*The following is a fictional account, in which none of the TMNT's belong to me. Since this is number ten in a continuing series, there is a significant "back-story" already established. That being said, I will try hard to catch everyone up as we go along, so that you won't have to read all my other fics to know what's happening.
A huge thank you to my betas on this project, Mikell, and sait4soreeyes. Without Mikell's encouragement, I never would have traveled this far into the fanficition world, or had as much fun doing it. Special thanks to sait4soreyes for stepping in for me at the eleventh hour, and speeding her way through my material to further assist me in editing.
I had such kind reactions to Reunions (my Christmas Oneshot) that I decided to go ahead and release Redemption a week early. Whether that's a good thing or not, you'll have to let me know. ;) I guess there's nothing left to say, except here we go again.
The Asian woman felt naked; utterly exposed in the early afternoon sunlight, though she was fairly certain no one had noticed her scaling the fire escape. As she climbed her eyes roved in all directions, while paranoia weighed heavily on her mind. Her respiratory rate had increased, despite the fact that she wasn't being forced to exert much effort.
The woman had to pause in her climb when she heard a sound from the window above her. She flattened against the building and held her breath, waiting for what felt like an eternity for two voices to retreat. She needed the clear path to get by, hoping to avoid being seen by all prying eyes. The woman took two steps at a time now, carefully shifting her weight to make as little noise as possible on the metal staircase.
Two more levels - you can do this! You are too close to get discovered now.
Her heart beat faster as she approached the window she needed, but she drew her hand back when she realized that it was already broken.
No...they beat me here! What if they are still...
The woman didn't take time to finish the thought, as she froze up completely for a few seconds. Her mind began screaming at her to run the opposite direction, but her feet would not obey. Instead she drew her firearm, and slowly inched closer to the window. It was possible that they hadn't found what they were looking for. The chance of getting it for herself was enough incentive for her to at least listen outside, to see if she could hear anything from the apartment. For a solid five minutes the woman crouched on the fire escape under the window, straining to pick up any sounds from inside.
They would not stay after daylight, she finally reasoned with herself. They would have to assume they would get caught. They are not as suicidal as I have to be.
The woman slipped through the window before she could talk herself out of it, and mutely studied the torn apart remnants of the small living space.
Please...oh please tell me they did not find it.
She kicked through debris sadly, but had no time to sift through anything. Coming here at all could spell certain disaster; but her life was already in shambles, so risking it more didn't feel like it made a difference. The woman slipped out of the bag she'd been hauling around for half the night, ever since being flushed out of the relative safety she'd thought she could trust.
She was no longer dealing with one set of enemies but two, and this new adversary was going to complicate things a great deal. She'd run out of people that she could trust inside of the city, and had no one left to turn to. The reminder of one individual tugged at the back of her mind, but she impatiently silenced the thought. She couldn't bear to incriminate anyone else along with her, or they would end up no better off than she was.
The woman tried very hard not to look at the destruction that surrounded her as she moved silently through the apartment, with her gun still drawn protectively. With every new room her heart-rate increased, but there was no one in sight. After making a full sweep, she turned quickly for the bathroom, and found even that room in shambles. One look at the wall was enough to bring a smile to her face. They hadn't found it.
Without hesitation she boosted herself onto the counter-top, and felt blindly behind the cabinet hanging on the wall. It was a small gap, but not too small for her hands. She searched around behind the piece until she located the release. With a soft exhale she flipped both sets of locks, and yanked the cabinet off the wall. There was a compartment here that wasn't even visible to the naked eye, unless you knew what you were looking for.
The woman deftly grazed the wall until she felt the edge of the panel, then forced it open to give her access to the safe. Even though it looked undisturbed, she still held her breath as she typed in the correct code, and got the final door open. She let the breath out shakily when she laid eyes on the discs, and the stack of yen notes that had been steadily growing over the last year.
