Disclaimer: I do not own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The original characters and plot, however, are mine. No copyright infringement is intended.
Claire leaned her head back taking in the cold air and slowly closed her eyes, exhaling sharply. She opened them again and watched her breath disappear up into the night sky. Just another starless, New York City night, she thought. Off in the distance, a police siren blared and Claire tensed up, focusing on the sound. As the siren began to slowly fade making its way to the intended target, she relaxed her body. She turned to Brad, grabbing his arm to check the time on his shiny, expensive watch. One thirty AM – it's go time. She looked up at her accomplice who gave her a smile and nodded his head. Her hands were shaking with excitement as she pulled at her black gaucho pants and adjusted her blonde ponytail. She felt so alive in this moment, knowing what was about to happen. The thrill of the chase, the satisfaction of the take-down.
She took one final look around to be sure they were alone and threw Brad a mischievous smile. He ran a hand through his long, black hair and smirked at her as he pulled a black mask over his head. Claire took a deep breath and pulled her ninja mask over her head, adjusting it so only her eyes were visible. Brad placed his large hand gently on her shoulder. "Ready?" he whispered, his voice slightly stifled by the mask. Claire nodded her head enthusiastically. They stood outside the entrance of a dark warehouse, a dim light visible in the back of the building. They peered out into the space towards the light where a group of men had gathered, silently loading boxes into a van.
"Let's do this!"
Together, they quietly maneuvered around the various boxes and stored machinery, working their way towards their objective. They were no more than fifteen feet away from the men when suddenly someone shouted "Hey!". Claire quickly ducked down behind a crate and glanced at Brad who signaled with his hand for her to stop.
"I see you eyein' the stuff!" came the voice again. "The boss said the shipment needs to be 'untainted'". Claire craned her head around the box she was hiding behind to get a better view. "NO TOUCHIN'!" he barked. She frowned when she noticed he was holding a shiny silver handgun. She felt a wave of panic run over her. This wasn't the usual job – the bad guys they normally took down were lightly armed with only baseball bats and their fists. She looked over at Brad and motioned towards the gun. He shook his head almost imperceptibly, but the concern in his eyes was apparent. Whatever was in the crates must be important.
Claire looked up towards the ceiling, analyzing the light source overhead. Pulling out the pellet gun from her belt, she aimed at the light for only a second and quickly pulled the trigger. With a pop, the lights went out, plunging the warehouse into complete darkness. Angry shouts of protest filled the air and someone started firing their gun. "Shit", Claire muttered. She ducked back down behind the box and pulled out her night vision goggles from the small pack she had belted around her thigh. Hurriedly, she adjusted them and clicked the switch on.
"I bet ya it's those god damn freaks! Those big ugly green ones I was tellin' ya about!"
Claire frowned. What the hell is this guy talking about? He must be high on something.
"Stop shooting, you fuckin' moron!" one of the men yelled. "You are going to kill someone! Go get the flashlight from my bag." The gunfire ceased and Claire took the opportunity to look over at Brad, waiting for the next move. Claire watched as Brad took out a handful of small black marbles from his pack and flung them through the air away from their hiding place. As soon as the marbles hit the ground, the men shouted and she could hear footsteps running towards the distraction. That was their cue.
Claire and Brad quickly vacated their posts, quietly sneaking up behind the men. Claire spotted one of the men with a gun and spun him around, kicking the gun from his hand. "Ow-what the-!" he yelled in surprise. Sweeping his leg, Claire knocked him to the ground and she landed a swift elbow to his head, knocking him out cold. She stood up, kicking the gun away sending it sliding across the warehouse floor. She looked up and saw a large man making his way towards her, arms swinging wildly in the dark. After ducking and dodging each shot, Claire landed a hard uppercut to the man's stomach. He cried out and swung an arm at her blindly, catching her in the face. The blow rattled her concentration and she felt the anger inside of her spark. No! her mind screamed. Suppress, control, redirect, she chanted the mantra her Sensei had taught her to control her anger. Glancing up at the man who was doubled over, she repeated the phrase. Suppress, control, redirect. Taking a deep breath, she took out his knee and sent him flying with a kick and a "Kiyah!" She walked over to the man now slumped over on the ground. "You're lucky I've learned to control myself. Otherwise, you probably would never be able to use that leg again." Unable to help herself, she gave him an extra kick in the ribs. "Stay down, creep" she sneered.
