A/N: As promised the prologue for Betrayed Secrets. I hope you enjoy it.
Summary: Ava befriends the guys shortly after her and her mom moves to NY. 2 years later, her mother develops a brain tumour and needs an operation to save her life. Only problem is, the operation is more money than they dreamed of having. Her mother is a self employeed dance teacher. Ava's only choice is to approach her boss. He helps her. But his generosity comes with a price.
Hope you enjoy it. Feel free to leave your thoughts. Reviews feeds the soul. LOL
Disclaimer. I do not own tmnt. Only my oc's.
"Isn't it past your bedtime, girlie?"
Fourteen-year-old Ava Frost clutched the large brown paper bag tightly against her chest. She ducked her head down and tried to dodge past the trio of teenage boys that were leaning against a brick building.
"Hey! Mitch was talking to yah," another shouted.
Ava quickened her step, but she knew she already had walked into the spider's web. The three boys fell into formation and followed closely behind. They herded her into an ally and away from any would-be rescuers.
"Okay, blondie. Hand over the goods."
va stood facing a wall. She tried to will her body to stop quaking. She didn't want them to know how terrified she was. Instantly she hated her father. This as his fault - if he hadn't have found a new love and a new life, they wouldn't have been forced to move.
"Hey!" she tried to shout in protest as Mitch, the tallest of the three reached forward and grabbed the bag out of her hands. Horrified, she watched as he peered inside and frowned. He threw the loaf of bread onto the ground. Heartbroken, Ava watched it roll in the mud. That was supposed to last them the rest of the week.
"Your money," another demanded.
"I have no money," she stammered as he shook her by her shoulders. Instantly she started to cry.
"Ohh... what a baby," Mitch snarled.
Who is going to save me? She whimpered to herself as she began to fear for her life.
Little did she know, that high above her, a lone figure was playing in the shadows.
Why am I always the one that gets supper? the orange banded turtle wondered as he took the high route to their favorite pizza parlor. He stopped and paused on a rooftop, preparing to scale downward to the street. He glanced to his left and noticed the coast was not clear. His keen sight picked up the silhouettes of the three boys.
"Uh-oh. A damsel in distress," he muttered to himself as he saw the girl one of them held in their clutches. Stealthily, he slipped to the ground, landing with a cat's grace. He reached into his belt and withdrew his faithful nunchucks.
"Ah hem," he coughed dramatically from behind them.
Mitch snapped around. "Get out of here!" he warned the figure that was cloaked in the darkness.
"Not until you let the girl go," Mikey shot back.
"Ha!" Mitch spat back. "Fat chance pal!"
"Suit yourself," Mikey replied, his calm unruffled. With a skillful flick of his wrist, he set his nunchucks whirling and ready.
"What the…?" one of the three gasped as Michelangelo quickly lurched out of the darkness. He didn't give him time to finish. With an expertly executed snap kick, he sent the teen flying backwards through the air. Once he landed on his feet, he spun around and connected his foot into the second boy's stomach. The would-be attacker sank to his knees and moaned. Mikey jumped back into the shadows.
Mitch clenched his teeth. He spun Ava around and pulled her in close. "I will hurt her," he snarled.
"No you won't," Mikey sang out, confidently. Mitch looked around confused. Michelangelo's voice sounded closer.
"One step closer and she is toast." He reached into the pocket of his worn bomber jacket and brandished a jack knife.
"Didn't your mommy tell you it isn't safe to play with knives?" Mikey taunted.
He was closer, but Mitch still couldn't see him.
"Shut up!" Mitch yelled out. He was furious.
"You didn't say please," Mikey laughed. He was behind him now.
Mitch looked over his shoulder in surprise.
"Boo!" Mikey threw his right arm forward, planting his fist into Mitch's nose. Mitch's head snapped backwards and his body instantly went limp and crumbled to the ground.
Ava fell forward onto her hands and knees. Once Mikey was assured there was going to be no more trouble from the others, he turned his attention to her.
"You okay?" he asked, gently. Then he noticed her cradling her left hand. Lying beside her was the shard of a broken beer bottle she had cut her hand on.
Ava just stared up at him through her huge gray eyes, her jaw slack with shock.
"It's all right," he assured her. "I won't hurt you." He crouched down to her level so he wasn't so intimidating. "Your hand. It's hurt."
"Y... your…" she stammered as she looked him over, taking in his shell and green skin.
"A turtle," he finished nonchalantly. "And a ninja one at that." He smiled his prize-winning grin at her.
"Ninja?" she echoed faintly. What on earth was going on? She thought to herself. Maybe this is really one of those wackos that dress up like some sort of superhero.
