Somewhere in Europe:
Francis O'Brien was the new night shift guard in the criminally insane ward of Gregorsville Prison. He was patrolling the high security ward, his keys jangling on belt that held up his standard issue uniform. His flashlight was braced in his hand, its beam of light revealing what lay in the shadows. Rows upon rows of cells lay spread out before him. The walls were aged and green slime and mold clung to the gray stonework. Outside, a large storm was brewing, and Francis watched as lightening flashed, and temporarily illuminated what it could reach through the barred windows. Thunder roared, shaking the building, and echoing throughout the halls. Francis listened closely, and he heard the ocean as it angrily lapped on the rocky shore behind the prison. It added an odd roaring and crashing sound to the cacophony ringing through Francis's head.
As he was patrolling one cell block in particular, he heard whimpering from cell D13. Taking pity upon the prisoner inside, Francis walked over and shone his light into the cell. The sounds were originating from a bundle of filthy blankets in the corner of the rickety bed. The cell itself was as filthy as the rest of the cells in the building. It smelled of human waste and blood. The stench furled inside Francis's nostrils, making him gag. His nose crumpled in disgust as he called out to the prisoner.
"Hey! You!" he said in his thick Scottish accent. The prisoner continued whimpering, showing no sign that he heard Francis. Since he was just a trainee, Francis had not yet memorized which prisoner belonged in which cell. He had no idea what he was getting into when he fit the key in the lock and opened the cell door.
Suddenly the blankets flew off of the prisoner as he jumped for Francis. Terror coursed through Francis's veins, and suddenly he was on the ground, a slight weight standing on his neck. The shoe of the convict was pressed against Francis's throat, and he gulped.
The lightning flashed again, and Francis caught sight of his attacker. He was a small Asian man with spiky black hair. His temples were covered with stripes of pure white hair that contrasted with his black locks. His face was sharp and angular, with piercing, black, and beady eyes the cut into Francis's soul.
The small man leaned down and dug his long, sharp-tipped nails in a circle around Francis's heart. Francis couldn't scream because of the prison-issued boot cutting off his air supply. The man took his thumb nail and made one line slanted so that Dublich's wounds took the form of a "q". He sneered in Francis's face, and said in a slick oily voice as he snapped Francis's neck,
Leonardo Hamato stepped off of the private jet at JFK Airport in his hometown of Manhattan, New York. He was tall and muscular, his muscles nearly bulging out of his clothes if they were small enough. He had thick, wavy, black hair. A large lock hung slightly in his pale face, and he constantly found himself brushing it back out of his golden eyes. He smiled and held his fedora down on his head with one hand. The wind was coming in huge gusts, and the rain was pouring down on him. Leo sniffed and his grin grew when he smelt the scent of the rain that he loved. His long tan raincoat billowed in the wind and he clutched a black briefcase in one hand. Leo turned back to the plane and watched as a woman quickly descended the steps. He was suddenly struck with the notion of how black and white romance movie his was. It was even raining like every good plane scene.
She was also holding a briefcase in one hand, but her long black hair billowed and snapped in the intense wind. She jumped off of the last step and hurried over to Leo. As the woman got closer, Leo caught sight of her golden streaks that were embedded into her hair. She had a soft, round face that was slightly tanned. Her eyes were a bright, piercing green. Leo raised his arm that had the suitcase attached to his hand, and placed it around her shoulders. He pulled her close, and the woman smiled gratefully. With that the couple ran towards the parking lot, where a car was parked and waiting for them.
The woman climbed in first, and Leo quickly followed her. They fastened their seat belts, and Leo motioned for the driver to continue. The car started up, and they pulled onto the highway.
"Well Charley how do you think we did this time?" he asked with a good-humored grin, using his affectionate nickname for Charlotte.
"Oh I think you were a little off Leonardo." Charlotte replied, with a slight laugh.
"Isn't it great to be home?" he asked after laughing at her jab.
"Yes. Although I don't know how you can love this place so much." Charlotte replied with a roll of her eyes.
"Well when you spend as much time away from home as I do -I mean when I actually leave the city because the trouble is usually already here- you learn to love the simple things." Leo smiled softly at Charlotte, and his heart fluttered slightly when she smiled sweetly back at him.
"I guess it helps that our job is so dangerous huh?" Charlotte said.
"Yes." With that Charlotte leaned her head on his shoulder and yawned.
"I'm goin' to sleep big guy. Wake me up when we're at my building." She whispered, and then slowly drifted from consciousness. Leo smiled, and in his chest, his heart beat a thousand times a minute. He had to rely more upon his famous self-control then he ever had before.
