Hi there. I'm back with yet another TMNT one-shot. This one's a little different from my first and it took me much longer to make it. Then again, it is quite a lengthy read. But I hope you guys like it!
Disclaimer: I do not own TMNT
Oruku Karai, now known as Mrs. Chaplin, rested her back on the cozy chair under her as she waited until they would arrive at the hotel. It had been a tiring 17-hour flight. The plane was a rough one and the waitress simply wouldn't leave her alone, no matter how many times she told her that she didn't need anything. She supposed it had something to do with the fact that one, she was the wife of one of the world's greatest leading scientists, Dr. James Chaplin; and two, she singlehandedly headed the international multi-dollar corporation, the Saki Enterprises.
However, despite being the kind-hearted yet extremely firm woman she displayed to everyone, she had another side. For when Karai Chaplin was not in her office or standing beside her husband, she reverted back into Oruku Karai, the daughter of the once famous Oruku Saki and the leader of the mysterious ninja clan known as the Foot.
Yes, even after these years, the Foot continued to exist, this time, as mercenaries who take on every task, mission and operation, however dangerous and life-threatening, for a certain price and were known for doing it quickly and successfully each time. After all, Karai would allow nothing less.
However, there was one thing she didn't enjoy when she thought about the Foot. It always seemed to bring her back to the past; the past she had left behind when she left New York City after the entire "True Shredder" fiasco.
With a sigh, she looked out the window, still in disbelief that she came back. The familiar streets, buildings and skyscrapers of Manhattan greeted her.
It had been that long yet still, her memories continued to haunt her. And as much as she hated to admit it, they all bundled together into the form of a young teenager who was, at the moment, seated across her. In all aspects, the girl looked exactly like Karai when she was her age. She had her silky jet-black hair, her long nose, her full, pink lips, her smooth and creamy skin, and even her tall and slender build. There was only a single feature in the adolescent that was completely different from her.
Unlike Karai's jade green ones, the teen's orbs were brilliant sapphire blue; mellow yet strong, serious yet sincere. They contained a certain sharpness and compassion in them that Karai knew from a long time ago and perhaps, she still knew until present, though that was something she was far too proud to confess.
Don't take it the wrong way. Karai loved her daughter very much, nothing else meant more to her. It's just that everything that happened to her in New York was upsetting, everything she had lost troubling and her daughter was-
Karai blinked as she was unexpectedly pulled out of her reverie and saw that her daughter returned her gaze. "What is it, Kiyori?" she queried.
The teenager tilted her head. "Are you okay? You've been staring at me for the past ten minutes. Do I have something on my face?"
Karai was somewhat surprised her daughter had noticed. But she should have expected that. After all, she had personally taught Kiyori ninjitsu since she was a child. (After all, perceptiveness was an important aspect in ninjitsu.)
"It's nothing," she replied dismissively. "Just… thinking." Without another word, Karai broke eye contact and looked away.
At that point, the younger female knew something was up. Even though her mother was typically the silent type, there was usually this upright and stringent atmosphere around her. But during that ride, she couldn't feel it. Something else was taking over. Frustration? Regret? Sorrow? Was it… nostalgia? She frowned. That couldn't be right. Why would her mother feel that way? She didn't recall her ever mentioning she had been to Manhattan before.
Kiyori Lea Chaplin was never one to pry. She had been taught since birth to be polite and show respect, to know, understand and apply the meaning of boundaries. But of course, there was a fine line between being courteous and allowing someone to step all over you. That is why, also since birth, she had been trained vigorously to become a ninja. Yes, she knew her mother's hidden profession. And she was aware that one day, she was going to carry the burden of leading the Foot clan. But she didn't mind. In fact, she placed a lot of effort and pushed herself past her limits to make herself ready for that day.
Since childhood, she had always believed that she and her mother were close. To her, Karai was not simply her mother; she was her teacher, her sister, her friend. Though they were times when they had to be strictly professional with each other, like during training or business meetings, there were also moments when she could just be herself and pour out all her emotions and troubles to her, seeing as her father was barely around. They did almost everything together. Karai even took her on business trips such as this one.
