AN: This takes place in the 2012 TMNT, it's my idea of what would happen if Mona Lisa from the 1980 show would be added. PLEASE don't be mad that I changed around her back story in this chapter. She's 15-16 upon meeting the turtles. I really hope you enjoy this fan fiction anyway.
Sometimes it takes a really good fall to know where you stand
- Hayley Williams, Lead Singer of Paramore
The Ballad of Mona Lisa
Mona knew that mutants existed long before she met the turtles.
Headlines often filled special bulletin broadcasts and newspapers, all of them revolving around the unusual shapes and creatures that were said to lurk between New York's skyscrapers and dark alleyways. In a way, the time of day during the supposed sightings seemed to further validate the point that these beings were not normal. Night was the worst time anyone could inhabit the city. While the sunset and the glittering lights of the buildings were pretty, they were only on the surface. People often make judgments based on what they saw upon first impression, rather than what lurks deeper. The streets of New York were filled with violence; the stuff everyone always seemed to overlook or ignore unless they were the victims. Mona use to have the same mindset when she attended Middle School. Your only desire is to fit in with the people around you and it almost seems like you're expected to snub anyone who doesn't fit into a particular stereotype, as if they were an enemy. It was ridiculous! She always had it easy, though. She overlooked a lot of things. She was the girl who took gymnastics when she was younger. She was the one who went out for cheerleading - and made the team. She was the thin girl with the long brown locks and the obsession with pink. She was the girl without a care in the world.
And all of it was fake.
Yes, she loved cheer leading and gymnastics (and especially pink), but her true love remained with electronics and physics.
Her passion was something she always hid from everyone around her, even her parents. So she brought home good grades. Big deal. All kids were expected to keep their grades up. Instead, her mom and dad were so proud of their little cheer princess. They talked competitions, nationals, etc. They planned for her to take cheer in High School and College. Mona made plans for this as well, but not by her own desires. Her parents would be crushed if they found out she didn't make the team once high school hit. Her interest in physics became a secondary concern. Honestly, who had ever heard of the technical wiz-kid cheerleader anyway? They didn't go well together. It had to be one or the other and as it's been mentioned, some people don't look for the gray area, especially not the kids at her school. This Mona was somebody everybody liked, and all it took was for her to change everything about herself. This is what led to her downfall in the first place.
A few of the richer kids that attended her school had discovered an abandoned boat around New York's docking area. It was further down, in a bad part of town and had been docked there for several weeks. In the typical, overly done preteen fashion, they decided to throw a party on it. Even if Mona didn't want to go, her friends on the squad managed to convince her.
There was nothing special about the boat, she realized that as soon as one of her friend's older sisters dropped them off. The ship was slowly rusting away, the name on the side wasn't even legible anymore. With the amount of kids dancing on it, Mona questioned whether or not the thing could still support weight. She couldn't swim, so ending up in the water wasn't an option. As if her worry mattered in the first place. She was soon caught in the crowd of her giddy friends, jumping and chatting excitedly as they climbed aboard. She may have been a showstopper on the court, but the real Mona couldn't care less. She wasn't a people person. Her friends danced, and she sat on the edge of the ship in the corner, sipping soda. The new dress for the party, a strapless pink little thing with pockets on the front, didn't do anything to make her feel more lively. Instead she gazed at the water, observing the strange, blue glow that seemed the pour from the windows beneath. Probably fancy lighting, though she hadn't seen anybody walk downstairs or even see an entrance that led below deck. There was a trap door somewhere probably.
The events carried on like this for an hour and a half. She just sat there and sipped, occasionally making small talk whenever some of her acquaintances from school walked by, before they returned to the mass of swirling bodies and loud bass drops. That's where everything went wrong. Lost in her thoughts, Mona didn't notice the dancing and chatter cease, the area becoming eerily quiet. Similar to how the boat had become silent, panic took it's place, breaking Mona from her trance. She turned, and through the crowd of fleeing and screaming kids she could see them. Thin, purple and blue, chrome, humanoid robots.
