A/N: By popular demand, I'm beginning this a day early. (My dear readers, forgive me, but... You're gonna be so-rrrrrr-y.) heh
Yeah, that's a cliffy warning. In the very first chapter. Might just as well get used to it, there are quite a few in this book. Because of all four brothers, Leo is the most stubborn and bone-headed of them all. :-p
Once again, the series is as follows: Book 1: Mikey in Love. Book 2: Raph & Ann. Book 3: Donatello Lost. Book 4: Leonardo's Angel.
The usual disclaimer applies. I own no turtles. not a single one. Unless you count the little glass ones that come in the tea-boxes. Those are mine. But they don't fight bad guys and Bishop doesn't want to dissect them and find out what color their organs are. Or maybe he does. You never know with that guy, he's a real nut-case. I'm actually rather glad I don't own him, either. I wouldn't have a clue what to do with him, he doesn't match anything in my house.
I do want to thank the owners and creators of our beloved TMNT for the joy their work has brought to me and for allowing us to tarry with their characters in the world of fan-fiction.
Ok, on with the show!
Chapter 1 -Leap of Faith-
Raphael jumped, knowing the next rooftop was too far away. It wasn't even flat. The old building had a peaked roof with dormers jutting out at various intervals. He knew he'd never make it. He only hoped he could draw enough of the fifty or so Foot soldiers hot on his heels into following him into the foolhardy jump, and give his brothers a chance to escape.
The fight had been raging for a while. Leo was injured, fighting now with one hand, his katana flashing like lightening. There were too many. Raph and Leo had been holding them off, but Mike's leg was bleeding from a sword strike and a Foot's blade had nicked Don with a lucky score to the skin between his plastron and shell. With taunts and by taking down the majority of those he hit with extreme prejudice, Raph managed to draw most of their attention toward him. Raph heard them calling to one another in Japanese.
Take the red one.
He grinned maniacally. Dat's right, boys. Come after da red one.
He sailed, free falling for a long, breathtaking moment before the side of the building came rushing up. He missed the main roof and grabbed at the gutter, but it slid through his fingers, tearing away skin. His changed momentum carried him into a small dormer roof with a crash that resulted in instant, black unconsciousness.
Below, a young woman was polishing an ancient wooden bench, humming an aimless tune as she rubbed the lemon-scented spray into the wood. The crash made her drop the rag and cringe, staring around in shock. When the shuddering noise stopped, she made her way slowly, cautiously, up the stairs. She looked around the hallway, but saw nothing. The offices were all empty and silent. She even checked the closets expecting to find something, anything, had tipped over, creating such a racket, but still there was nothing out of place. Finally she headed toward the rarely-used storage room toward the back of the building. No one had been in that room in months, and there was little to collapse or fall over in there. Still, it was the only room left, and that crash had come from somewhere.
She reached the door to the storage room, and hesitated. The door was warped, the hinges stiff with age. She slowly pushed it open, wincing at the loud creak and the rattle of debris being pushed across the floor. She blinked. The normally dim, musty storage room was bright, fogged with a hazy glow.
Fire, was the first thought that came to her mind but there was no heat, no choking, smoky smell. The light was steady and clear, not the flickering yellow of flames. She gasped as she stepped into the room, noticing for the first time that the ceiling, indeed, the entire dormer roof was now open to the sky.
Beams and studs showed like weathered bones where the plaster had been ripped away. She coughed as the dust tickled her nose and lungs. The walls' outer shells seemed mostly intact. Most of the roof was gone, as if… as if something had fallen through it from above. She stepped into the room, staring up at the destruction, and nearly tripped over the prone form on the floor at her feet.
At first glance, she thought he was buried in debris from the roof, and she knelt, reaching to clear it away, to help him. She froze. A closer look revealed that the gold-and-brown carapace was part of his natural form. What on earth? She took in the green skin, two-toed feet and three-fingered hands before she noticed the odd angle one of his legs was turned to, and the numerous cuts. One particularly nasty gash on his head was leaking quite an impressive amount of blood over the dusty floor.
She hesitated only an instant before kneeling near his head, checking for a pulse and beginning the work of stabilizing his neck and applying pressure to the head wound.
Whatever you are, you're hurt and you need help. Thank goodness for the first aid training. I suppose it wasn't a total waste of time. She quickly checked his vitals, relieved to find his breathing steady, if labored. Sorry, Pastor Gene, she thought as she snatched a clean choir-robe from a hanger and began ripping it into strips to bind his head. She stopped up the leaks as best as she was able, and turned her attention to the leg. Best to set it now, before he woke up.
If he wakes up. Heaven knows what kind of damage he's sustained, with that head injury. She tried to banish the thought from her mind. Oh, Lord, protect him from damage. I can't take him to a hospital. I'll get him stabilized before I call Gene. His army training means his medical knowledge is far more advanced than my first aid courses. And he'll help this creature; I know he will.
