CHAPTER 12 – Moment of Distraction
The Mistress rose up, legs straddling Michelangelo. Her dress bunched at her hips. She dragged herself against him and Mikey groaned softly; blinking in embarrassment from the involuntary sound. He never told his brothers about meeting her in the candy cavern down the creepy tunnel. Not that he really would have had a chance with coming home to find Leonardo and Master Splinter beaten up so badly. But what was strange was that he'd completely forgotten meeting her. He couldn't understand how it was possible that he'd forget someone as amazing and incredible as her. He lifted his hands and cupped the sides of her face as she leaned down towards his mouth for another kiss. He stiffened and she stopped.
"Wait, uh, I never got a chance to ask before. What's your name?" he asked.
Her eyes gleamed bright orange, flecked with sharp shards of gold. She considered him with a smirk on her face. "I've had more names than I can even recall."
Mikey frowned slightly, his thumbs gently stroked the sides of her cheeks. Her skin was softer than his, silky. He liked the way it felt. He like the swirls and star-like patterned on the right side of her body. His eyes strayed along one particular curl in the golden pattern on her cheek, he said in a distracted voice, "Oh. Um, do you have a favorite?"
"A . . . favorite?"
He nodded then looked her in the eye. She saw the genuine curiosity there. She decided to speak honestly to him. Her eyes grew distant, as memories from a lost past surfaced, "There was a name I enjoyed. I supposed you could say it was a favorite of mine." She paused, "I was once called Inanna. Men and women of this world would offer their bodies to me in worship in golden temples with spiraling towers," she poked him at the tip of his nose and dragged her finger down to his mouth. He smiled shyly at her. "But that was long ago." She finished with a heavy sigh.
"Whoa," he said, his mind racing to make sense of what the heck she was talking about. He didn't know what to make of what she'd just said. She shifted and looked away, across the room, as he slid his hands to rest at her shoulders, watching her. He did know one thing: he didn't like the sad look on her face. She was too pretty to look so down. He wanted to make her feel better. "I think that's a really nice name. I like it. En . . . Inna na nana . . ." he fumbled and chuckled in spite of himself.
She smiled down at him and pronounced the ancient moniker slowly, over and over as she brought her lips closer. Mikey softly repeated until he got it right and she pressed her mouth to his just as he said it correctly. She smelled like honey and peaches and Michelangelo breathed her in deeply. His heart was pounding like he'd just been running and he felt light-headed and heavy all at once. He wondered vaguely as she kissed him if this was what falling in love felt like. She slid her right hand down between them until she met the curve of his body. He tensed and his eyes popped open. She pressed and slipped her fingers into the pocket that kept his masculinity tucked away and hidden from view. He jumped and his breath hitched in his throat when he felt her fingers grasp him and start to slid him free. His body tightened and he tried to pull away from her. He really liked her, but this was going too fast! His mouth dropped open and he gave a little gasp of pain as she tugged against his reluctance. A slight tremor swept through his body beneath her.
"Did I hurt you?" she asked innocently.
With watering eyes, he blinked at her. Breathless, he responded, "Uhhm, th-that's just a, sort of . . . is sensitive."
"Let me make it better," she murmured and began to stroke him.
Heart pounding, his body trembled. He reached down and grabbed her wrist, stopping her. What she was doing to him felt so right. So good. Really good. As if his body had been just waiting to be touched like this . . . by her. But his mind was a jumbled mess and he felt like she was racing ahead, pulling him along and he couldn't keep up. Besides that, coming home to find Leo beaten and bloody and his father on the ground . . . and all the blood. No matter what Donnie said about them being fine . . . there was so much blood. Mikey swallowed dryly. He couldn't do this. It was wrong. He liked her a lot, which made it seem even more wrong, because he didn't want things to go so fast, to get so intense so soon between them.
"Wait!" he whispered hoarsely. He cleared his throat, "Shouldn't we . . ." his blue eyes were shining in the darkness. "Shouldn't we get to know each other a little better?"
He shrugged feeling scared and unsure. The last thing he wanted to do was give her the wrong impression. She was the only girl mutant turtle he'd ever met. Probably the only one in the whole world and she wanted him. This fact was not lost on Michelangelo and while he was terrified to hurt her feelings in any way, he had to make her understand. It wasn't that he didn't like her. But something in the pit of his stomach told him what they were doing was wrong.