One spoke, explaining to the others to get the "mutagen" at any cost, and saying it in a very redundant manner. Their dialect was what made Mona wonder as to whether or not these things were a threat. Her mistake. They started to fire, using guns that matched their body design and produced beams of purple-pink light. Who knew what that stuff was or what it could do? In the fear of getting shot, she lost her balance on the boat's edge and fell backwards into the water. Blackness consumed her, along with confusion. Which way was up? The air in her lungs ran out before she got the chance to find out. The last thing she remembered was the explosion above, the light filtering through the dark water. She didn't know who did it. Or how? Maybe one of the robot creatures had fired at a gas tank by mistake? Either way, her eyes shut as the sharp debris cut through the water above. Likewise, her eyes remained shut as milky blue goo, the cause of the glow behind the lower level windows, seeped through the water. And they would remain shut as it made contact with her skin, burning her with its icy heat.
The next morning she woke up under the docks.
And she was a lizard.
Finally, the deeper, darker aspects of New York became a second home to her. Everything was finally real.
The metallic clatter of a wrench filled the air as it collided with the ground. Mona Lisa, the resident mechanic of the formerly abandoned gas station, had tossed it aside once the final inspection of the motorcycle was complete. She now sat up, adjusting her pink ribbon from where it had come loose during the bike's tune up. It was late at night, way past her usual bedtime, but the repairs wouldn't take an hour to complete and the owners were coming to get it the next day. Better safe than sorry. She had a reputation to keep up in this part of town and couldn't afford to lose it. Literally, she couldn't afford to lose it. The garage was her only source of money.
The weeks following her mutation were the worst she had ever known. She could only travel at night. Coming into contact with people in broad daylight was a bad idea, a quick discovery she had made before she had even seen her new face. She knew the rocks and metal cans would sting when those people threw them at her, she just didn't expect them to leave bruises. Not just on her skin, either.
Afterwards she jumped from hiding spot to hiding spot, risking her neck in gang territories but discovering her ability to climb walls in the process. She found the gas station not long after. When Mona was younger (around six or seven) the gas station belonged to an elderly man. This man loved kids, he even gave them free ice cream whenever their parents came into the store while making a stop. But more than anything, this man loved Christmas. Every year, the station was filled with giant, inflatable snowmen and reindeer, miles of multicolored Christmas lights, bows, wreathes, and cut-outs of holiday characters. It always brightened Mona's day whenever she drove past, her mind lost in the sparkle of the glittering bulbs.
She was sad to say that this tradition came to an end by the time she was eleven. The owner had died of a heart attack. The mechanics and cashiers left, finding new jobs and leaving the store, pumps, and garage to rot and to glaze over in layer upon layer of graffiti.
After breaking in, Mona found the decorations stored in a room on the second floor. Besides a few minor pieces of furniture in the small living unit above and the barren shelves of the store below, there were no signs of anyone ever being there. It would be the perfect place to stay for a day or two. That was really how long she had intended to stay before moving on. Staying in one area for too long was dangerous. But as she attempted to sleep on the floor that night, sounds of slicing, scraping, and voices had awoken her.
Two men were pushing a black van near the garage, sparks flying below from the lack of tires and dented metal. It looked as if it had been caught under a large vehicle, like an eighteen wheeler or so, and dragged.
"Why did we even come here? This place has been shut down for months."
"Exactly." His companion pressed. "Perfect place to get rid'a some dead weight."
They continued to push the machine until it was inside the garage. Mona observed from the window above, carefully pulling back the blinds that remained. The garage was a separate building, connected to the two-story station, the bottom half formerly holding the junk food and cash registers as well as the kitchen and living room and the top story making up the rest of the apartment.
"You think the boss is gonna be upset?" The first man asked as the other pulled the doors closed.
"The boss ain't gonna find out." It was more of a threat than reassurance.
"But what if somebody messes with it?"
His fellow criminal only laughed at the rookie.