One of the boys started to stir. She quickly glanced over at him, and her body tensed with fear.
"I better get you out of here," Mikey thought aloud. "Here, let me help you up."
Ava examined the outstretched green, three fingered hand. When Mitch attempted to scramble to his feet, she took a deep breath and quickly placed her hand into Mikey's. He helped her to her feet.
Of all places to move to and Mom had to choose New York.
"Hey..." mumbled a voice from one of the fallen boys. "Is that a big turt..."
"Oh, shell," Mikey mumbled. "Leo is going to kill me."
With one quick sweep of his muscled arms, he scooped Ava off of the ground.
"Hey!" she gasped as Mikey took off running.
"Don't worry. Donnie can help your hand. Right now we got to worry about getting away from those dorks."
Ava said no more. She didn't see the point. When Mikey thought it was safe, he set her down on her feet. He spotted a manhole cover and when he new no one would catch them he dashed over and opened it.
"Come on," Mickey waved at her.
Ava looked at him with raised eyebrows. "There?"
Mikey nodded patiently. "Yes."
In the distance, Ava spotted headlights of an on coming car. She took a deep breath before she went over and descended the ladder. Mikey followed close behind.
"Come on. We are close to home," Mikey informed her.
"You bet!" he replied. "Bet you didn't know you were living above a bunch of ninja turtles."
Ava shook her head. She stopped dead in her tracks and sang out, "So... you're not wearing a mask?" Mikey laughed.
"Sure I am. See." He reached behind his head and untied the orange tails of his eye mask.
"No, I mean... your face..."
"Nope. This face is genuine." His smile fell. "You still don't trust me?"
"I... just that..." Mikey walked over to her.
"Look, I just wanted to help you. That's what we do. Dad can explain things to you."
Ava looked up at him. Now that he was closer, she noticed that his eyes were the most beautiful color of blue she had ever seen. They sparkled with earnest innocence.
"Okay," Ava said. "I'm sorry... I just never... seen..." Mikey waved his hand in the air dismissively.
"Apology accepted," he told her as he started walking forwards once more. "Oh, by the way. I'm Michelangelo."
Ava smiled. "I'm Ava," she answered politely as she followed him deeper into the sewers.
Ava walked a step behind Mikey as he led her by her tiny hand around various twist and turns.
"Well, here it is. Home sweet home."
Ava looked straight ahead and was awestruck. They have an actual home? All the way down here? In the sewers?
Mikey saw the look on her face and smirked. "Impressive, huh?" Ava gave a slight nod. "Just wait until you meet my bros."
"Ahh. There you are Mikey. I thought we were going to have to send out a search party for you."
Ava looked to her right and saw another turtle entering the room. He looked like Michelangelo except his eye mask was purple.
"I kind of got sidetracked," Mikey answered apologetically.
"Finally," grumbled a rough voice. "Geez Mike. I'm starving here." Mikey looked up at his red-banded brother. He gave him the puppy dog look and accompanied it with an up most sweet smile. The turtle stopped dead in his tracks. "Mikey. What did you do?" He peered over his younger brother's shoulders where Ava was cowering. Her eyes flashed between the two turtles.
"Oh, Raph. She needed help. There were these boys and they were picking on her." Raphael furrowed his eyebrows.
"You just couldn't go and get the pizza like you were supposed to, huh?"
"Raph," the purple-banded turtle sighed. He turned his attention to Ava. "Hi!" he said cheerfully. "I'm Donatello." Ava flashed him a quick nervous smile.
"And you brought her here?" Raph continued, as if she wasn't in the room at all. "What were you thinking?" Mikey shuffled his feet, squirming under his brother's anger stare.
"She hurt her hand... and I thought Donny could help her. And the guys… I knocked them out, but they were not staying down for long...and ..." he let his voice trail off as his third brother and their sensei entered. Ava gaped as she took in the large rat's presence. She reached out and gripped Mikey's arm. "That's Master Splinter and my other brother Leo," he explained.
Splinter looked at his youngest son with raised eyesbrows. Leonardo's look wasn't as kind as their father's. It was a look that made Mikey understand he was in for a lecture about the importance of their secret lifestyle.
"Michelangelo, who is your young friend?" Splinter asked politely but with caution.
"This is Ava, Master Splinter. She got into some trouble." He looked at the floor, suddenly feeling foolish for inviting a stranger into their home.
Splinter looked upon the girl with concern. His eyes took in her dirty blonde hair that was in much need of a healthy trim. Dark circles were underneath her eyes and her lips were dry. The worn pink sweatshirt that she covered her tiny frame was much too light of a clothing choice for the cold New York evenings. Her jeans had holes in the knees and on her feet were flimsy black sneakers. His heart went out to her.