He licked his bottom lip and took in an unsteady breath as he went on, "I-I think you're really special, Inanna. R-Really pretty, too."
The Mistress levelled a look at him. She opened her mouth and he rambled on, catching her off guard with his beautiful innocence; his pure heart. She thought Leonardo's heart was one of the purest she'd encountered in a millennia, but here was one better. For he craved no power, no secret desire to be something more, to be great. No hidden wish for a new identity, only acceptance of what he was and within that was a simple contentment that was at the heart of his innocence. In him was only that shining beacon of what was at the heart of all true passion, the blinding thrill of life as it is at its fullest; the rush of experience; the sheer joy of the moment. Every beat of his heart was like a ringing bell to her ears calling out to her; welcoming her in its warmth and filling her with that same joy and desire while at the same time, bringing her to her knees with its intensity.
"I k-know what it's like," he said in an earnest whisper, locking his searching eyes on hers. She couldn't help but be drawn in; finding herself more and more fascinated by the young mutant. His next statement was more accurate than he could have ever known. "To feel like that. T-To be lonely. And I know you're probably really lonely after being down here so long . . . all by yourself."
The Mistress blinked, taken aback. Not so much for what he'd said but rather, the fact that it did apply. It applied too well. She knew loneliness. It was a constant companion. Even to one who fed on lust in all its forms, there was an emptiness that remained unfilled no matter how much she devoured. The truth was, despite all her power, all her manipulations and abilities, all her multitude of long years of never-ending existence, she was incomplete.
Fury flashed through her. Her orange eyes gleamed bright gold for a second as she clenched her jaw. How dare he say such a thing to her? Lay bare the pain that she endured and hid from so . . . so simply? Who did he think he was to reach inside of her so easily and extract something she'd hidden away? More disturbingly, how did he know? A small piece of her heart bruised with the tender thought and fright speared her. No! She was a goddess. She would not be undone by a mortal male. Certainly not by one as meek and innocuous as this one. He was playing a very dangerous game and had no idea what he was up against. She sat up and pulled her petite hands into trembling fists. She shook her head sharply. A sneer curled her upper lip exposing one small fang.
"How dare you –"
Mikey's eyes widened. "I-I'm sorry. I just wanted you to know that I-I don't judge you. That I understand why." He propped himself up on his elbows. His face a mask of worry.
Her brows dropped into a frown. "Why what?" she snapped; eyes narrowed, unable to quell her curiosity despite her anger at his boldness. A part of her was fascinated by him. She assumed his innocence had drawn her, but perhaps . . . there was something more.
"Why you want t-to, uhm, be close to me," he finished softly, shyly. He went on quickly, "But there's no rush. I'd like to get to know you a little better, I mean. 'Cuz I like you. That's all."
She'd been exiled here for so long; separated from her subjects by her own wicked offspring overthrowing her rule; hiding and searching all the time for a way home; for a way to regain what she had lost. She'd nearly given up and accepted her fate; weary of this world and its inhabitants with their lack of magical ability or even the belief in the mystical. She'd toyed with them. Fed off of the powerful men, both wicked and warm-hearted. But eventually, she'd become a living artifact. A relic of antiquity that no one here could even understand. She could not reveal herself. Not without the possibility of death. For though she was everlasting, she could be killed. So she was careful.
Then she had stumbled upon Oroku Saki and his manic obsession with a dead woman and his ravings about mutants, whatever those were. He enchanted her with his stories and she had finally found someone that she could build up to a station of power that had some taste for the mystical, for the supernatural and unexplained. Carefully, she began to weave tales of her past and showed him how she could be to him whatever he'd wanted. To her delight and surprise he believed her, so she stayed with him, despite the fact that his obsession with the past and with revenge would never allow him to reach the greatness that he could've had he only gone beyond that shortsightedness. He was the only human that she had ever confided in. And being with him led her to Leonardo and finally to her way home.
She gazed at Michelangelo staring so intently at her, waiting for her response with fearful, yet strangely understanding eyes. These turtles. These mutants. So out of sync here. So out of place as she was. For the only the second time in centuries found herself once again charmed by a mortal male. She had indeed chosen wisely to spawn with this one. He was more than he seemed.