Soon enough, they pulled up to Charlotte's apartment building and Leo gently, albeit reluctantly, shook Charlotte awake. She sleepily and clumsily climbed out of the car. Leo, worried about her safety, got out of the car and helped her to her apartment. Once there, he took her keys from her unsteady hands, and unlocked her door. He ushered her inside, and helped her to take off her jacket. Charlotte sleepily pulled out a pair of black, silk pajamas that made Leo blush furiously. They were showy, and he gulped. Charlotte started stripping down, and Leo ran out of that room as fast as he could. As soon as Leo exited her bedroom, he leaned against a wall and took calming breaths. He should not be in his partner's apartment, he never should have seen her undress, and he should not have enjoyed it!
Quickly, Leo went back to check on Charlotte. She was fast asleep in her bed, and was nestled deep into the covers. Leo smiled happily, and then turned off the lights in her house. Then he went back to the car and instructed the driver to drive him to his residence.
Leo grabbed his suitcase as he exited the car. It was pulled up in front of a tall, multi-story brick building. It was one of New York's older and elegant buildings, and Leo and his family had immediately fallen in love with its history and ancient beauty. Leo tipped the driver, and then walked towards the entry to the building. He took out his keys from the pocket of his trench coat, and unlocked the door. Quickly, he walked in, his shoes clacking on the floor, leaving definite wet imprints. Leo yawned as he made his way through the hall and into the kitchen/ living room area.
He dumped his keys in a bowl, and they joined the three other sets already in there. He shed his jacket, and he placed that in the hall closet with his fedora. Underneath his jacket he was wearing a black, long-sleeved muscle shirt, and tan pants. Silently, Leo climbed up the stairs to the next level.
The second level was owned by Leo's youngest brother Michelangelo. He was a chef at a gourmet restaurant, and had a raw talent for cooking. It was so rare, that Mikey had spent his whole life cooking something or another. Leo silently opened the bedroom door, which Mikey had painted bright orange, and peeked in on his baby brother. Mikey was fast asleep in his large bed, wrapped tightly in his orange sheets. Leo smiled and quietly shut the door before heading up to the third level.
On the third level was Leo's second youngest brother Donatello. Donny was the founder of a technology company that he himself had built up from nothing. It was wildly popular, and was the major producer of any technological advancement. Leo entered his brother's room through the purple door that signified he lived there. Donny was slumped over at his desk, obviously dead to the world. Leo shook his head, and walked over to his brother. He picked him up bridal style, and carried him to his queen-sized bed with its purple cotton sheets. Donny stayed asleep the whole time, and burrowed deep into the covers as soon as Leo placed them over him. Leo strode from the room, and headed up to the fourth floor.
The floor directly below Leo's belonged to his immediate younger brother, Raphael. Raphael was the owner of his own auto shop. He could fix just about anything that you can ride. Leo cautiously opened the red door that led to Raph's room. Raph was snoring in his red hammock, one of his legs hanging out. His snores were loud, and were barely concealed by the loud noises coming from a TV movie that Raph had left on. Leo chuckled quietly and shut off the small television set at the foot of Raph's hammock. Raph stirred and mumbled something, making Leo freeze. He hadn't meant to wake his brother. Slowly Raph drifted back into unconsciousness, and Leo breathed a sigh of relief. Leo quickly walked out of Raph's room, and silently shut Raph's red door.
Leo trudged up to his floor, and entered his room through the blue door. He opened his briefcase, and unloaded two changes of clothes. Next he opened a secret compartment in his suitcase, and pulled out 45 millimeter Sig Sauer. He cocked it and then pressed a button underneath his bedside lamp. The wall in front of him that held an authentic Leonardo Da Vinci painting flipped to reveal a wall of different weapons. Leo racked the Sig and flipped the wall back around.
Leonardo Hamato secretly worked for the CIA. He was a special agent, one of the best. No one knew about his profession, except for his partner Charlotte Winters. Not even his beloved brothers. If they knew, they would be in grave danger. Leo sighed and dressed himself in his navy silky pajama bottoms. Before he went to bed he sat at a small altar in his room. On the altar was an intricately carved wooden walking stick and a picture of an older Japanese man. Leo meditated in front of that altar for awhile before opening his eyes and standing. he bowed to the altar and whispered sadly, "Goodnight Father."
He climbed into his huge bed, and slid under the blue silk sheets. After a few moments, Leo fell into a deep sleep, his dreams consisting of what he wanted to do to Charlotte when he had seen her in her pajamas.
The next morning Leonardo awoke later than usual. He was still adjusting to the time difference from the country he had been in previously been in. Leo told his brothers he was a business man, and left it at that. He never elaborated on any details. His brothers accepted this, albeit reluctantly. It was around 8:30 when Leo trudged downstairs in his pajama bottoms and a baggy sweatshirt to hide his muscles. His wavy hair was sticking up in places, and his pants hung a little low on his waist.
