A/N: I do not own the Ninja Turtles or any familiar characters. I do, however, own Brooke and Ronald Thompson and this plot.
WARNING: This story does contain interspecies romance between Leatherhead and a human girl! If this bothers you, then leave now. You've been warned. For the remainder of you, I felt like our favorite crocodile needed some loving, too. I'm not writing based off of any particular series, but you may see aspects from many of them.
Beauty and the Beast: A Leatherhead Story
Brooke Thompson tucked a shoebox under her arm as she unlocked the door to the flat she shared with her father. She turned the key slowly, holding her breath and hoping that the old lock wouldn't make any noise. Unfortunately, just as she finished the turn, it clicked loudly and she winced, pushing the door open. Thankfully, her father was no where to be seen in the messy living room. His usual spot at the desk in the corner was abandoned, papers strewn messily across the surface. There was no television in the room, instead tables of aquariums and plastic critter keepers crowded around.
Their home was small, only having one bedroom, which Brooke sacrificed for her father, Ronald Thompson. She slept in the living room on the couch and made no effort to hide the fact. Her pillow rested on one side and her black and white polka dot blanket was draped haphazardly on the cushions. Her text books and notebooks were piled on the coffee table where several abandoned mugs gathered from late night study sessions. She went to the local university majoring in Animal Science with the hopes of becoming a vet.
She had a horrible habit of adopting animals, particularly reptiles. Under her arm, her newest adoption made little noise as it moved around in it's confines. Dark blue eyes darting left and right, the girl tip toed past the living room and kitchen, where days worth of dishes were piled in the sink. Still no sign of the older man. She had a feeling that he was reading in his room. Which, unfortunately was right beside the closet she needed to get to. His door was closed, so if she was quiet enough, she'd be able to get hold of a critter keeper and sneak back to the living room without alerting him. She seriously doubted that he'd notice one more cage among the dozen others she had.
Brooke didn't dare set the shoebox down for fear of her little friend escaping as she stretched to the top shelf where the plastic cages were neatly stacked. Height had never been on her side. It wasn't enough that she inherited thick thighs, she had to be squat, too. Her fingers brushed the corner of the cages and they moved slightly, but not enough for her to knock them down and catch them. She jumped and yelped when an arm reached past her and pulled them down for her.
Squeaking, the blond whirled and smiled sheepishly up at the man towering over her and scowling. Ronald sighed wearily down at his curly haired daughter giving him her best puppy eyes. Lord knew where she got her good looks. Her mother wasn't a looker and the girl certainly inherited nothing from him. His silver streaked raven hair fell loosely into his obsidian eyes, which were narrowed in annoyance and at 6 feet, he towered a foot over her.
"What, pray tell, do you need these for?" He asked, eyeing the box in her arms knowingly. The blasted girl had a heart of gold, but seemed to adopt every scaled critter that so much as looked her way. He was waiting for her to bring home something poisonous one of these days claiming that it was just 'misunderstood'. However, he did have to admit that his daughter had a way with charming her reptiles, some of which were rather aggressive to anyone else.
"Daddy..." She said the word slowly and he sighed heavily. She knew he hated being called that and she only used the word when she was trying to avoid trouble. His eyes narrowed more and he held the critter keepers further out of her reach when she made to jump for them.
"He was abandoned!" She cried, pale cheeks flushing as she scowled back at him," The Shelter has no room for reptiles and no vet to care for them. They're better off with me. Look! He has ticks! And he's sick! See his skin..."
Brooke pulled the lid off the box she carried to reveal a baby Ball Python with pale, partially shed skin and looking dreadfully thin. A couple tiny black dots stood out against the otherwise dry milky coloring that even Ronald knew wasn't healthy. The older man sighed again and wondered briefly why he wasn't given a normal daughter. No, instead of wanting the newest phone or shoes, she carried around an ancient bulky Sony Ericsson, wore ragged old tennis shoes, and blew all her money on animal care products. Their freezer held no real food. Only frozen rodents of varying sizes.
Ronald handed her the plastic cages, muttering darkly under his breath as she cheered happily at her victory. Her father acted like he hated the world and everyone in it, but she knew better. Underneath his prickly exterior, he was a softy. She only wished others could see that side of him, too, but he guarded himself so well that she couldn't help but wonder if he ever wanted to fall in love again. Her mother had died when she was very young, so she couldn't remember her, but she could tell that her father still thought about her everyday. Over twenty years later.