"Come here, my dear," he invited warmly, stretching his arm out to her. "May I have a look at your hand?" In all the excitement, she had momentarily forgotten about the nasty cut on her palm. Slowly she stepped out from behind Mikey's shell. She took four cautious steps forward and raised her hand. She was amazed how gently the rat took her hand into his own. "Donatello, get me a washcloth and ointment," he asked. "Don't worry dear. We can tend to your wound."
Ava breathed a sigh of relief. She knew it would be a costly venture to the emergency room. Because her mother was self-employed as a dance teacher, they had no insurance coverage. In a blink of an eye, Donatello was gone and back again.
"Thank you," she said in her soft timid voice as Splinter finished dressing her hand.
"You are very welcome."
"Hey… why don't you stay for pizza?" Mikey beamed.
"What pizza?" Everybody ignored the grumble that filled the background.
"I probably should be getting home," Ava replied regretfully. Pizza did sound good. It's been so long since they could afford that kind of luxury. Besides, she didn't want to intrude.
"The more the merrier," Mikey pressed. Ava caught the time on a clock that was hanging on the wall to her left. It was still only eight o'clock. Her mother wouldn't be home for another hour and a half.
"Well...okay," she faltered.
"Goodie!" Mikey exclaimed. He looked to his brothers, and wished they had reacted the same way.
"I will go get the pizza," Raphael grumbled. "And I will be back in fifteen." He purposely shot a glare at Mikey as he pushed past. Once he put on his tan trench coat and brown fedora hat, he disappeared.
"Ava, would you care for something to drink?" Splinter asked. Automatically, she liked her dry cracked lips. She was thirsty.
"Water, please?" She made it sound more like a question. What would four large turtles and their rat sensei drink anyway? Water seemed logical. She followed him to the kitchen and sat at the table. Donatello fetched a glass of water. Finally she had to ask the question that was burning the minute she laid her eyes on Michelangelo. "Wha... Who ... are you?" she asked shyly. "Where did you come from?" She was both frightened and curious to know the answer.
Splinter fixed himself a cup of herbal tea and sat across from her. "Allow me to explain," he started, expecting the question at any time. The others settled in to hear the story they have heard hundreds of times before. Ava sat back and listened to the whole story with great interest. Amazing, she thought. It was something you would read in science fiction, or something straight from the brilliant brain of Steven Spielberg. He told her of Hamato Yoshi, the mutagen, and the Foot clan. Raphael returned just as Splinter was finished his tale.
"The only thing we ask of you is to keep our lives a secret. Nobody would understand us. Or would be willing to understand. "
That explains the heavy coats and hat. It's a disguise, she realized. "Don't worry. I won't tell anybody," she assured them.
"Thank you," he replied.
"Is story time over?" Raphael blurted out as he tossed three large pizza boxes in the center of the table. "Because I'm starved." Ava hung back as they prepared for their supper.
"Here you go." She accepted the plate from Leonardo. "You can't hang back if you want something to ear here." He thumbed towards the almost empty pizza boxes. She giggled.
"I see." She bit into her slice of pepperoni and mushroom. The taste was more than she anticipated and she savored every bite. I bet Mom would enjoy this, she thought suddenly feeling guilty.
"Geez, are you going to eat your fingers too? There is more you know," quipped Raphael. Ava stopped licking the left over sauce that was on her fingers and felt her pale face burn crimson. She hadn't even realized what she was doing.
"You're going to have to come over more often," Mikey sang out. "We have pizza all the time."
"It's very good," she told him. "I have heard that New York has the best pizza around." Mikey grinned proudly.
"It sure is." Ava kept an eye on the clock. She was sad, as the clock hands got closer to nine-thirty.
"I better go home," she lamented. "My mom will be worried if I'm not home when she gets there."
"That is very responsible," Splinter complimented. "Leonardo shall make sure you return to your home safely." She didn't refuse the offer. She had learned a hard lesson about how cruel the late night streets of New York could be.
"It was nice meeting all of you," she told them as she followed Leo to the door. She smiled at Mikey. "Thank you for helping me." He shrugged.
"It's no biggie."
"Be careful, my dear. The city is not a safe place," Splinter advised. She took his concerned words seriously.
"Hey you can come back anytime!" Mikey blurted. "Can't she? I mean... she knows where we live... " Splinter smiled at the young turtle's enthusiasm.
"Yes she is most welcome to visit anytime."
Wow, Ava thought, feeling honored. Her first set of friends. "Thank you."
"We better get going," Leo butted in. "If you want to get home before your mom does." She nodded.
"Bye!" she waved. "And don't worry. I will protect your secret."