A sly smile spread across her features. Charmed or not, she could not get distracted. She would not allow it. She had to stay focused. Leonardo had dishonored her and hurt her when after all she had only come to bring him with her to her realm. She would have given him everything. For his attention and devotion, she would have ruled him and at once been his slave. He would have been her consort for as long as he endured. But in response, his family attacked her, the wretched rat and that little human girl. Then Leonardo nearly killed her. Had it not been for the portal opening, she would have been trapped here and would have died from the sword wound he'd given her. She had barely managed to survive using all of the surrounding magic she could gather in her realm and even that had barely kept her clinging to life. She had come for revenge. Revenge against Leonardo's cruel disrespect and betrayal. She would not be distracted by this one's sweet empathy. Revenge was what she was after. She would have it.
"No more talk." Her hand shot out and gripped Michelangelo by the throat, the flesh was suddenly aflame with golden fire that did not burn but snapped and tingled against his skin. Mikey yelped in surprise and fear.
The Mistress bared her fangs and spoke through gritted teeth, "You're coming home with me, little boy."
Leonardo's eyes snapped open. He stared at the ceiling, wondering where he was before he realized he was in his bed, in his room. What was he just dreaming? Something about his brothers. They were cracking up about something. A fleeting feeling of discomfort fluttered through his stomach as his heart tripped. Even as his mind grasped at the remnants of the vision, he couldn't get a firm hold and the dream was lost to him; leaving him with a ghost of unease, a sensation of dread that confused him.
He blinked and rubbed his dry eyes. His body hurt. Whenever he took a breath, it felt as if his right side was being jabbed with shards of glass. He had a pounding migraine that added to his waking misery. He turned his head and saw that it was eight in the morning. But the lair was quiet. Besides the unease of the dream he'd had, he felt as though he were forgetting something. Something that was upsetting. Carefully, he sat up, wincing with the motion. He brought his legs around to the edge of the bed. He felt like a truck had hit him. His brow dropped into a frown and he rested his aching head against the heel of his hand.
"My son," a voice spoke from the meditation mat on the floor.
Leonardo's head snapped up. The terrifying memories of his battle against his father rushed back. His eyes widened, mouth gaped. He started to shake as he slid off the side of the mattress onto his knees onto the floor. The cruel words echoed in his panicked mind.
"You? My son? No." He laughed and it was hollow and bitter and cold. "You are no son of mine, freak."
"You sicken me."
Master Splinter, head wrapped in bandages, lurched forward and caught his upper body in his arms as Leo pitched forward.
He was coughing and trying to catch his breath with lungs that squeezed and would not allow any oxygen to enter. The vision of his father strangling him – a look of pure disgust mixed with glee on his features – rose into his mind. Then the nun-chuck in his grip as he swung it once, then again to make his father stop hurting him. To subdue him before he passed out and was beaten to death. His body shook violently and despite Master Splinter trying to hold him upright, he continued to fall until he was on his elbows and knees, face to the cool floor.
"Haah . . . haah," he wheezed as the panic attack tensed his aching body into bunched knots. His fingers dug at the ground.
"My son! Be calm! Please!"
Distantly he felt Splinter's hands, one on the back of his pounding head, the other against his carapace, stroking him gently with reassuring movements. Tears burned his tightly clamped eyes. It didn't happen. It couldn't have happened. He would never attack his father. His father would never hurt him like that, try to kill him with his bare hands. It was a nightmare. It wasn't real. For his father would never, ever call him . . . a freak. Leonardo panted out a strained cry.
"I am sorry, my son," Splinter murmured as if reading his son's exact thoughts at that moment. "Forgive me. I was not in my right mind. Please, Leonardo. Forgive me."
By degrees, fragile composure came back to him. Still trembling uncontrollably, he pushed the heels of his hands into the floor and eased himself up; sitting on his bent knees. His head was low, eyes downcast with fear and shame and sadness. Splinter reached out and took one cheek in hand. Gently, he turned his son's face to look at him directly. Leonardo stubbornly kept his eyes turned away; a deep frown crushing his features down.
"My son," Splinter said quietly and then slowly Leo met his gaze with blinking, watering eyes. "No words can express my sorrow. Forgive me. I-" the rest of what he tried to say caught in his throat. He shook his head, at a loss.
