Chapter Fourteen

It seemed to Leonardo that Miranda was falling in slow motion, and instead of panicking, he was calm, as if he had all the time in the world to reach her. In the moment that she leaped from the tower, Leo made an assessment of the distance between them and let his own body fall away from the line, snapping his glider open as he did so. He angled himself to the point where her trajectory would most certainly carry her, and prayed that the wind was enough.

It was.

She fell into his arms, cold and shaking with terror, and for a moment when her eyes first fell on him, it was as if she did not recognize him at all. But then her face softened, and he could see the fear melt away as she looked up at him. He glanced around them, checking for pursuit before he turned the glider sharply towards the Turtles' agreed upon rendezvous. She had an ugly bruise on her cheek, her hair was matted and her eyes were red and puffy, but she was smiling at him, and he smiled back.

"I'm glad that you're real," she whispered. "I thought for a moment that I just dreamed you up.....Leonardo, I'm sor-"

"Miranda, before you say anything else," he replied, "I know that you can take care of yourself, but I had to storm the castle anyway. I had to help you: not because it's 'my job' or because I don't think that you can help yourself. I want you to know, I figured out what was making me so afraid. It's because I love you, Miranda, and I didn't really know what to do about it. But I do now." He bent his head and kissed her, deeply.

She clung to him as the wind gusted around them and they parted so that he could steer. Leo banked carefully, soaring across the city, in broad daylight. Hopefully no one's looking up today, he thought.

"Well, I love you too, Leonardo," she said. "And I still think that we can do this; we're both too stubborn to give up easily." She leaned up and kissed him, momentarily disrupting their flight. The glider jerked a bit, but Leo managed to correct their path. Miranda giggled a little at the turbulence, and he looked at her again wonderingly.

"You do realize that we're airborne, right?"

She laughed and shook her head. "You know, Leo, I think I'm over it."

Epilogue:

"Man, I love Halloween!" Michelangelo exclaimed as they entered the Old Union, after the third person complimented the brothers on their fine costumes. "It feels so great to be topside with no stupid trench coats or hats!"

"Just try not to scare anyone, Mikey," Raphael said, nudging his younger brother's shell. "Hey Don, howsabout you and me get some refreshments?"

"How exactly does that work?" Leonardo asked Mikey as he watched Raph and Donatello slip towards the bar. Mikey shrugged.

"Don't worry about it Leo, it's all paid for, they just don't see us! Ninjas, remember?" They moved to the middle of the room, scanning the crowd for familiar faces. "Did you ever find out what she was dressing up as?"

Leo laughed. "Nope, it'll be a surprise to me, as well. Pretty good crowd."

Indeed, the Old Union seemed filled to capacity, and nearly everyone was in some kind of getup. Mikey bowed to a couple of girls dressed as geisha and grinned again. "Did I mention that I love Halloween?" The girls giggled and curtsied back before getting lost in the crowd just as Raph and Don reappeared, each with two beers.

Donnie handed one to Leo, his expression thoughtful. "About what happened to Miranda, I think that I can figure out what he did to her, and maybe reverse it with a little help. And since Bishop hasn't tried to find her yet, maybe all this is behind us."

"I hope so, Donnie," Leonardo said, accepting the beer.

"It's nice though," Don continued, "Despite all we've been through, it feels like a change for the better."

Leo grinned and offered up a toast; the four plastic cups clicked together just as a man, ironically dressed as a ninja, took the stage to introduce the band. As they filed onto the stage, Leo could see that everyone in the band was dressed as, what appeared to be a different mythical creature: a satyr, a djinn, a mermaid, and what appeared to be a phoenix made up the members of the band, except.....

"Oh, cool wings!" Mikey's exclamation was lost in the clamoring of the crowd, and Leo barely heard his brother, having focused all of his attention on Miranda from the moment that she walked onto the stage. She was wearing an artfully tattered blue dress, black and white striped socks, with a pair of large, silvery wings attached to the back of her garment. Her skin glittered, and a part of Leo's mind knew that he would be covered in the stuff later-but that didn't matter. Just before the band began to play, she caught Leo's eyes, reached behind her back, and fluttered the wings slightly, giving the effect that she was ready to fly. He grinned back and raised his beer in salute, pleased at her ensuing laugh.

Music filled the room, and soon the whole crowd was dancing. Mikey whooped and began gyrating wildly, and Raph and Don bobbed their heads in time to the infectious rhythm. For Leonardo's part, his body was still, but he was singing along, following Miranda's every motion, absorbing her every word. He sipped his beer and stepped out of the way of a couple of very drunk pirates, taking pleasure in the thought that his brothers were able to attend the show tonight. He even allowed his mind to drift ahead, to hours later: after the breaking down of music equipment and loading of vans; after the late-night snack run; after he and his family were safely home, to when he and Miranda would be asleep in each other's arms. Life was good.

The End