New York had been a city she had longed to visit ever since. When her mother told her that they were going to Manhattan, she had never felt so excited and thrilled her whole life. She didn't know why she had wanted to come here so badly. Even though it was just for a night, she was glad for the opportunity. There was just something special about the place that she couldn't press her finger on.
However, her mother had a diverse reaction. Ever since Karai had told her about their trip, Kiyori noticed a very discreet change in her mother's mood lately. She would stay up for long hours, staring at the sky. From that time until now, Kiyori felt a sudden wall between them. There was something Karai wasn't telling her, a secret much more personal than the Foot and ninja training, a subject so delicate that Karai would not speak of it to anyone, not even to her own daughter.
Kiyori sighed. She couldn't do much right now. She knew her mother was stubborn and preferred to deal things on her own. She decided that the best thing she could do was transfer her thoughts to another, more cheerful subject.
"Hey, mom," she said. "What do you think dad is doing back in Japan right now? He told me he was going to a really important science convention today. I remember, he wouldn't stop talking about it for weeks."
"Hmm…" was all the reply she received.
Kiyori's frowned deepened. She had never seen her mother so engrossed in her thoughts. She doubted that Karai even heard her speaking. Her brows knitted together in puzzlement. She couldn't understand. Just what was causing her mother to be so preoccupied?
"Say, mom," she said again, deciding to give it one more try. "Will you tell me about my father? You know, what he was like when you first met him."
It was quiet for moment and just when Kiyori thought her words had fallen into deaf ears once again, Karai suddenly smiled, much to her surprise.
"Your father…" Karai spoke, gazing out the window.
'Is it just me… or does are mom's eyes looking a little… dreamy?' Kiyori thought to herself, utterly bewildered at the response she received.
"He was wonderful," Karai continued, sounding very much like a lovesick teenager, which her daughter was completely unfamiliar with. "He was always so calm, cool, and collected. He was strong, loyal, and able. These were such admirable traits in one that had been through so much. I believe there is no one more protective and caring than him. He was forever graceful when he moved, especially with his katanas. Though at times, he wore his armor too tightly to his skin, he always had the need to surfer in silence. Yet I admired his discipline, his compassion, his honor."
Kiyori blinked, completely flabbergasted. 'Did mom just say what I think she just said…?' She had never heard her mother talk about anyone like that. And for some reason, she just knew that they were no longer talking about James Chaplin. 'I mean, come on, katanas? Mom told me those were the hardest weapons to master. My dad might be smart but he couldn't fight even if his life depended on it.'
"I loved him, no, I still do…" Karai trailed.
This was getting way out of hand. Kiyori cleared her throat and said, "Um, mom?"
Then, as if the meaning behinds her words had just dawned on her, Karai gasped and turned to her daughter, eyes wide. "Shit, you were talking about Chaplin, weren't you?"
"I DIDN'T DO IT!"
Inside the dojo, Leonardo was suddenly jerked out of his concentration due to the sounds and screams coming from outside.
"RAPH! THAT WAS MY PROJECT!"
"BUT I- AAAH! DON, NOT YOU TOO!"
With a sigh, the blue-clad turtle rose up from his position. 'Things haven't changed at all… We're 30 years old, but they still act like they're teenagers…' he thought in exasperation. He had needed that meditation time. Their master had passed away only a week ago and although he knew it was coming, he was still deeply saddened by it. But as the leader, he couldn't openly show it to his brothers. They looked up to him during hard times like this; therefore, he needed to be strong for them.
"WAAAAAH! I DON'T WANNA DIE!"
He took Mikey's scream as the signal to intervene. He sighed once more before exiting the dojo.
However, when he took one step to the den, he had to move back again when an orange-green blur sped past him.
"Hey Leo. Can't talk. Running for my life. Gotta go, bye!"
Barely a second went by, when two more blurs dashed. Only the purple-green figure stopped to talk to him while the red-green one continued its path to finally eradicate Michelangelo from the world.
Leonardo looked at Donatello. "To be entirely honest, I'd rather not know…" he began. "But what happened?"
Donatello scowled. "I'll tell you what happened, I've been working on a new shell cycle for all of us," he fumed angrily, something which was very unlike his usual passive self. "The prototype was almost done, just a few more adjustments and it would have been perfect! Then Raph and Mikey had to come along and trash everything! I spent six weeks on it! SIX WEEKS!"