Swiftly she emptied the contents of the safe and shut the panel, not bothering to put the cabinet back up. It wouldn't matter if anyone found it now. She hurried back into the kitchen to stuff both the discs and the currency into a protected interior pocket in her bag for safe-keeping. Part of her was tempted to dig through the rubble, but she thought better of it.
She had just drawn the bag over her shoulders again, when a flashing red light caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. With a cornered feeling she walked toward the blinking apparatus sitting on the shelf, and it glowed solid red now that she was standing in front of it.
A motion sensor? Why would they bother to leave...
The explanation occurred to her in seconds, and it fit the gang's MO perfectly. She dropped the sensor as if it were on fire, and began digging through the shelf and then the counter top, searching like mad for another device.
It could be anywhere!
When the desperate digging through the kitchen rubble didn't reveal what she was looking for, she turned toward the window with a half sob. Whatever had been started, it wasn't likely that it could be stopped before time ran out. With her own cowardice clawing at her heart, the woman dashed for the window, and forced her way through back to the fire escape. With a gravity defying leap she jumped down to the next platform without bothering with the stairs, or with the idea that someone else could hear her.
Her feet had barely touched on solid ground before the sound of an explosion above her made her cringe and throw herself against the side of the building in frustration. She remained that way for a few moments, kicking herself for not even thinking to check for traps.
It is their signature move - how could you let your guard down?
The thought of the police that would soon be swarming the property had her scrambling to stand up straight again.
If you get caught here, then you are truly finished!
The woman charged around the side of the building, running at full speed. Escape was now the only thing that mattered.
7,600 Miles Away
The chill of winter clung to the night air around them, causing the two turtles' breath to appear like ghostly vapor as they hesitated on the rooftop, scanning the ground below.
"There, Donny! Like two rats jumping off a sinking ship!"
Donatello turned to glance at his older brother, and couldn't help noticing how much more dangerous the red-masked turtle's eyes looked in the light of the nearly full moon.
"Let's get on 'em, Raph, before we lose them again!"
Both turtles rapidly descended over the edge of the building, alighting first onto the fire escape, before swinging the rest of the way down to the street level. Donatello had tried to keep an eye on their runners as they traveled down, and noticed when the two young men split in different directions.
"It's every man for himself, Raph."
"Those two gotta date with justice, Donny - it'd be shame for them to miss it. You wanna take the one, and I'll go for the other?"
Donatello nodded, but Raphael wasn't waiting around to even see the motion. His brother bolted after the one that had cut through an alley directly across from them, and Donny swiveled to relocate his target, who'd taken a right turn to run straight up the street.
The boots in which he was running in weren't entirely comfortable - but then, he wasn't used to being forced to wear shoes at all. Even in the dead of winter they'd never really bothered, but that was before they had an overzealous doctor along with several girls at home to ride their shells about it. He and Raphael hadn't planned on spending a lot of time on the surface tonight, even if they were dressed for it. It had been a quiet couple of weeks, and Raphael was coming down with a bit of cabin fever. He'd been eager to find something (or someone) to bust up tonight, and Leo and Mike had looked too darn comfortable with their girls. Donatello had spoken up quickly to join him, simply so Raphael wouldn't be out alone again.
Donatello yanked his hat down further over his forehead to conceal his appearance, as the chase continued into a populated part of the street. He dodged around a few people, including a man who was much too busy talking on his cell-phone to notice that a mutant turtle was barreling past him.
Oblivious. There's a good reason half the city doesn't already know about us.
Donatello's eyes widened at the sight of a street vendor's cart that had just been hurled his direction by the kid running from him. The turtle had plenty of time to side-step it, but something made him also turn back, to yank the cell-phone man out of the path of the incoming missile. When the stranger unwittingly cursed at him, Donny had a hard time resisting the urge to take his phone and pitch it.
"Open your eyes, you idiot!" It wasn't the most compassionate response he could have come up with, but the turtle was irritated and in a hurry.