"Let 'em. Ain't gonna do them any justice."
In the morning, at sunrise, Mona walked down to the garage to inspect the damage. How was it possible for anybody to wreck an automobile like this? The entire roof of the van had collapsed in. She searched the garage for spare tools. The van wasn't going to be easy to repair, but it was possible. She threw herself into this project for the next two months, and it started looking better everyday. Tearing down the grocery store shelves, she was able to trade the scrap metal for whatever parts or tools she needed at a nearby military dump. She used the process of "take what you need and leave the metal as payment." The people who ran the junkyard didn't complain. The shelves were made from a rare, expensive quality of metal. It was worth more money than the place probably made in a year (which wasn't much, honestly.). Either that, or they were happy to get rid of the rusting content inside of the wooden-fenced pit. Even after she ran out of metal and continued to search there at night, there was never a stakeout to catch her or a warrant put out for trespassing (none that she knew of, at least.)
Finally, the garage was stocked with enough items that she could do her repairs. What was it that made her so obsessed with this one vehicle, though? She couldn't help but wonder. Maybe it was just her interest in mechanics. It was something the "real Mona" had enjoyed doing, putting two and two together. Problem solving. Finding what parts of the puzzle connected. It made her feel more human. It was all that she had left now. Not that she had anything to show for it afterwards. The two gang members from before had come back, searching for their ride. Apparently "the boss did find out."
The van, now complete and Mona's pride and joy, was about to be taken away from her. The garage doors came up, and the two stared at the van, shocked expressions on both of their faces. It was perfect! It was molded back to it's original shape, all parts replaced, and a fresh coat of paint and gloss was applied to the surface. Mona, sensing them coming, was now on the catwalk above, the shadows hiding her reptilian form. She had no way to defend herself, and she wasn't dumb enough to try. It would be better to let them take the van and leave her alone. The two were apparently dumbfounded at the sight, the rookie confused beyond belief. It was almost amusing.
"What...what do we do?" He asked.
The other man was already reaching into his pocket and now counted out a large stack of bills. He placed it on a box beside the door.
"We get outta of here."
They took it. They took her car, all of her hard work, and she never even had the chance to drive it. She climbed down and walked over to the money. How much had the cheapskates left her? She counted it out.
Then nearly screamed in joy at the amount. It was way more than what the scrap metal was worth, that much was certain.
After making a few calls from the payphone(which still worked, surprisingly) in the garage and doing a little rewiring, Mona had found a permanent residence at the station. She ordered a computer, leaving the money outside with a note apologizing that she had "missed them." She brought it inside as soon as they were out of view. The road wasn't busy at the moment and it was a quick in and out. She had internet, electricity, and water set up over the phone as well, along with two or three credit card orders. From there she ordered whatever she needed online, whether it was more tools or a pink scarf. She didn't have to leave her home or talk to anybody, which was probably fine to New York's population. She wouldn't have decided to stop contact with her parents if it wasn't. Deep down, she knew they loved her no matter what, but she wasn't that beautiful girl anymore, no matter how much she experimented with makeup on her new, light green skin. She wasn't a popular, happy-go-lucky cheerleader, no matter how many times she went to the garage's roof with her radio and practiced her back flips and cheers at night. That part of her life was over. She was nothing more than an eyesore now.
The next time the two gang members crashed the van (and they were both idiots, she had a feeling they would be back) they brought it back to the garage and paid her up-front, leaving the money on the dashboard. She took the money and banged out the simple dents in the side. It was ready by the end of the day. Word got around soon enough of the gas station with the phantom mechanic. You drop your vehicle off in the evening, and it gets taken inside during the night. Depending on how serious the damage is, customers usually got their ride back by the end of the week. It wasn't just gangs like The Purple Dragons that she attended too. Families dropped off their mini vans, bikers dropped off their motorcycles, little kids even dropped off their scooters and bicycles (granted, the little ones' forms of payment were mostly candy and vending machine toys, but she was happy to do it. The items never failed to entertain her.) Some even payed with food or weaponry, which was greatly appreciated.