"Don, I meant, what happened before that?"
"How should I know!" the purple-masked mutant snapped. "Think of my project, Leo! I worked so hard on it but in the end, those sleepless nights were for nothing! Thanks to Mikey, it was ruined in THREE DAMN SECONDS! What's the use of building new things for us to use when all they do is destroy it?"
Leonardo sighed. He knew Donatello was over-exaggerating. With that brain of his, he could probably fix everything in a matter of minutes. The reason that was causing him to lose control so easily was the same source for Raph to be more hostile than usual and for Mikey to want more attention; hence, creating more trouble.
"RAPH, I SWEAR, IT WAS AN ACCIDENT! I DIDN'T MEAN TO BREAK THE LIGHT DOO-HICKEY ON YOUR BIKE!"
"ACCIDENT, MY FUCKIN' SHELL! YA DID IT ON PURPOSE, YA LIL' PIECE OF CRAP! COME BACK 'ERE AN' FIGHT LIKE A MAN!"
"BUT I'M NOT A-"
"DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT! ONE MORE CRACK OUTTA YA AN' I'M GONNA BASH YER BRAINS OUT!"
Leonardo drew breath then-
"Raphael! Michelangelo!" he bellowed, composed yet louder than all of their yells combined.
The two youngest halted their movements at once. Raphael had Michelangelo in a headlock.
"Enough of this nonsense!" Leonardo went on. "You're not fifteen anymore!"
Raphael let his brother go but continued to glower.
"Tell that ta this bonehead!" he growled, scowling at the nunchuku-wielding turtle. "He's the one who's bein' a pain in the shell!"
"For once, I have to agree" Donatello added, also glaring at Michelangelo.
"But… but… I really didn't mean it! I was skateboarding and I tripped! My skateboard went flying straight to your bike which knocked down and the headlight broke. An accident! A purely, unintentional accident! Honest!"
"Raphael!" Leonardo scolded. "I said, that's enough."
Raphael glared at him. "An' what makes ya think I care, O Fearless Leader?"
Leonardo met his gaze squarely. "You're not the only one who's affected by Splinter, Raph. We all are, that includes Mikey. After all, he was our father."
At once, the supposed angered and tense atmosphere evaporated, to be replaced with grief at their loss.
Donatello and Michelangelo looked away while Raphael's expression softened.
"I know…" he replied quietly. "I jus'…" His hands clenched. "I jus' can't believe he left like that…"
"He may no longer have a physical body, but Master Splinter will stay with us forever," Leonardo said. "I know you're all aware of this. However, a reminder never hurts anybody."
Donatello smiled. "Well, we needed it anyway."
Michelangelo approached his brother in red. "Sorry, Raph," he apologized. "I can help you fix your light, if you want."
Raphael looked at him. "Sure, Mike… " He smirked. "Race ya ta the garage, shell'fer brains!" he called out, already whizzing away.
"Hey! That's cheating!" Michelangelo ran as well.
Donatello rolled his eyes. "Talk about little kids…"
"YO, DON! WE'RE USIN' YER TOOLBOX!"
The purple-clad turtle's eyes widened. "They wouldn't…"
The ends of Leonardo's mouth twitched. "Actually, yes, they would."
Donatello cursed and instantly zoomed after them, yelling, "RAPH, MIKEY, DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH ANY MORE OF MY STUFF!"
Leonardo shook his head and smiled. "Yep, things haven't changed a bit…"
'They deserve a break. We've been far too active topside lately, probably because we needed something to fill our heads. But, just for tonight, I guess I can cancel the patrol,' he thought. 'Besides, it'll give me some time to be alone.' He grabbed his trench coat and fedora and left the lair.
To say that Kiyori was shocked was an understatement. She was stunned speechless.
"…you were talking about Chaplin, weren't you?" her mother had said, or rather, let slip. But when she was asked more about it, all Kiyori received was a reprimand.
"I didn't know what I was talking about," her mother told her sternly. "And I never want to hear you bring this topic ever again."
And that was that.