With a hesitating motion that quickly fell away, Leonardo swept his arms around his father and pulled him close, burying his cheek into Splinter's frail shoulder. His chest heaved as he quietly, but intensely cried his pain into his father's frame. With broken, hushed words, punctuated by choked sobs, he told him what had happened to him on that roof a year ago. With the Mistress. Confessed what she had done to him. What he'd participated in. How it had affected him afterwards. His lingering shame and finally . . . his emotional pleas for forgiveness.
Master Splinter took his son's quaking shoulders and eased him back. Leonardo dashed the tears away from his cheeks with his knuckles as if afraid that only now his father would see that he'd been crying and was ashamed. Splinter's robe was soaked through from Leonardo's tears. The wetness seared his son's shame and fear into his fur, his skin, his spirit.
"Leonardo," the boy hiccupped and Master Splinter gave him a moment to collect himself further, then he went on, "How could I blame you for something that was done to you against your will?"
"B-But I-I –"
Splinter shook his head firmly. "Your response to this vile demon-woman," he spat the words, "is understandable. It is a natural thing . . . for a man to respond to attention of that kind in such a way," he said with a sigh. Leonardo dropped his head, cheeks flushed. "However . . ." Leo's face snapped back up, his frightened, glassy eyes darted between Splinter's steady amber gaze. He braced himself, fearing the worst. "You must be stronger in the future. You must guard against any further thoughts of this demon. You must fight against them and push them from your mind. For I fear she uses our deepest longing as a weapon against us."
Sniffling, Leonardo nodded, "H-Hai, Sensei. I will try."
Master Splinter patted him on the shoulder. He looked behind Leonardo and his eyes widened at the sight of his son's mattress. Leonardo noticed his father's tense stare. He twisted to see what his father was looking at. He fell back onto one thigh in shock. His mattress was covered in blood.
"Are you . . ." Splinter's mortified gaze swept over Leonardo; searching. "What did I . . . My son."
Leonardo glanced at his wrists and ankles then back to his bed. In confessing to his father, a memory that he'd forgotten or rather cast aside as unimportant rose up. It was of the Mistress coming into his cell after they'd taken Raphael away; beaten, with a bag over his head. The moment that he'd despaired and she entered the room with that ornate bowl. The blade at his throat. The murmuring spell. The way his blood pearled and jumped and the strange singing sound it made. The spell that would lead to opening the portal through his sacrifice. The spell that bound the Mistress still to this world.
"I-I know how to stop her," he said, feeling sick and shaken.
He should have known all along that it was his fault. All of it. If he'd had been stronger, none of this would have happened to them. He failed in protecting his family. But he would rectify his failure. There was only one way to sever the link the Mistress had to his family and her world.
He gazed past Master Splinter's head to the ceremonial blade hung on the wall near his printed screen and meditation candle. He had to be strong. Stronger than he'd ever dreamed he'd have to be.
Outside the lair, down the tunnel to the right, April walked, hands in the pockets of her black hoodie; head down. Worry and regret nagged at her. Purple bags shaded the bottoms of her eyes. Her night was filled with tossing and turning and very little sleep. She'd thrown on a pair of old sweats and a baggy t-shirt before topping it with her sweatshirt and hadn't even stopped to brush her hair. Loose locks of it hung around her face. She was sure she looked as awful as she felt.
Her mind was a chaotic jumble of what she could say or how she would say what she needed to say to Donatello. Not to mention how she would approach Leo and the painful subject of the Mistress. As she turned the bend, her tumultuous thoughts were roughly interrupted as she slammed into someone. They fell back with a shout of surprise and pain. Blinking and rubbing her head she sat up to see that it was a young man that she'd banged into. Her eyes went wide and she scrambled to her feet just as the guy was swearing and climbing to stand as well. A young man just walking through the sewers? Maybe he was homeless or lost or both.
"What the hell!" he snapped as he swayed onto his feet. Then his eyes rose up from under a thick fringe of dark bangs and met hers. Whatever else he was about to say stuttered to a halt in his throat. His mouth snapped closed and he swallowed audibly.
April felt her heart trip and stumble as their gaze locked. She couldn't help but allow her vision to wander. Her eyes roved over the man in front of her. His eyes were a deep blue like the color of twilight just after the sunset in the summer. It looked as if he'd been in a fight, for one eye was darkened and slightly swollen. Somehow it only seemed to add to his gritty attractiveness. And he was attractive. Extremely so. He could've been a model for designer jeans or something.
