Author Note: This story is a gift for one of my very best friends, who is of the 14th March 2008 a liberated woman. Hence the theme of the story and the rare movement away from angst. I hope you all enjoy it!
I don't own the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a fact I mourn on a daily basis. I do own random bad dudes, hapless heroines and the pitiful remnants of the vanilla ice cream I ate while writing.
Leonardo heard the yell and rolled his eyes, aiming the remote control at the television and changing the channel. Getting his own choice of programming was tough in a home shared with four other people, more so when one was obsessed with soap operas, another with professional wrestling, another with Top Gear and another with… well, television full stop.
No way was he giving up his TV time just to mediate yet another round of bickering.
"I didn't touch it, I swear!"
"Then who did? Donnie? Leo? Splinter?"
"I don't know, maybe Casey came over and looked at it. But it wasn't me!"
Leo grinned slightly and flipped the channel again, searching for something watchable. He could answer Raph's questions easily enough, but he really didn't feel like explaining himself. In such a confined living space it was hard to have secrets, but this was one he intended to keep.
There was a light coming from Donnie's computer, silhouetting the turtle as he read something on the internet. It also showed Mikey in the darkness, fast asleep on the sofa, the empty bowl from his popcorn still resting on his lap, head thrown back and mouth wide open, emitting snores, drool and the occasional meaningless murmurings. Of Raphael there was no sign, but the sound of his snoring was clearly audible, suggesting he was in his room. Either that or Splinter had suddenly developed a badly deviated septum.
Leo had dressed for the occasion, having found himself a pair of black training pants and a black turtle neck sweater, the latter sending all manner of puns through his head as he pulled it on. His feet were left bare, few pairs of shoes even fitting him and the restrictions of them making him uncomfortable.
Donnie was distracted and no one else was even awake. Ideal for sneaking out of the lair without anyone realising he'd been gone.
Sticking to the shadows, he went into the sewers and skilfully avoided the traps, cameras and alarms that would alert his family that someone was creeping around. The nearest manhole to the lair was out, but there was one relatively close that he could use and he did so, emerging from the shadows close to the warehouse where the Battleshell was housed. The Battleshell – and the various other vehicles which the turtles put to use…
Killing the alarm on the Battleshell, Leo opened its doors and removed the clothing he had stashed there earlier on – a long black leather jacket and the hat that Mikey claimed made him look like Indiana Jones. Putting them on, he pulled the hat low to disguise his face and pulled a pair of shades from the pocket of the trenchcoat as he turned to the vehicle he would actually be using that night.
Donatello's voice drifted to Leos spot on the couch. "What's going on?"
"Someone took my bike out for a joyride. Right someone?"
"I didn't do it!"
There was a pause and Leo knew exactly the look that would be on Donnie's face – exasperation mixed with resignation. "Raph, what makes you think that Mike even took your bike?"
"I just know, okay? I always know!"
"Maybe you were just imagining it."
Leo grinned as Raphael explained to Donnie exactly how the possibility of him 'imagining it' wasn't likely in the most colourful way imaginable. He could have defended Raph, heck he could even prove Mike's innocence – but sometimes it was more fun to keep quiet and see how things went.
Raph thought he hid the keys to his bike well, but living in a sewer full of ninja meant that at some point, one of them would discover just where that hiding place was. Leo spun the keys around his finger, just looking at the admittedly beautiful Shell Cycle, before straddling the machine and starting the engine. With a powerful roar, the bike tore out of the garage, Leo grinning in sheer exhilaration as the cycle tore through the darkened streets.
His trenchcoat flying out behind him, hat miraculously remaining planted firmly on his head, Leo headed for the most dangerous part of town.
"Help! Somebody help me!"
He heard the shout emerging from two streets away; travelling further than it might have done as the city that never sleeps was at least having a light doze. Revving the engine further, he skidded around the corner to find the cause of the disturbance.
There was a fire door at the side of a table dancing club, the kind that closed in the extremely early hours. Although the club had closed, it seemed that various staff members were still leaving, including the young woman whose voice he had heard. Possibly one of the dancers, although it seemed unlikely based on her careless, casual appearance, dressed in elderly, torn jeans and leather jacket, long, dark hair spilling over the collar. More likely she was one of the bar staff.
The guy she was struggling with was presumably not one of the dancers. Maybe a foot taller than the young woman, it looked as if he had been hanging around the alley just waiting for someone to exit before striking. The fire door had swung shut, cutting off that method of escape before she could retreat back inside.
The guy had been dragging the woman deeper into the debris-strewn alleyway, but looked up as the bike entered the alley and came to a stop, the engine rumbling ominously, the rider worryingly silent.
"Back off buddy," snarled the guy. "This is a private party and you ain't invited."
Leo left the engine running and got off the bike, the dark jacket and hat leaving his true features a mystery to the watchers. "I crashed."
"You're gonna crash," the guy snapped, shoving the woman sideways. She stumbled but kept her feet, falling into a garbage can with a muted clatter.
The guy advanced on Leo, who stood his ground. His swords were available to him, but he doubted he would need them to take on this guy. He was big, but most of the size was fat rather than muscle and his stance was all wrong. It would be a simple matter to knock him on his ass.
He saw the girl move before he could stop her – and in honesty, he probably wouldn't have anyway. Most times when he intervened in a similar situation, the would-be victim ran while the fighting was still going on. He didn't expect them to hag around and thank him, although the appreciation would have been nice once in a while.
This girl didn't run. Instead she grabbed the trash can lid and whacked the guy over the head. There was a strange clang and he staggered under the force of the blow before turning his back on Leo and reaching for the girl again.