When he walked in his brothers were seated at the bar, discussing a subject that Leo didn't know about. He strolled into the kitchen behind his brothers, them completely unaware of his presence. He began to prepare his tea, placing the kettle on the stove to boil. He watched his brothers interact, and wistfully wished that they knew him as well as he knew them. He knew their habits, favorites, talents, he knew everything about them. He even knew their secrets. Leo was jolted from his thoughts by the shrill whistle of the tea pot. He turned to take it off of the stove.
Leo chuckled when his brothers jumped in surprise, and even shrieked a little. Leo was pouring his tea when he was tackled by his youngest brother. Mikey squeezed him mercilessly. "Leo! Bro you're back!" he yelled, and Leo chuckled breathlessly. He had to admit he had been gone for a long time this trip. This mission had been one of his trickiest. He had been gone for three weeks. Next to tackle him was Donny. The usually calm turtle was giddier than Leo had ever seen him.
"Leo! When did you get back?" he yelled.
"Last night Don. It's good to see you, but try and make it to bed next time okay?" Leo said with a playful grin.
"I knew somebody put me to bed!" Don exclaimed.
With his two youngest brothers hugging him, Leo didn't really expect Raph, the tough hothead, to hug him too. He received the shock of his life when two pale arms with slight freckles wrapped around him.
"It's good ta have ya back bro. Ya were gone too long." He rumbled in his Brooklyn accent. Eventually they separated, and Leo took a look at them. Mikey's long blonde hair was still in his skater boy style, and it hung messily in his baby blue eyes. Raph's red hair was still spiked, effectively keeping it out of his chocolate eyes. Donny's curly brown hair stayed out of his hazel eyes naturally.
Mikey and Raph went upstairs, and got ready, and then were off to work. Donny worked from home most of the time, but he occasionally had to venture to his downtown office. Leo's brothers had quickly learned that Leo only ever did work when he was preparing to leave, or was already gone, and even then he never let them see what he was going over and researching.
Leo was relaxing on the couch when his cell phone rang. Don was sitting next to him, and they traded puzzled looks.
"Hello?" Leonardo answered the phone.
"Leo." Charlotte's voice echoed through his head, "Can you meet me at the Starbucks on Lexington?"
"Sure. What's up?" he asked worriedly. Donny looked up from his computer, and stared curiously at Leo.
"I really need to talk to you it's of the utmost importance." Charlotte replied, "I'll be wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and jeans. When you get there order a green tea if you're alone, but if you aren't just get black coffee."
"Alright I'll be there as soon as possible." Leo hung up and stood up from the couch.
"Hey Leo where you going?" Donny asked. Leo sighed inwardly and his conscience began to battle with his instincts. His conscience urged him to tell his brother about Charlotte, the CIA, and everything else he had been keeping from his brothers. His instinct, on the other hand warned him of the danger his brothers would be put in, and somewhere deep inside he felt the need to keep Charlotte especially all to himself.
"Oh uh… I'm goin' to get a coffee at Starbucks. You want one?" he said politely, his conscience berating him throughout his conversation.
"Yeah I'll have a peppermint latte." Donny replied with a smile before going back to work. Leo smiled and shook his head. He, of course knew exactly what Donny would want, but he felt the need to ask his brother so as not to creep him out. He walked down the hall and tramped up the stairs to his floor where he changed into jeans and a forest green sweater. He grabbed a scarf and his thick trench coat, and then he was out the door and strolling down the street to the nearest subway.
Down in the freezing underground, Leo passed through the electronic gates and hurried down the stairs to catch his subway train just in time. He ran across the platform, and slid through the closing doors into the almost empty subway car. As he sat down, Leo silently observed the people around him.
Across from him was an old woman carrying her grocery bags. The bags were overflowing with vegetables, odd fruits, and granola bars. The woman herself was wearing a thick sweater over a Christmas shirt. She was also wearing a long, old blue skirt that ruffled every time the woman shifted positions. Leo smiled at the woman, and she smiled back, revealing empty, dark pink gums.
Two seats down from her was an Asian man who was intently studying an English-Chinese dictionary. He was wearing an orange sweatshirt that reminded Leo of Mikey, red and orange polka-dotted earmuffs, and a puffy red jacket. His pants were crisp Tan slacks, and he was wearing nice shoes that businessmen usually wear. Leo smiled softly at the man's obvious poor taste in color coordination. He wondered vaguely where in New York he could have possibly gotten the earmuffs.
On the other side of the enter and exit doors of the subway car, another two rows of seats began. Leo spied a business man wearing dark slacks and a long tan trench coat not unlike his own. Perched atop his head was a nice, business-like hat, and he had his nose buried in his newspaper, which emitted a slight crackling sound every time he turned the page. One leg was crossed over another, and his foot still anchored to the ground was tapping impatiently.
