi could spot Splinter. "I'm here!"

Nagi glared down at his little brother disapprovingly. "You're not supposed to be playing in this room."

"I wasn't playing!"

"What were you doing, then?"

"Practicing."

"For what?"

"My hiding skills, for when I become a shadow warrior. You've always said I needed to train more and play less, right, Brother?"

Splinter held his breath, praying that Nagi would believe Saki's lie.

Fortunately, Nagi did believe him and huffed as he crossed his arms. "Well, you know how much Grandfather Isao's armor means to our family. You could've damaged it, so improve your abilities elsewhere."

Saki nodded while Splinter closed his eyes in relief.

"Come," Nagi walked to the door. "Father is expecting us."

"I'll be right there," Saki said. Once Nagi was gone, he peeked into the closet and whispered to Splinter, "You can sneak out of the temple through the koi garden. You remember where that is, right?"

"Yes," Splinter smiled gratefully at him. "Thank you, Saki."

Saki grinned back. "No, I should be the one thanking you."

Splinter tilted his head. "For what?"

"For being my first friend."