Grinning, impressed by the young woman's attitude, Leo grabbed the guys shoulder, causing him to swing around again to look at the turtle. Once he had his attention, Leo delivered a textbook perfect uppercut to the guys chin, sending his eyes spinning comically even as he sunk to the ground, no longer a threat to anyone save his medical insurer.
"Sweet," commented the woman, looking down at the guy and delivering a kick to his butt. "Asshole!"
Leo pulled his hat further down over his eyes, observing the woman from beneath the brim. "You shouldn't be out alone at this time of night. It's not safe."
She gave him a wicked grin. "Well, since you have some wheels and you are my knight in shining leather – why don't you see a lady home?"
Raphael dropped heavily into the seat next to Leo, disturbing his train of thought. "I don't know how he does it."
Leo glanced sideways at him. "Huh?"
"Mikey. He's so innocent looking. He had to be the one messin' with my bike and I still half believe that he didn't."
Leo shrugged. "Mikey's a good liar, but not that good. And he usually admits something like that anyway."
Raph snorted. "If you touched my bike, would you admit it?"
Leo looked down and gave a smirk he hoped Raph didn't see. "Nope. I probably wouldn't."
The young woman gave him a street name and Leo revved the engine, showing off slightly as she climbed on the bike behind him. He peeled out of the alley fast, trying not to jump as she snaked her arms around his waist instead of holding on to the pillion bar. Her hair tickled his cheek as she rested her chin on the rim of his shell, hidden beneath his jacket. He found himself hoping that she didn't realise that something was wrong with the shape of his back or notice that his tri-fingered hand on the handlebars was green, because if she screamed and tried to get away at this speed, she was pavement pizza.
Instead she scooted further up the seat toward him and held on tighter.
Being a hero certainly had its good points.
Grinning, he coaxed the bike into even higher speeds, relishing the sound of her excited laughter and the way her breath tickled his cheek. Now he knew why Raph loved the Shell Cycle so much. This was fun. There was something liberating about breaking the speed limit with a beautiful girl encouraging him.
It was with a sense of disappointment that he turned into the street she lived on and slowed the bike, pulling over on the sidewalk and coming to a halt. He struck what he hoped was a macho pose and easily supported the weight of the bike as she reluctantly climbed off.
She paused, one hand resting on her hip, tilting her head and giving him an impish smile. "So, do you have a superhero name?"
"Uh…" Leo thought frantically. What would Mikey say? Hmm, Mikey already had a superhero name and no way was he giving Turtle Titan any credit for this. Beside, it wasn't cool enough. He needed something edgy, something that spoke of hidden danger and depth… nah, he was pretty sure that Dark Turtle was taken too. What else sounded dark – night of course. No good. All he could think of now was Nightwatcher and he certainly didn't want her to think her saviour was Raph.
She looked vaguely amused, as if she could read his thought process and he tried to think of some of his nicknames. Splinter Junior? Nah, that sucked worse than anything he'd thought of so far. Tuna Breath? Nope, not in this lifetime. And it wasn't even as if he'd been awake enough to realise that tin had catfood in. But then there was one thing…
"People call me Fearless," he said, lowering his voice and trying to sound just that.
Her eyebrows rose. "Nice to know you Fearless. My name's Kitana."
His surprise must have shown in the way he stood or maybe she was just used to it, because she misinterpreted the shock and laughed. "My mother's an MK freak. Hey, if you're ever in the mood for a pillion passenger – you know where I live."
Leo grinned widely, the smile falling off when he suddenly realised that there would be no more rides with this girl. It wasn't as if he could just drop by and pick her up like any normal teenager. She'd probably scream in horror if she ever saw him without the shadow of the hat hiding his face and the trenchcoat disguising his oddly shaped body.
Before he could do much more than mull on what to reply, Kitana rested her free hand on his shoulder, leaned forward and kissed his cheek lightly. Stunned, Leonardo froze, unsure of how to react.
"You know, that hat and those shades don't hide the colour of your skin as well as you think they do," she murmured and Leo could feel the smile on her face. "Hope to see you around."
And with that, she turned and ran up the steps to enter the apartment block.
Beaming so widely that he threatened to crack his face, Leo gunned the engine and roared off into the night, trenchcoat flying out theatrically behind him.
Raphael, bored of watching the programme Leo had on, rose from the couch and went to the elevator, presumably to give his bike some TLC. Leo was pretty sure he'd brought it back clean and unscratched, but he still wasn't surprised that Raph noticed something different. When it came to his precious Shell Cycle, Raphael had the hawk-like powers of observation of a disapproving mother-in-law.
He'd probably hide the keys somewhere new too. It was fortunate that Leo had taken the precaution of having another set made.
Donatello wandered over and stood directly in front of the television monolith. Leo leant over the couch in an attempt to see around him before giving up and heaving a dramatic sigh. "What is it Donnie?"
"I have a camera in the warehouse as well Leo," said Don, smirking in a way that Leo didn't care for at all. "Good thing Raph doesn't know that, isn't it?"
Leo frowned. "Okay Donnie, what do you want?"
"A willing vict… helper for the next time I go to the dump."
"Deal," said Leo, inwardly grateful. He'd been expecting something much worse. And now he knew about the camera too, there were ways he could hide his nocturnal activities. Because he was going to make sure Kitana got home from the club safely that night – she was getting a ride home from Fearless.
That feeling of liberation he'd got playing the hero was worth the dumpster diving. And even Fearless needed some time off once in a while.