"Love Thy Enemy"
By Donny's Boy
Disclaimer: I own neither the characters nor the plot relating to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I am making no money from this story. I mean no harm.
Warnings: Er, basically everything. Mature language, violence (no gore), brief mention (but not depiction) of sexual assault, and implied depicted character death.
Author's Notes: This is the sequel to "Eye for an Eye." It is canon to both "Eye for an Eye" and "Ashes to Ashes."
Part I: Redemption
"A sensei once
counseled a grief-stricken boy as his older brother prepared to leave
for battle. He said, 'Child, why do you cry? You are both part of
a family. And a family is a bond that cannot be broken by
war, by strife, by force or neglect."
–Hamato Splinter, TMNT: Movie Novelization
My lungs feel like they're about to fucking explode.
But as my feet pound along the unforgiving concrete of innumerable rooftops, I don't dare let my pace slacken. Because he's right behind me. Over the beating of my heart, the distant sounds of a wailing siren and whirring helicopter, and the raggedness of my breath, I can hear his echoing footsteps. He must be within fifty yards of me now.
I reach the end of a rooftop and, clutching the strap of my bag, launch myself off the edge. I hit the next rooftop so hard that for a moment I'm afraid my shin-bones will splinter and crack. But they don't. Instead, I just stumble and fall. I quickly correct for the mistake with a front roll. And as soon as I'm off the ground, once again I'm racing off at full-speed. Hazarding a glance over my shoulder, I see my pursuer just as he lands on my rooftop. Even in the dark of a cloudless night I can see the white of his smile. Unlike me, however, his jump doesn't even break his rhythm.
Which means he's way too close now. Twenty yards, at most. But there's no time for second-guessing or regrets. I can only go forward.
Inevitably, after a few more roof-jumps, my luck runs out. I've long since lost track of where I've been heading, merely running on instinct. And now, the next roof is not below or level but far, far above me. Above the deafening noise of blood rushing through my ears I notice that the helicopter is getting nearer.
As I reach the end of the roof, I squint in the dark and try to make out the details of the next building—perhaps there's a ledge or fire escape I can try to jump onto. But no. The building side facing me is a smooth, flat monolith, with nothing I can even try to latch onto. To jump would be suicide.
Well, damn. When I reach the edge of the roof, I glance over the side of the roof, with the thought of climbing down since I can't go up. But I don't see anything that offers any hope of a foothold. Just as I glance back up, my follower stops and, near enough now that I can see his eyes, pulls out his gun.
"Give it to me," he barks, sounding as out of breath as I am.
Still holding tightly to my bag, I step onto the ledge of the roof. Suicide it is. "Not likely," I tell him, trying not to sound as out of breath as I am.
I begin to lean back, mentally preparing myself to feel the air rush around me as I topple to my death. Then I freeze, as a blinding light cuts through the night like a lightening flash.
In the confusion, the man drops his gun and lifts his hands to cover his eyes while I use my bag as a shade. The helicopter is right on top of us now, its large propeller blades beating angrily against the air above. Its large spotlight is focused on my would-be attacker. A ladder drops down, with a man holding onto it. The helicopter man is lit from behind, no more than a black silhouette, and he holds out a hand to me while shouting something that I can't hear over the copter noise.
The stranger's intention is unmistakable—he wants me to grab on. Which presents me with an interesting dilemma as to whether I should go with the devil I do know or the devil I don't know. But since in the situation with the devil I do know I was about to jump to my death, the decision is easy. Door number two, it is.
Squinting, I try to gauge the distance between me and the bottom of the ladder. It's fairly high above me but not impossibly so. I squat a little, try to muster up some reserve power in my tired legs, and like a spring uncoiling, leap as high as I can. Just as I feel myself begin to fall, a strong hand grabs my wrist and lifts me up. Groping with my free hand, I touch the rough rope of the ladder and hang on for dear life.
The helicopter begins to leave as my rescuer and I carefully climb up. He gets in first, his face still covered in darkness, and offers me a hand up, which I accept. As soon as I'm inside the helicopter's cabin, I sag back into the nearest seat and close my eyes. At this point I almost don't care what happens to me or whose helicopter I'm in. I'm exhausted. All I care about is sleep.
When I open my eyes, I find that a small cabin light allows me to see, for the first time, the stranger who has rescued me. Except, he isn't a stranger.
"My God," I gasp. My voice, ripped to shreds from all my heavy breathing, is little more than a whisper.
"Good evening, April," Donatello says politely, wearing a small smile. "It's a pleasure to see you again."