'Talk about harsh,' she thought as she walked through the streets of Manhattan by herself. She had changed her clothes immediately when they reached hotel. She got out of the stiff formal attire she had to wear while on the plane with her mom's business associates and wore something a whole lot more comfortable; a baby blue top, black cargoes that showed her belly and sneakers. 'I know it's practically impossible but something tells me mom wasn't talking about dad. But if she wasn't talking about him, then who was she describing so fondly? Could it be that… dad's not my real father? But… who else could it be?'
Kiyori rubbed her head. 'This cannot be happening. Another father? What the hell is that all about? How could I have another father? Dad's all I've ever known. So what if I look nothing like him? It's because I take after mom, isn't it? Although, I'll admit that there's always been something between us, like there's gap that can't be filled. Does that mean it's true then? That he's not my father? I don't believe this! Barely a day ago, I wouldn't even dream of anything like this!'
She paused and looked up at the sky. The sun was setting, it was getting late. She knew she should have asked permission to leave the hotel but could anyone blame her? Especially after the new-found yet extremely disturbing knowledge she accidentally received?
'I was supposed to enjoy New York but now…' She sighed. "How could everything get so messed up?"
A disguised Leonardo watched the back of a girl who just walked by him. He had heard her muttering to herself.
'How could everything get so messed up?' he repeated to himself. 'What could she be talking about?'
By nature, the blue-clad turtle wasn't a snoop. It was probably just pure coincidence that she said it out loud as they passed each other. 'It's most likely just another predicament teenagers get themselves into…' he thought. 'But I can't help wondering why she sounded so miserable when she spoke.'
She was going to cross the street now. But something must have definitely been bothering her because her head was down and she failed to notice she was walking straight into traffic. Leonardo, however, did not.
A car horn honked loudly. He was about to jump in when, much to his shock, she leaped out of the way and disappeared behind an alley so that everyone who wasn't watching her as intently as him would have believed that nothing happened.
Leonardo narrowed his eyes. She was no ordinary girl.
Karai slammed her hands on her desk. "What do you mean she's not in her room?" she snarled.
The two maids before her cowered in fear.
"W-we did say you requested, M-Madam," the one with the blond hair stammered. "We k-knocked on her door but there was no a-answer. When we opened it, n-no one was there."
"Did anyone see her leave?" Karai demanded.
The other female shook her head. "We asked but no one knows anything." Then, in hopes to redeem herself, she explained further, "Madam, please, we tried out best, we really did not-"
"Enough," Karai cut in, her voice icy. "Go."
"Y-yes, ma'm!" both replied and scuttled out of the room as fast as they could.
'Worthless!' Karai seethed. 'I know she's just upset about what happened earlier but leaving the hotel? Without even saying anything? Damn it, Kiyori!' she thought irritably. She prepared to leave the room when the intercom beeped.
"Mrs. Chaplin," a female voice rang. "You are wanted in the conference hall. The meeting is about to begin."
The black-haired woman cursed. She had forgotten about that, the reason why she came to New York in the first place. It was simply impossible to schedule another date for it. It seemed like there was only one thing she could do.
Karai pressed a button and replied, "I'll be there in a moment." She turned it off and took out a cellphone.
"Yes, Mistress Karai?" the person on the other end of the line answered.
"I have a job for you. And I want it done now."
Kiyori was panting as she hid in an alley.
"That was too close" she said to herself, facing the wall. One hand was on a brick for support while the other she placed on her chest to calm herself. 'Looks like I was more distracted than I thought. Still, gotta love being a ninja. Had I reacted a second later, mom would have dug into my grave and killed me herself.'
When her heart finally slowed down, she sighed. 'But why do these things keep on happening to me? First I learn of a prospect that my father isn't really my father and that half my life had been lived a lie then I almost get squished in the middle of the road? Well, I guess it can't get any worse than this.'
"Hey there, toots" a wheezy voice suddenly spoke.
Kiyori could have kicked herself. 'I just had to say it, didn't I? I couldn't be happy not saying or thinking anything and heading straight to the hotel. I just had to say it. Screw my luck.'
She spun around. Three men were approaching, making a semi-circle around her. Though it was a bit dark, she could still see their faces printed with bad intentions.
"Lil' gals like ya shouldn't be walkin' alone" one of them slurred.
"Yeah, ya'll neva' know what's out 'ere at night…" another leered.
"But don' worry, we'll take care o' ya…" the last said spitefully. "Real good…"
Kiyori didn't say anything and took a defensive stance.