Looking around, she realized there were only two men left – both of them on the other side of the warehouse near Brad. Knowing full well he could handle himself, she took the time to study his fighting style. He wasn't as precise and technical as Claire, but that was because she was trained. She was a first degree black belt. He was just a gym rat who had aspirations of being a UFC star – but he was big and strong and it was proving to be effective. His fist shot out catching one of the men square in the jaw and the man fell to the ground, unmoving. The other man had managed to capture Brad from behind in a bear hug. The guy didn't stand a chance. Brad was huge and he put forth no effort in shrugging him off, grappling the man and sending him to the cold, concrete ground with a power slam. Panting heavily, he turned and looked towards Claire, giving her a thumbs up.
They were the perfect team. Strength and quickness. Brutality and precision.
Claire surveyed the warehouse, marveling at their work. Most of the men had been taken down by Brad. Though Claire was very proficient in martial arts, she was still tiny – relying on the darkness to help take care of her share. "Your gadgets have really come in handy", she said to Brad, tapping the goggles with a finger. "I know," he replied with a smile. "Some guy at the gym – ex-military – gave 'em to me." As Claire worked on steadying her breathing, she walked over to one of the boxes that had been loaded into the van. She lifted up the lid and peered inside. "EMPTY?!" she shouted to Brad. She didn't understand. Stumbling back from the van, she turned her confused face towards him.
They usually never touched anything after taking the criminals down – they merely did it for the rush of the fight. What they do is dangerous, sure, but they were both more than capable of pulling it off. The presence of guns tonight, however, had piqued her curiosity. "I dunno, babe. Maybe it was a set-up or somethin'", he said. "This doesn't feel right - let's get out of here and call the cops." Grabbing Claire's hand, Brad led them out an emergency exit door in the corner of the building.
"No, sir, the targets never showed. It appears to be two civilians – should we pursue?" A voice spoke into a communication device. In a dark corner of the warehouse, high up in the rafters sat several dozen Foot ninjas. "Understood, sir. We will not pursue."
Claire hung up the payphone and turned to Brad. "OK, cops have been alerted, we are good to go." They ran until they reached Brad's car – a shiny, brand-new Dodge Charger he had parked in the lot across the street. Jumping inside, Brad started the car and gunned it down Sixth Avenue, tires screeching. When they were a few miles away from the warehouse, Brad pulled over and put the car in park. They both turned towards each other with huge grins on their faces. Laughing, Claire reached for the car door and swung it open. She did a little victory dance as she made her way to the back of the Charger. "So, come back to my place?" Brad asked hopefully. Claire chuckled, deciding to tease him a bit. "Nah, I need to get home. Anyway, I'm on Delancey – I could just walk home from here", she said casually. Leaning up against the trunk, she watched as Brad pulled a change of clothes from the car. Peering over her shoulder, she observed him pull off his shirt, ball it up and throw it into the backseat. Claire couldn't help but stare at his incredibly toned body. He caught her gaze and grinned at her knowing she was admiring the view. She pulled her lips into a fake pout when he finally put on the new shirt and felt a shiver run through her.
Fighting had always given her a rush; she loved how it pushed her emotions high. A really good fight had always left her body tingling, wanting; unsatisfied. Tonight had been especially dangerous and those feelings felt more intense than usual. They hadn't taken on guys with guns before. Brad made his way to Claire and put his hand gently to her face. Nestling her cheek into his hand, she stared up at him, her brown eyes sparkling.
