Authors Note: Just a little history to this piece. It is the first piece I am posting that has chapters. It is a companion story to my friend Noble Maiden's piece titled: Rapture. Same as her story this piece is set in an alternate universe version of the Volume Four of the comic books. So it involves the Utrom's landing on Earth and Splinter's death, but goes off in our own directions and doesn't include a lot of the same plot point the original comics do. Enjoy!
She had never seen someone like him. He entered with a confidence she had to assume made human men jealous. She sat down the soft drinks that were in her hands, watching him seat himself at one of the small tables off to the side. It had been months since the alien Utroms had landed on Earth and with them had come such a vast variety of life forms that walking down the streets of New York City now was like being in a high budget science fiction film. Still her tiny café, on an out of the way side street rarely saw off world guests. She assumed most of them were not overly fond of tea.
A few of the other patrons glanced at him; she witnessed some chairs scuff a few feet farther away from his proximity. She didn't mind, she tried to judge much more based on the character the person eluded versus simply outside appearance and this individual held an air that made her respect him even before speaking to him.
He had been carrying a few books with him, as soon as he settled himself he opened one, flipping through a few pages. She considered her new customer for a moment before approaching. Surprised by the fact that unlike a lot of the aliens he had a very natural look to him. Most of the off worlders she had seen on the street looked like movie creatures; like if she knew they weren't real she would think they were a costume. Her new patron sitting and reading by himself looked just like a giant Turtle. He was a soft kelly green color with a dark brown shell. He had on elbow and knee pads and a blue bandana across his face. What really drew her attention was the duel katana that were slung across his back. She knew she should say something about the fact he had weapons inside her tea shop, but for some reason it didn't bother her at all.
She finally approached him, her curiosity quenched a little bit. She held her serving tray flat along her stomach, a tentative helpful look on her face. "How are you doing today?" Her voice was warm and it wasn't a forced sound. Something about him fascinated her.
His eyes slowly drifted up to her face, his expression neutral almost blank. The Turtle considered her before speaking back; it was still odd to him to be out in the open like he was. Up until the Utroms arrival he had lived his entire life hiding beneath the city. A mutant with no right to live within the spectrum of the world above, but all of that had changed and he was slowly adjusting to the new way his life preceded. One of his few human friends had spoken highly of this shop, so needing a break from researching alone below; he had come here for some company. The girl before him seemed sweet and earnest and he had to admit easy on the eyes. She had brown hair that famed her face in a flattering way; large dark eyes, nice skin and a build that was slender, but still allowed her to have the natural curves of the female form. He knew were his brothers in his place they would probably flirt with her. He honestly was not interested in that.
"I am well, thank you for asking." He bowed his head ever so slightly, to be polite. He could see a few of his fellow restaurant goers staring at there exchange and it simply made him shake his head. "Do you have jasmine tea?" He wanted something a little sweeter slightly different from the plain green tea he had been drinking by the gallons at home.
"Of course I'll bring you a pot." She bowed her head slightly in return and it made him smirk. She didn't seem like your average city girl. He could see why his friend April liked this establishment so much.
She couldn't help but glance back at him as she walked away. His posture and aura were so strong and his voice vibrated as he spoke. She could feel herself grip her tray a little more tightly and flushed, laughing at herself as she went to enter the kitchen for how foolish she was acting.
She was stopped before she could make her way into the other room. Another patron, a woman she had seen in her establishment a few times was rising from her seat. Her voice raising another octave with each word she spoke. Her demeanor condescending.
"You can't possible think that I am going to sit inside the same room as THAT." The customer pointed rudely at the Turtle, her whole posture haughty and demeaning. "Most store owners I know are intelligent enough to keep alien garbage out of there shops. Like anyone in there right mind would want to socialize with such a thing."
The Turtle didn't make a sound simply gathering the books he had been reading ready to stand. His intentions that day had not been to cause anyone conflict but simply to find himself some piece of mind for a few hours. He stopped half way out of the chair when the girl that had been waiting on him laid a purposeful hand on his arm.
"The door is right there." The shop owner's face was drawn now, her tone flat. "No one is stopping you from using it, but I can tell you one thing Ma'am. NO ONE will treat someone in my shop with as much prejudice and as little regard as you just did. You're not welcome here anymore."
The customer's jaw dropped. She flushed a bright scarlet either out of embarrassment or rage. The man she had been seated with grabbed her elbow and started to usher her towards the exit, obviously not wishing to allow this confrontation to continue.
The shop owner could hear them whispering feverishly to one another, but she paid them no heed. She turned to look at the Turtle as the door to her shop closed behind the departing guests. He was studying her with caramel brown eyes. She realized she was still gripping his lower arm and sheepishly slid her hand away.
"I'm sorry about that." She bit her lip. Why did his stare make her so nervous?
"What do you have to apologize for? That was possible one of the kindest things someone has ever done for me." He seated himself again, his eyes never leaving hers.
"Nah I am just an idiot who enjoys sticking their nose in other peoples business." One of her hands rose to sweep through the hair on the back of her head. She felt undeserving of his praise. She forced out a short laugh.
Still his gaze never waived. It was like he was looking inside of her and reading all the subtle things she was trying not to say. "You are far from an idiot and I am grateful." He then turned back to his book as if the subject was closed.
"My name's Lea." She wasn't certain why she felt the need to tell the Turtle this, but the information came spilling out of her and as soon as she said it she felt silly, He certainly hadn't asked anything about her. What on Earth was she assuming? "And I should go get your tea." She turned to rush away, trying to save herself face, but paused at the sound of his voice.
"My name's Leonardo, but all my friend's just call me Leo." She hazarded a turn. His expression had the slightest hint of warmth to it and then he smiled. It was like fireworks went off inside her brain. She had no explanation for the way he made her feel, how the very air around him seemed electrified by his aura.
"Welcome to New York City Leo." She spoke the first sensible thing that came to mind, but was confused when he chuckled.
"Thank you, but I feel like I had already been here for forever." She looked at him confused and he just smiled again. It was such an easy, pure exchange. She returned his smile without reason.
"Oh your tea!" it was her turn to giggle. Yet she didn't feel foolish, like she might have with other people. His expression was so kind and wise beyond his appearance in years. "I'll tell you what it will be on the house because of you having to wait forever."
"You don't have to…!" He started to protest. His eye ridges drawing together in a concerned expression.
"It's my place and I want to." She bowed her head at him and once again walked away to get his drink. Leonardo watched her leave, his gaze drinking in the sway of her hips. Smiling privately to himself he returned to his book while he waited.