The area kind of became a safe haven. Mona had become one of the best mechanics on the street, and it was implied from other gangs and gang members that they were to leave Mona's home alone. They all knew the mechanic inside had strange ways, but without her, they would be losing a lot of money on rip-offs. They were desperate. So no fights ever broke out and nobody ever lingered around the area, especially not near the little ones. People dropped off their stuff and left. It bothered her a little that she was helping people break the law by fixing their getaway cars, but she had discovered a purpose for still being here.
After gathering a few spare nuts and bolts, Mona cleaned the grease off of her hands and left through the door that connected to the kitchen. She gathered a large bag of cat chow from beneath the sink and a few bowls she had forgotten to put in the cabinet after washing them. Hearing the rumble of food in the bag, several cats appeared from various parts of the house, like ninjas. Klunk, the little orange kitten, appeared first as usual. She was always hungry, and being the smallest cat Mona had, she hadn't yet outgrown her playfulness and replaced it with laziness like the older ones, not that Mona was complaining. She poured the food, then refreshed their water bowl as they dug in. Part of her knew that it was foolish to waste money on cat food, but she couldn't stand by and see these animals starve. At one point, Mona had been like the cats. A stray. Nobody wanted her. So she did whatever she could to make sure they had full bellies every night. Some had even decided that the gas station was a pretty nice place to stay after all, and stuck around.
She returned to the garage, leaving the doorway open and observed her work.
She walked past it, to the Hummer across the room. (The genius didn't know it needed oil.)
A kid's scooter lay against one of her tool racks. It's payment, a handful of Jolly Ranchers, sat beside a few of her wrenches. It just needed a new tire. She had decided to make it a priority since it was a little kid.
"Done." She spoke, rather satisfied.
She picked up a few of the cherry flavored hard candies, they had always been her favorite, and put one in her mouth. Klunk was now at one of the garage doors, her claws digging into the side. A simple "meow" told Mona that she wanted out.
"Fine." She sighed, slipping the rest of the candy into the front pocket of her dress. This new dress was similar to the one she wore on the boat that night, just a size larger for roominess. It even covered up some of the yellow coloration on her chest and stomach, although there wasn't much she could do about her tail, it was awkward from the beginning. It always would be.
"But hurry up, okay?"
Klunk scrambled under the slight crawl space and into the night.
The time on Mona's portable radio in the corner read 1:30. Her eyes were sore, and no doubt, red. As soon as Klunk got back inside she was going to bed.
"Donnie! Look! A kitty!"
Heavy footsteps trotted up to the garage door, and Mona's hands flew to the walls, climbing above to eavesdrop and get out of harm's way. She could never quite determine if she was a salamander or lizard. Maybe a combination of both. Likewise, she had never needed to use a weapon, but if they hurt Klunk or they tried breaking in, well, there was a first time for everything. Other footsteps followed.
"Mikey, just leave it alone." Donatello replied, bored. "It obviously has an owner."
He watched as his brother sat on the ground with the small, orange kitten in his lap. It was purring and Michaelangelo's eyes were wide, starring down at the tiny creature with the same puppy-dog look he used to manipulate his brothers.
"Isn't it cute though?" He questioned, holding the kitten up for his purple-clad brother to see.
Donatello's expression never changed, even when the cat tilted its head to the side and meowed. It wasn't that Donnie didn't like cats, he just had this conversation several times with Mikey already. Master splinter wasn't going to let him have a pet. (Especially not a feline. Cat? Rat? Wouldn't this reasoning be a little obvious?) Raphael was lucky enough that he got to keep Spike but, then again, Raph did prove more responsible than Mikey.
"Adorable. Let's go before somebody sees us."
"You're such a killjoy." His brother protested. Donnie only rolled his eyes as Mikey sat the kitten down. Eagerly, it ran back under the space in the garage. Mikey stood in time for Raph and Leo to jump from the building above. Apparently they had gotten Donnie's message.