The first man, who coming at her from the middle and had a long scar across his face, snorted unceremoniously. "Well, ain't that cute? Lookie at tough chick, does she think she can take us on?" he sneered in disdain.
The other two cackled along with him.
Kiyori just smiled. "We'll just see who laughs last, won't we, boys?" Without waiting for a reaction from them, she started.
'I better finish this quick,' she thought. 'The longer I stay, the harsher my punishment's going to be. Good thing I brought my knives with me.' Twin daggerswere her chosen weapons, given to her by her mother when she was seven. She liked them because they were small, they were swift and they were lethal when handled properly.
She brought just one of them out. After all, she wasn't actually intending to really hurt the men who were completely clueless of who she was…
She smiled inwardly. 'Well, maybe just a bit.' She jumped up and kicked the man in the middle from behind, making him stumble to the side. She noticed the one on her right drawing a chain. Not wasting any time, she struck out her dagger just as it came at her and whipped it out of his hands. Seeing the fear creep into his face, she simply hit his side, slamming him to the wall. She faced the others. The one she had hit first was keeping a safe distance from her but the last charged like a bull. She protected her head from his hurtling fists, lowered herself into a half-crouch and swept his feet from under him.
Pleased with herself, Kiyori stood straight. But just as she was thinking of letting them off easy, a small click sound on her left made her freeze. Her head snapped around to see the scarred man pointing a gun at her.
'Crap,' she thought. 'Didn't see that coming.'
He seemed to have read her mind because the next second, he was smirking arrogantly. "Think yer all that just 'cuz ya can do some kung-fu shit?" he spat. "Ya got yerself another thin' goin', bitch." He pulled the trigger.
But the bang never came.
Kiyori's eyes widened at the cloaked figure that appeared in front of her, holding a long, silver sword.
'Is that a…' Her mouth dropped. 'It's a katana!' She instantly recalled what her mother said. 'But it couldn't be…'
The three men yelled angrily at the intrusion and attacked the newcomer simultaneously. She watched in absolute amazement as he knocked out all the three men who must have been at least two feet taller than him and much larger in six seconds flat. The only person she knew who could do the same… was her mother.
Thud. The last man had was over.
For the second time that day, Kiyori was at a loss at what to do. Was she supposed to befriend him? What could she possibly say? Was he really a good guy? Where did he get those katanas? And what was with that trench coat?
However, when he looked at her, she opened her mouth but all that came out was, "U-uh… you… they… how… um… who…"
She wasn't sure why but she hated herself right then. 'Real smooth, Kiyori. Act like a goldfish. That'll so impress the guy who just saved your life.'
Meanwhile, Leonardo couldn't help but feel amused at the stuttering teen. 'It's a good thing I had this coat on or she'd probably faint at the sight of me.'
"It's alright," he said, saving her the trouble of speaking first. "I won't hurt you."
"I just…" Kiyori began, stepping forward. Incidentally, the moon chose that moment on shine on the spot she was staying and her features became much clearer to the mutant turtle.
Leonardo was caught off-guard and he swore his mind almost stopped functioning. 'No… no way… Ka… Karai?'
Kiyori didn't fail to notice his sudden change. Her brows furrowed.
But just as quickly as it came, his shock soon turned into understanding. 'No, it's not her. But she sure looks a lot like Karai…' Realization dawned on him. 'Could it be…?'
"Um… are you okay?" she asked. "I just wanted to thank you… for you know, coming to my rescue. You… you were amazing."
"It's no problem," Leonardo replied and scanned her up and down. 'It's a possibility…' he thought. 'But it's so hard to believe. After all these years… Would she really just come back like that?'
"But you're not too bad yourself either," he told her. "In fact, you were doing quite well earlier."
At that, her head shot up. "You… saw everything?"
He nodded. There was something far too suspicious and familiar with the teenager and he wanted to get to the bottom of everything. It was time to see if his prediction was right.
"The skills you exhibited were remarkable," he said. "It didn't seem like just any type of martial arts. Where did you learn to fight like that?"
"I…" Kiyori contemplated on whether he should tell him or not. After all, her mother had sternly told her that her ninjitsu lessons were supposed to be a secret and only to be used in self-defense. Then again, he did save her. "My mother taught it to me."