Working with quick, expert hands, she pulled the limb straight, working to align the broken bones properly, and splinted it with more strips torn from the choir robe and a piece of the wood from the broken roof. Satisfied that he was stable, she leaned back, considering her odd patient.
I hate to move him, but I don't have a choice. He can't stay here. She took hold of the top edge of his shell and very carefully dragged him out of the storage room. He was heavy, but she kept at her task, knowing the repairmen the Pastor would need to call in could not see him. Heaven knows what they'd do with someone like you, she thought, gazing down at the dark green face. Probably call the police. And then what? Scientists? Government agencies? Where would they put you? Probably in a zoo, if you were lucky. Certainly not in a hospital, which is where you should be. She sighed. Sometimes I don't like people very much.
Fortunately the counseling office was just down the hall, and there was a comfortable couch inside. She dragged him through the door, his carapace just clearing the entry. It took some effort, but eventually she was able to lift him onto the couch. She covered him with a blanket decorated with a verse that had been laid over the back of the sofa.
'Some have entertained angels unaware'… well, if that isn't appropriate, I don't know what is. He may be an unusual example of God's children, but his body structure suggests he's humanoid at least. I hope I'm not making a huge mistake. It's not every day that one meets… someone… like him.
Who says angels are white and wear wings? Perhaps they are green and wear shells to protect them during crash-landings. A smile passed over her face. I must call Pastor, though what he'll think of you, I don't know. Still… I've known him for a while now, and if he can hear my story without flinching, surely he can handle someone like you. She turned to the desk, and picked up the telephone.
"Hello?" Gene Spencer's rich baritone rolled down the wires, bringing a smile to the woman's face.
"Pastor Gene? It's Sierra Jonstone. I'm at the church. I need you to come by. There's been an accident."
"Sierra, what happened? Are you all right? Do I need to call for help?"
"No, no, I'm fine. Can you please just come as soon as possible?"
"I know how you feel about hospitals, Sierra, but if you're injured…"
Sierra shook her head, though the man couldn't see her through the connection. "Gene, I'm fine, I promise you. The roof in the old storage room upstairs has been badly damaged and… I need you to bring some medical supplies. Bandages, antibiotics, something for… stitches."
"Sierra, what's happened?" The man's voice rose with alarm. "I'm calling an ambulance. Don't worry, I'll go to the hospital with you. I won't leave you alone, I promise…"
"No!" The woman's shout of desperation stopped his frantic outpouring. "No. Gene, I'm not hurt. And… the person who is can't… Please, Gene, just come. I'll explain everything when you get here, ok? Please, you know I wouldn't ask this of you if it weren't… necessary. Please, just come."
"All right, Sierra, but I'm not promising not to call an ambulance if I think this… person needs one, all right?"
"All right," said Sierra. "You'll see why when you come. I'll see you soon."
Sierra put down the phone with a sigh. She turned to the still figure on the couch. "Now, what am I supposed to do with you?" she muttered.
She knelt beside him again, this time taking a closer look at the strange visitor. Her cursory examination and treatment had left quite a lot of blood and dust caked on the dark green skin. "It's a good thing Gene's known me for so long. Anyone else would've hung up and dialed 911. Gene wouldn't do that, though."
She looked the creature over, frowning. "I suppose the first thing is to clean you up," she said softly. Very gently, she reached up and removed the crimson mask that covered his face. With out it, he looked more vulnerable, softer somehow. She set the mask aside, and brushed a gentle hand over his forehead.
She got up and hurried to the restroom, wetting as many paper towels as she could carry with warm water. Rushing back to his side, she began sponging away the blood and dust that caked his face. Unwrapping his head wound, she checked to see that the bleeding had nearly stopped.
She tsk'd. That really should be stitched, she thought, examining the gash. For now we'll have to settle for binding it more carefully. Gene will be here soon; he'll know what to do.
Hearing footsteps downstairs, Sierra hurried to the door and slipped out. Something too-quiet about the movements in the sanctuary stopped her from calling out. Pastor Gene's footsteps were sure and distinct. The sounds she heard now rustled and slid through the church, the sounds muffled and barely noticeable.
She slid down the stairs, silent on the carpet, and peeked around the corner. Sierra was certain she saw movement, up in the front near the old wooden pulpit. She frowned, staring into the dark.
The light was dim and only shadows were visible, moving around the sanctuary. She hesitated. Someone was in the church but whether they were friend or foe, she couldn't tell.
It seems if they were friendly they would not need to sneak about in the house of God, she thought.
She turned, and started back up the stairs. She never saw the black-clad ninja slipping up behind, or heard the whistle of the truncheon as it came down on the back of her head.