Disclaimer: TMNT is still owned by Eastman and Laird and Nickelodeon.

A/N: Ever look back at what you've written and think, "Wow, that's not where I thought this was going."? Ha, ha! That is this story. But I'm liking it more than the original idea, and I hope you do too…

Reception

At 5:42 pm, snow blew through the rotating door at Saki Enterprises. It swept tendrils along the marble floor and shivered the plastic fronds of the plants. It struck the receptionist's large, sweeping desk and she lifted her gaze from her computer. Her brow arched.

He didn't belong there, she thought, taking in the oversized sweatshirt, baggy jeans, and thick skater shoes trailing slush behind him. His head was tipped down, obscuring his face within the shadows of his hood. His hands were shoved deep into the front pocket of his shirt. His shoulders were hunched against the chill he'd brought in with him.

She fought the urge to curl her lip with distaste. In the dignified and modern décor of the foyer, he seemed garish and sloppy. Her hand twitched toward the security button beneath the ledge of her desktop.

But she was startled at the light voice which came from the shadow. "Cold out tonight."

She took a breath. Quiet warmth radiated from those three words. Her irritation vanished in a flash as she caught the faint sparkle of eyes within the hood. "Um, yes it is. Can I help you?"

"Yes, I'm sorry to bother you so late, but I was wondering if I could use your restroom. I've got about five more blocks to go and well…"

She glanced past his shoulder to the flurries pushing the rest of bustling crowd beyond the windows. She bit her lip. The bathrooms were reserved for clients and employees. The general public were not allowed to go wandering. She slid her eyes to him and he bounced on his toes, urgently.

A smile finally broke through. "All right. Go past the elevators and take a right. Our doors lock automatically at six, so…"

"Don't worry, it won't be a problem." His gentle voice hinted at a grin. "Thank-you." He took off and her smile deepened as she looked back to her work.

"Hey," his voice echoed down the empty hall. "Is this the boss man?"

She glanced after him. He had paused, stepping close to the large portrait resting between the elevators. "That is the late Oroku Saki, sir. His daughter, Karai, runs the company now."

"Family business," he said, mildly. He shrugged and pointed around the corner. "This way?"

"Down that hall, yes. See the sign?"

"Oh, sure, there it is. Thanks!" He disappeared.

The receptionist shook her head and finally pulled up the document she had been looking for. She pressed her knuckles to her lip, not seeing the screen. Why did he keep his face covered? Was he disfigured, maybe? The voice had been so young, but uncommonly kind. And here she had judged him when he walked in. Her brow puckered, guilty.

She didn't notice when his shadow slipped back around the corner and into the elevator he had called.


"There's Phase One," he whispered as a thick finger prodded the floor number. He stepped back, shivering and tugging at the collar of his shirt. His dark eyes narrowed at the carpet beneath his feet and he allowed himself a moment to listen to the dull music around him. He steadied his breath, clenching his teeth to stop a chatter that had nothing to do with the cold outside.

His gaze flicked up to watch the red numbers roll upward. His tongue flicked over dry lips.

Bad plan, his brother said. Stupid plan. Going to her like this. In public. Unarmed. Outnumbered. Alone.

Desperate.

"Trust me," he had said. "I'm putting an end to this."

"And when you're gone, too, what then?"

He grit his teeth. It wasn't going to happen. He wouldn't die tonight. But one way or the other, he was bringing his family closure.

Ping!

"Phase Two," he muttered, stepping out onto the plush red carpet.

The nineteenth floor had become a museum dedicated to the "late" Mr. Oroku. There were photos of his supposed youth in Japan (he wondered if the family shown were still alive). Degrees he'd mastered, his humanitarian awards and accomplishments, buildings he had designed and raised, aisle after aisle displaying the formal praises from the city and state.

Revulsion rolled through him as he walked.

Where was the ancient alien bug who had plagued the earth for over a century? Where were the ruined lives and devastation he'd caused? The underworld dealings, the black market trades, the funding of the Purple Dragons? Where were the gauntlets which bore the blood of four turtle warriors? His own included.

Where is Oroku Saki, Karai?

"Can I help you, sir?"

He looked ahead to an ornate doorway which led into her private office. A man stood at the modest desk before the door. His hair was swept back into the current style. His suit was Armani and he was evenly tanned. He was handsome, warm, and welcoming.

Disarming.

"I'm looking for Karai."

"I'm sorry, sir. Miss Oroku is in a meeting right now. Then, she has a dinner appointment. She is a very busy woman, you understand."

You have no idea.

The man tilted his head, trying to pierce the shadow which concealed him "If you'd like, I can deliver a message for you. Or I could schedule an appointment…"

"No," he said, quietly. "I definitely have a message for her."

The man only saw a blur before his cheek slammed onto his desk calendar. A knee pressed into the small of his back and a heavy palm ground his skull.

"You can tell Karai that her meeting is over."