"I am walking to the store to buy pens," The aged man stated as his daughter set up aspen shavings for her new patient. She raised an eye brow and he scowled back, daring her to offer him her ball point pens. For whatever reason, the man hated them. He stubbornly used European style pens for his writing, claiming that ball point pens were crude. In an equally stubborn act, the man refused to use a computer to write anything. When he finished a book, he hired someone to type it for him.
When Brooke offered no argument, the man donned a long black coat and gloves. His finishing touch was a thick black scarf. Brooke rolled her eyes. He always looked so depressed. If he'd just add a little color to his wardrobe, it would do wonders for him! Not to mention the layers he insisted on wearing. It was chilly, but not nearly cold enough to bundle up.
"It's not that cold, dad," She commented, looking skeptically at his attire as he pulled on boots. He sent her a dark look.
"It is cold enough, Brooke," He replied tartly," Lock the door behind me."
Brooke rolled her eyes, not moving from her spot. She'd be fine. Her father had not always been so paranoid, but these days, his worry for her safety was bordering ridiculous. He walked briskly, so his trips to the art store were usually fast. No one would bother her. How the man went through so many pens anyway, was a wonder. He went to the store several times a week! And almost always for the same thing.
As the little make shift terrarium was livable, she pulled the sickly Ball Python from the shoe box. It didn't move much and she knew it was because he was probably refusing food, too. For now, she used some vitamin spray, misting his body with it. Nearby, a bottle of pedialyte water was premixed and she used it to fill a corner shaped water bowl, setting the snake in it to soak for an hour or so. This would help build his energy then she would try feeding it and removing the ticks. She didn't want to stress it out too much for fear of it getting overwhelmed.
Placing the lid over the terrarium, Brooke glanced at the rickety clock which was the only decoration on their living room wall. It showed that her father had been gone roughly fifteen minutes. He'd be back soon, she reasoned, getting up to stand outside and wait for him. The air was chilly and it was late. The normally busy street was mysteriously empty and the girl shivered a little, looking up and down the road curiously. Not a soul wandered tonight. It was very unusual.
Shrugging, Brooke leaned against the wall of their stood and breathed the cool air deeply, shoving her hands into the pocket of her plain gray hoodie. The art store was a couple blocks off, so she figured she may wait another five minutes or so. Her father sometimes spent hours at the art store, but never at night when she'd be home alone.
She'd barely leaned her head against the cool stone when she heard a crash in the alley next to her building. Jumping, she leaned forward and listened for more sound, but none came. She held her breathed and wondered if it was a stray cat. She frowned. That meant that someone recently abandoned one because she was sure she'd caught all of the strays in her neighborhood and turned them into the Humane Society to get shots, fixed, and adopted out to new homes. Huffing, she walked to the alley and looked down it. It was all but consumed in shadow, but she'd walked up and down it enough times to know what was all there.
"Here, Kitty..." She cooed in the sweetest voice she could muster. She hated keeping cats over night in her house because she worried that her reptiles would be bothered, but she could lock it in the bathroom until morning. She'd get up early and bring it straight to the shelter. She clicked her tongue a few times, looking around for the cat. She couldn't see much, but she paused when her foot hit something hard. The something groaned and she stiffened, ready to run if she had to.
Gulping, she reached down to touch what was very likely a person who seemed to be either passed out or sleeping, though after the loud crash she heard, she doubted that he was napping. Instead of touching soft flesh, her hand ran over a hard, rough, curved surface that felt vaguely familiar. Frowning, she kneeled and used both hands to figure out what she was touching. The rough surface seemed to be a... shell?
"Hm," She said to herself, thoroughly confused. She blinked as she found what was quite obviously a head. A bald head. Then a muscled arm that had something warm and sticky coating it. Whatever this was, it was hurt and she knew she wasn't going to leave it there for someone else to find. She rolled the creature onto it's shell and hooked her arms under it's pits. She heaved. He moved an inch.
"You're heavy," She stated bluntly, frowning at the body. Still, she was stubborn. Grunting, she heaved again. Slowly, but surely, she managed to get him to her apartment. Thankfully, the street was still empty, because she could see now that the being was indeed a turtle. A giant man-like turtle. Letting his limp body lean against hers, she reached behind her hip to open the door and she dragged him inside, letting him rest on the living room floor. She hurriedly closed the door and moved to sit beside the curious creature.
"What on earth am I going to do with you?" She asked glancing doubtfully at the few empty aquariums she still had lining the far wall of the living room.