Donatello almost cursed himself when he realized that he couldn't see his runner anymore. Getting tripped up back there had worked in the guy's favor after all, but Donny wasn't giving up that easily. He separated himself through a few more random people, and began scanning the street in front of him, hoping for another glimpse of the would-be rapist.
He can't have gotten that far ahead of me! Shell, if he's gone inside somewhere, I've probably lost him for good!
As Donatello silently excused himself past a disheveled man righting his overturned shopping cart, his attention was drawn by rapid movement from his left in the street. He lunged toward the road, and saw the object of his pursuit trying to make a clean get-away. With a half grin, the purple-masked turtle rolled over a parked car, and avoided the oncoming traffic with much more ease than the teenager had.
The kid was running at what Donatello expected to be his break-neck pace, darting into a side alley just as the turtle hit the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street. He fingered the wood of his bo with anticipation as he surged after him. Donny could hear the boy's ragged breathing, heaving with difficulty as he ran out of the other side of the alley. He was slowing down - a sure sign that the human was on the ropes.
Donatello followed him onto what turned out to be a residential street, lined with houses on both sides. As he darted into the shadows hidden from the streetlights, the turtle had only a fraction of an instant to duck the wild swing of a baseball bat. The exhausted young man was now standing behind two others, probably trying to catch his breath while his friends took care of business.
Donatello's eyes narrowed behind his mask, as he descended on the youth with the bat. He'd gotten a hand onto the weapon to yank it out his grasp, when he was assaulted by a thick spray from the other direction. Confusion barely had time to register before it hit him directly in the face, and instant blindness ensued.
The turtle had to force himself not to rub his eyes of the agent that felt like it had to be some kind of pepper spray. Donatello's throat constricted, even as an excruciating cough ripped out of his chest from breathing in the same fumes. He knew better than to touch his face, but the urge was becoming almost irresistible as the burn worsened, and his eyes felt like they could explode.
Amidst those terrible sensations he felt the wind of something closing in on him and feigned to the side, stumbling as the chemical reaction caused his muscles to feel heavy and uncoordinated. Donatello planted his feet firmly beneath him, right before a sucker punch to the jaw drove him over what felt like the curb.
The blow itself left him feeling a little dazed. Donatello felt the same wind bearing down on him again and tried to avoid it, but the hard object made contact with his plastron that time. The turtle stumbled slightly as it swung again, crashing into his shoulder as he tried to roll out of the way. He panted painfully as he blindly tried to escape the onslaught. He felt his cell-phone vibrate, but had no time to grab it before the object bore into his chest again, with the most force yet. It was hard enough to breathe with the way his throat was swelling, but now the air had been knocked out his lungs completely.
Donatello struggled to get unsteady limbs back under him, and sensed the accursed weapon bearing down yet again. He angrily raised muscular arms and caught it this time, breaking the bat over his knee before hurling the splintered remains. Someone's fist just grazed his chin before he turned out of it and drove his own arm toward the attacker.
He felt the connection with him, even if he couldn't tell how bad it had been. The purple-masked turtle could hear the boys yelling, shouting encouragement at each other as they taunted him, avoiding the follow-up blows Donny tried to mete out. His fists were flailing with nothing but air, as he searched for a target in vain. Without warning his attackers collided with him from behind at the same time, forcing him to sprawl back onto his knees in the street.
Another fit of coughing took him, hurting even worse than the first. Further laughter mocked him as he forced his feet under him, and staggered when he couldn't center his weight. His phone was going off again. Donatello grazed the device with one hand, right before he heard the unmistakable shriek of braking only a couple of yards away from him.
Alarmed, he tried to lunge out of the path of an oncoming car, but his slowed muscle coordination was against him. The hood of the car collided with his shell and propelled him forward into another parked van. He felt an explosion of pain as his head struck the vehicle, but it was the last thing he was aware of before slumping backwards to the pavement.