Across from the business man, standing with a slump and gripping the rail was a young man in his teens. He had white earphones descending from his ears, and then diving into his pocket. He was wearing tight black jeans that were obviously sagging. He had on sneakers that were untied and almost too big for his feet. He was also wearing a black shirt with a large skeleton on it. The skeleton was resting a pool of red liquid, which Leo guessed was blood, and its mouth was agape. Over the shirt, the teenager was wearing a black leather jacket. His face was pale, and his cheeks slightly rosy from the cold of the subway and the outside air. He had dull blue eyes, and a long, almost beak-like nose. On his head was a black beanie that came down over his ears, and little wisps of blonde hair escaped out from underneath it. His face was pulled into a sneer, and his Ipod music blasted out and filled the subway car. Leo wondered if the teen could actually still hear right. This kid has way too much black on him. Leo thought, and then he shook his head and focused on the last occupant of the car.
The woman was African American, and her skin was the darkest Leo had ever seen. Her hair was bright blonde, and was separated into tight dreadlocks that she had bound together in a ponytail. Her lips were thick and bright pink. She was shifting nervously in her seat, fiddling with her messenger bag that had rainbow stripes. She kept glancing at the map on the wall of the subway car directly behind her head. She was wearing very light blue jeans that had various home-sewn patches on them. She also had a long sleeve t-shirt and a flimsy sweater pulled over her shoulders. Leo sighed as he took in what was obviously her only source of warmth.
As the train began to pull into Leo's stop, he reluctantly got up, and gripped the safety pole in front of him. The business man folded up his newspaper and tucked into his jacket, and then imitated Leo in holding onto the pole. The train slowed, and a garbled voice came over the intercom.
"Lexington Avenue Station." And then the train jerked to a stop, Leo bracing against the floor of the subway train. He stepped from the warm car into the freezing underground as soon as the doors hissed open. A crowd of people surged towards the doors, and piled into the car he just exited. Leo shivered and pulled his trench coat closer around his body. Quickly he ascended the steps to the snow white world above. The snow was falling from the gray clouds covering the sky above. Leo gazed up for awhile, watching as the delicate white flakes drifted down, before walking briskly towards the nearest Starbucks. Discreetly, he surveyed the area around himself and recognized nobody from before. The crowd of people he saw was just a sea of strangers.
Leo entered the Starbucks, which was full of chatting people and was warm in not just atmosphere, but in spirits. He got in line, and took in the smells and sounds of good coffee. When he got up to the counter, a perky blonde greeted him with a flirty bat of her lashes.
"Hi!" she said cheerily.
"Hello," Leo smiled and ordered a peppermint latte and a green tea. The girl smiled at him and charged his order on the register. Leo paid, but before he could walk away to wait for his drinks the girl stopped him.
"What's your name?" she asked in a husky voice, lowering her eyelids.
"Oh uh… Leonardo." He said before walking over to the counter where his drinks would eventually appear. He suddenly felt arms wrap around his waist, and he tensed nervously. He didn't recognize the presence for a second, before he realized that it was Charlotte who was holding him so intimately. He turned and she let go of him, but stayed close to his blushing body.
"Charley what are you uh… doing?" he asked nervously.
"It's my cover sweetheart." she whispered in his ear.
"Oh." Leo managed, as Charlotte ran her hand up his arm. This could work for him. He thought, but it wouldn't really be a real relationship like he craved.
"Come on Leo sweetheart let's sit while we wait for your drinks." She said, and she led Leo over to a small table with two chairs pulled up to it. Leo sat across from her, and made himself comfortable. He noticed Charlotte glaring at the counter, where the perky cashier was gazing in their direction. Leo shook his head and brushed it off as nothing. When his order was called, Leo walked up to the high counter where two drinks were waiting. He placed sleeves on them so he wouldn't burn his hands, and then walked back over to their table.
"I had to get something for my brother so he wouldn't worry, or suspect anything." He said in response to Charlotte's questioning gaze. She nodded, and then pulled her chair closer to his so she could whisper in his ear.
"Leonardo, we have a huge problem." She whispered, and Leo stiffened, "Dr. Quanatu has escaped from prison. When he was in his cell, the guards made reports of him mumbling about his revenge on 'those accursed agents'. We are in grave danger, and the boss has advised us to keep our eyes out for Dr. Quanatu's henchmen here in New York. It's too risky for Dr. Quanatu to enter the U.S. himself, so he has thugs swarming the streets in search of us. Be careful, and keep an eye out." With that, Charlotte finished her drink and got up. She threw it in the trash and gathered her purse from the table. She kissed Leo's cheek, and he became rooted to his seat with shock.
Not only had his infatuation just kissed his cheek, but she also had given him the news of his life, the news that would change his life forever.