The creature, which she could only assume was male did not respond. Out cold, his breath came in shallow, raspy gasps through parted green lips. His plastron, lightly scarred rose and fell. Across his domed forehead were beads of sweat as if he'd been physically stressed. Olive colored skin stretched over muscled shoulders and toned arms and legs. The only clothing is seemed to be wearing was a purple bandanna, tied over it's eyes, and an old, worn leather belt tied around where Brooke assumed it's hips would be. Other than those two bits of clothing, he only carried a small duffel bag, strapped across his chest.
"What kind of DNA crossing could have done this to you?" She wondered aloud, feeling disgust pour like acid into her gut. her stomach twisted at the thought of scientists crossing species to create things like the creature lying before her.
Gingerly, she reached a hand out to touch the turtle's shoulder. His skin was surprisingly warm, she realized, before quickly pulling her hand away as if it had shocked her. Clutching her hands at her chest, she looked over her shoulder at the front door. Her father would be home any moment and she was going to have a heck of a time explaining this one.
Before she had time to worry about where she would put the unconscious turtle-man a series of clatters and crashes sounded again from outside and she tensed, half standing; ready to dash to the door and bolt it if necessary. Suddenly, the front door was flung open and her father, looking thoroughly harassed burst through, slamming the door behind him and fumbling with the locks.
He panted heavily, his hair in disarray and his coat hanging at his elbows. It was quite apparent that he'd run there.
Eyes wild, he turned, gasping," Brooke! Where-"
Black hues found his daughter and the turtle lying near her, eyes lingering on the mutated creature. A look of familiarity seemed to pass across his troubled depths, but it was fleeting and in her panic, Brooke was not completely sure she'd actually seen it. In a second, his attention was back on her.
"You have to get out of here," Ronald Thompson said, his normally cool and collected disposition shredded with fear and a little craze.
"What's going on?" Brooke asked.
"Just climb out of the back window and..." He paused, his gaze dropping back to the turtle who was groaning and holding a hand to his head," get him out of here."
"B-but-" Brooke stammered, but her father rounded on her, fisting the front of her hoodie to draw her to her feet.
"Get out!" He snarled, pushing her.
She stumbled a few steps, feeling confused tears prickle her eyes. The turtle-man was blinking blearily around, though it froze when it noticed her father.
"You!" The terrapin cried, tensing and trying to stand, though a heavily bleeding cut on the inside of his thigh made him hissed and bared his teeth in anger at Ronald, who only glared back.
"You both need to get out of here. Now," he ground out ignoring his whimpering daughter to stare at the purple banded turtle," It's Bishop."
As if caught in indecision, the turtle stood still for a moment longer before releasing a small growl of defeat and turning, leaning heavily on the couch. He glanced over the trembling blond offered his hand.
"I know somewhere safe, but I can't get out of here without a little help," He said.
Brooke swallowed audibly, jumping when she heard banging outside the door. Awake and standing, the turtle seemed much more frightening, but his chocolate eyes harbored a gentleness that made her place her palm in his three fingered grip. He didn't wait for another order from her father before pulling the girl towards the window.
She noticed his limp and was quick to let him lean on her. The banging outside the front door seemed to grow louder and their track to the window at the far end of the house seemed to be painfully slow. Brooke looked back as they neared it and stopped dead. Her father was staying by the door, using what he could to barricade it.
"Dad!" She called. He stopped his frantic movements to look at her sadly. Sighing shakily, his eyes drifted to the turtle, looking more perplexed by the second.
"Donatello..." Sharp brown eyes turned to his," I'm sorry for... just please..."
Donatello frowned at the man whom, when he'd seen him in the past had been cold hearted and cruel, had tears in his eyes, silently begging him for help he did not deserve. The girl, however seemed rather ignorant of the situation and Donatello was not going to throw an innocent into a den of wolves.
"I'll protect her," The turtle said, flipping the window's latch and lifting the pane. Without further explanation, he lifted the protesting girl and dumped her unceremoniously out, following quickly behind her. He grabbed her arm and she fought to tear back towards the window, but he pulled her along as he limped towards the manhole in the alley.
"We can't leave him!" She cried, desperately trying to wrench her arm away, but the turtle named Donatello ignored her. More crashes leaked from the window and she could tell that whomever was hunting her father had broken in. With a strangled cry, she turned away to find that the turtle had stopped and was staring at her.
"We have to get some where safe..." He said gently and gestured the man hole he'd uncovered. Throwing one last look at her apartment, she nodded.
A/N: I know, no Leatherhead, but I promise he'll be in the next chapter. :)