"Okay. We're here." Raph replied, attempting to sound determined. His tone and expression then fell. "Why?"
Donatello signaled toward the garage behind them, ignoring his brother's sarcasm.
"This is where I've been tracking the Purple Dragons." He explained. "They get their cars fixed here."
"They get their cars fixed at a garage. Good job, Donnie. We never would known without you." Raph quipped. This time, Donatello shot an annoyed look at his brother. Raph knew what he meant. Still, Leo decided to spell it out for them.
"He means this is where they mainly come to fix their cars, which is why we need to keep an eye on the place. If we wait around long enough, we're going to catch something."
"Exactly." Donnie nodded. "It's similar to the Flytrap effect. We lure them in, they land, and we have them." He pounded his fist into his hand for emphasis. Leo and Raph gave each other a high five and a slight "woo" for agreement, Mikey only scratched the back of his neck.
"Um...let's say a certain member of the team, not mentioning names, didn't know what a Flytrap was. What would you do?"
Donatello let out a sigh and put his hand to his forehead. Beside him, Raph let out an annoyed groan.
"A Venus Flytrap or Dionaea muscipula as it's scientifically known, Mikey, is a plant that attracts flies by giving off a certain odor. This plant is shaped like a mouth, and when a fly lands in the center of the plant to search for whatever it is that's causing the scent, it closes and holds the fly hostage, and secretes juices to digest it. Once finished, the plant's mouth reopens to start the process over. Get it now?"
"Yeah. Awesome." He held his fist in the air and pumped it slightly. "Yay for attraction!"
"You have no idea what I just said, do you?" Donatello deadpanned.
"Nope." Mikey admitted. "You lost me at the diarrhea mucus thing."
"It's not..." Donatello tried holding it in, he tried being patient with his brother, but it didn't work. Not this time. Raph stood by and listened to Donnie and Mikey argue, at least until Leo tried to break it up. In turn, all three were now fighting. It was a nice change to sit back and watch the dispute. Usually he started all of the arguments.
Growing bored, Raphael's eyes started wandering around the gas station, noting out possible routes and weak spots for later. Behind his brothers, the door to the garage was slightly raised and light flooded from inside. As he looked up, he could see another face starring at him from the thin window a few feet above it. Noticing his gaze as well, it ducked from sight. It had seen them for sure, but had it heard their plan?
"Guys." Raph started.
"Would you just listen to me?" Leonardo protested.
"I AM NOT!"
"Yeah? We'll your momma is so ugly neither Jacob or Edward want her on their team!"
Leo and Donnie paused, shooting a glance at each other.
"Wouldn't that make her your mom too, genius?" Donatello deadpanned.
"I don't need your past movie references!" Mikey shouted with his hands to the side of his head, almost as if to block out the memory. "That was a dark time for us!"
"GUYS!" Raphael finished, making sure the other three heard him.
"WHAT?" They yelled, in perfect unison at that.
"We're going. Now."
The no-nonsense tone in Raphael's voice quickly alerted them that something was up.
"What's..." Leo started, but Raph held up his hand to silence him.
"I'll tell you when we get far enough."
Leo nodded, understanding. Trust him. He signaled for his brothers to head out. In seconds they were climbing the building. Mikey ran, tripping over some kind of metal tool that he hadn't seen in the dark. Rising, he began his descent upwards, his skateboard unknowingly falling from his holder as he made his upward jumps. It crashed against the concrete below. He was too far away and too hight, attempting to catch up to notice it had fallen at all.
I was originally going to write more to this chapter, but I've been working on it for two days now and it's one o'clock where I'm at. So you'll get Mona Lisa's P.O.V and hopefully, Raph's confession, next chapter. And yes, one of Donatello's lines is a throwback from the CGI Ninja Turtles movie. Yes, this is Raph X Mona Lisa and yes, Mikey would be a closet Twilight fan. Happy reading. :)