"Is that so… your mother huh…" Leonardo mused. Silence lingered for a few seconds before he spoke again. "What is your name?"
Kiyori did not expect that question. "My… what?"
"Your name," Leonardo repeated, his voice patient. "I'd like to know your name."
"Kiyori. But why-"
However, he didn't let her finish. "I am Leonardo. But you can call me Leo," he said. "I hope you don't mind me asking some more but regarding your mother… may I ask her name?"
Kiyori was growing more and more confused at his questions. 'Why would something like that be important to him?' she wondered. Though at the same time, she was immensely curious. This person… somehow, she felt he knew something. She wasn't the kind of person to believe in fate or destiny but times like this made her think that their paths did not cross on the same day she arrived in New York by a mere fluke. She had an odd feeling that they were connected in some way. But how or why, she didn't know.
"Karai," she answered. "Her name is Karai Chaplin. My full name is Kiyori Lea Chaplin." She probably had said too much but she was too interested at whatever this guy had to say to care at that moment. She only wished she could see his expression but his face was covered by his hat, as was his entire self by his trench coat.
'So she married him after all,' Leonardo thought with a smile. 'Kiyori Lea, was it? Her daughter is a complete clone of her; from her appearance right down to her fighting style. Karai, it's been so long. You actually returned.' He didn't feel regret nor was he resentful. Because he knew she didn't marry Chaplin out of love, or at least, not with the same love she and him had shared. In his opinion, they left in good terms, especially after that special night together. After all, both knew this was how it should be.
"Um… Mister Leo?"
He snapped out of reverie.
"Are you okay?" Kiyori asked.
"Yes, I'm fine," he responded. "It's just that…" His voice softened. "She's really back then…" he trailed.
Kiyori blinked. "She? What do you mean? Do you know-"
But without warning, he disappeared.
"Mistress Kiyori" a voice from behind spoke.
She spun around to see one of the Foot Elite.
"Your mother is looking for you," he said, bending down on one knee. "She is most displeased that you left without her consent. I shall escort you back to the hotel now."
"Forgive me, but Mistress Karai has strict orders to take you back at all costs. Please, let us go."
Kiyori sighed. "Alright."
She followed after him as he leaped to the rooftop. But upon reaching the edge, she allowed her head to turn back. To her surprise, she saw a dark green figure in the alleyway below. She was sure it was Leo even though the trench coat and fedora were gone now. She noticed he had something big on his back… Kiyori blinked. Was it… a shell?
He picked up the manhole cover then stopped and looked up. He gave her a smile before jumping down into the sewers, closing the lid after him.
Kiyori simply gawked. 'Leo, just… who are you?' But then, she realized it was okay. True, she had a lot more questions than before but she didn't mind so much anymore. Because she was sure of one thing; New York City was far too full of surprises for her to never return.
Karai was extremely puzzled at her daughter's strange attitude. She had scolded her yesterday the second she saw her but Kiyori took it all without any sort of complaint and even smiled when she finished. She couldn't understand her daughter's behavior and suspected that something must have happened that Kiyori wasn't telling her. However, she decided that she would ask once they arrived in Japan and contented herself with the fact that Kiyori was unharmed.
And so, there they were again, back in the car, on their way to the airport. Kiyori was humming a tune which Karai found very curious but did not bring it up for the moment.
'Perhaps she met someone?' Karai thought, gazing out the window. 'But who could it be?'
Then suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone standing on a building. Their eyes met for barely a second before the car moved on and he vanished without a trace. Karai only realized then that she was holding her breath and her heart was beating rapidly. Had she really seen what she believed she had?
'Yes, yes I did,' she thought. She recognized the green skin and the blue bandanna anywhere and knew this was no coincidence. 'But how did he know that I-'
"Mom, you okay?"
She turned to the younger female.
"You looked a little… flushed" Kiyori said.
Karai looked at her for a long moment then understood. She just smiled. "Do I?" she replied. "It's nothing, sweetheart. I'm just thinking about… your father."
And once again, silence filled the air and Karai continued looking out, but the smile never disappeared from her face.
Haha. The idea just came to me one night. Well, that's it. I hope you all enjoyed it. Until the next fic!
TMNT still ROCKS! Later ;D