Claire felt a stab of guilt for using Brad – they weren't officially an item. And he was her boss. But they had a deeper relationship than that. They were cut from the same cloth – both aggressive in nature and shared the same enthusiasm for fighting. Claire had never been the emotional type and was definitely not looking for a serious relationship. She felt herself giving in to his smoldering gaze and watched his muscles ripple as he moved both arms to pin her between himself and the car. I don't think he minds me using him, she thought with a snicker. He grabbed her brusquely and slid his hand under her shirt, slowly making his way up her back. Gasping, she leaned in for a kiss, her body shivering at his rough touch –
Her head snapped up as she was suddenly pulled from her thoughts. "I said 'thrusting inward block', not 'vertical outward block'. Where is your mind?" Her Sensei was standing in front of her with a frown on his face.
"I'm sorry, Sensei. I am just having trouble concentrating tonight." She looked down in embarrassment as she realized the rest of her class was staring at her. Why was she thinking about that night with Brad? That was six months ago. She inwardly sighed. She hadn't been out with him playing vigilante like that in months and she was aching for it. Now, she just didn't have the time. Her grandmother had fallen sick three months ago and Claire had been visiting her apartment every night after work to take care of her.
Claire shook her head and forced herself to focus on her drills. "Thrusting kicks – go!" shouted her Sensei. Putting extra vigor into her movements, she carried out the rest of class with a renewed sense of concentration.
A few blocks away…
Michaelangelo spun around the lamppost with the greatest of ease, executing a triple flip before landing silently on his feet next to his three brothers. "Hey boys, hope you don't mind us dropping in!" The group of Purple Dragons standing before them pulled out their weapons, one member brandishing a large machete. Raphael snorted. "Ain't something like that for tha jungle? I mean, they say tha City is a concrete jungle – but you know that's just a sayin', right?" The machete-wielder let out a fierce cry and ran towards the turtle, swinging wildly as Raphael dodged each attempted slice. After the fifth swing, Raphael grabbed the Dragon's arm, easily overpowering him. Twisting his arm behind his back, the man dropped the machete crying out in agony. Raphael smirked when the man began to beg for mercy.
"Dude! That's like my favorite song!" Mikey shouted, swinging his nunchaku at a Dragon that had begun to run away. "Welcome to the jungleee, we got fun and gamesss!" Mikey began singing in a high-pitched voice.
"MIKEY!" hissed Leonardo, interrupting his outburst. "We are ninjas. That means be quiet and do not sing songs by Poison while you are executing attacks." He sighed and rolled his eyes. Turning his attention back to his target, he quickly slashed at the Dragon standing before him creating a large tear in the shape of an "X" on his shirt. The man frantically felt at his body, realizing his skin hadn't even been touched and shot a bewildered look at Leo. Leo returned the look with a cocky grin and sneered.
"Actually, Leo – Welcome to the Jungle is performed by Guns 'N' Roses – not Poison. But those bands could be easily confused. In fact -", Donnie interjected as he planted his bo staff into the ground, using it to swing his legs around into the gut of a Dragon. "Slash, who later joined Guns 'N' Roses, auditioned for Poison back in the 80's." He eyed the Dragon - now groaning and holding his stomach - waiting for his next move.
"Gee, thanks for the useless trivia, brainiac", Raph retorted.
"Okay, whatever, let's just finish this guys. We need to patrol on Houston." Leo unleashed a flurry of kicks and punches at the Dragon, rendering him unconscious.
"We should really go check out Delancey. I put together a crime map last night based on the past few months of police data. It seems like Delancey has gotten the most activity." Donnie swung his staff at the head of the Dragon sending him flying into a nearby pile of trash. With a final spin of his bo, he stuck in back behind his shell and wiped his hands together.
"Good work, Donnie. Alright, let's head in that direction, then." Leo, satisfied with the outcome of the fight began to climb up a nearby building to reach the rooftop, his brothers in tow.