April couldn't think straight as she looked at him. April felt her face warm as a blush spread across her cheeks. Suddenly she was painfully aware of her own shabby appearance. She really, really wished she at least had brushed her hair before going out this morning. His hair was long and roughly layered and hung just to the top of his wide shoulders. He was wearing fingerless leather gloves, a denim jacket, a white t-shirt emblazoned with some hockey team logo stretched across his broad chest, a pair of torn jeans hugged firm thighs, and brown steel-toed boots adorned his feet.
"Uh, oh, I-I'm uh, sorry about that, miss," he stammered politely as he rubbed the back of his head.
"N-No, no! All my fault." April held up her hands, placating. "I should've been watching where I was going, down here."
Coming down into the sewers, Casey had expected to see slimy rats and huge roaches and while he'd seen plenty of them, the last thing he'd expected to ever see was a red-headed woman who looked like something out of a Hollywood magazine. She was gorgeous. She was the best thing he'd ever seen. Vaguely he wondered if she was doing some exotic fashion shoot or something down here. Whatever the reason she was down here, he was sure happy that he took that last turn that he'd been debating as he tried to remember which way Raphael's home was.
Suddenly realizing that he was staring at her, he dropped his chin and pursed his lips. Oops. Don't be an asshole, Casey, he thought. Unsure of what to do or say next; feeling nervous and oddly exposed; he decided to act natural. He looked around and settled for shrugging and shoving his hands into his pockets. He rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet and started to whistle nonchalantly.
That was apparently funny to her, because she giggled. Casey turned a shocked look in her direction and smiled. He didn't know why but he felt like he needed to say something witty or smart, but his mind raced and he came up with nothing. They both chuckled again and then fell into an awkward silence. They looked everywhere but at each other. Then as if realizing exactly at the same moment just precisely where they were standing, they froze and their gazes snapped back to each other.
"Uh," he stammered.
"Yeah, hmmm," she said. "I have to . . . um . . . there's, ah . . ."
"Yeah! No! Me too."
Casey took a step back and April took a step forward. He turned and picked up the black bag he'd dropped when he collided with her as well as a huge overstuffed bag full of sports equipment. He took a few steps and glanced over his shoulder to see the woman still following him.
"Uh, be seein' ya, then," he said and turned back towards the direction he'd hoped was Raphael's home.
April wondered if he was lost or one of those hobos that collected odd assortments of items. He certainly didn't look homeless to her. But he did seem confused. And it was more than a little unsettling that he was so close to the guys' lair.
Casey did a double take as he noticed the red-head still following him. He frowned. What was up with her? He staggered to a halt. What if she was lost? Or needed help? He spun back around and she abruptly stopped in her tracks, hands up.
"Hey! Uh, oh, aheh, sorry," he didn't realize she was so close behind him and nearly knocked her over with his bag as he spun around. "Y-You okay?"
"Huh?" she asked, biting the corner of her bottom lip.
"I mean. Are you okay?" he asked again slower. What if she'd bumped her head and rolled into the sewers or something.
Dumbfounded, Casey stared at her. He cocked his head to the side. "Mind if I ask ya, why're down here then?"
Her mouth opened and closed. She slapped the sides of her thighs and shrugged with a shake of her head. "I, uh, jog . . . down here," he finished lamely. Her stomach sank. He'd have to be an idiot to accept that lame excuse.
"Oh." Casey straightened up. "Well. Be careful. There's some drop offs that're kinda dangerous."
April's mouth hung open. Casey turned around and started searching around. Her heart sped up as he came closer and closer to one of the secret entrances. In fact, he put his hand right onto the pipe that unlatched the locks and made the gears turn to open the doorway.
Casey looked over his shoulder, raising an eyebrow.
"Don't do that."
Casey's eyes went from her to the pipe back to her again. "And why not?"
Fumbling, April couldn't think of an answer. Then the impossible struck her like a bucket of ice water. It couldn't be. And yet, here he was. Right in the precise spot, holding the exact pipe that undid the lock mechanism that Donnie had installed with her help. She narrowed her eyes, her heart pounding in her chest.
Praying for guidance, she made a leap and asked, "Do you . . . know them?"
Casey's eyebrows couldn't go much higher up on his head without making him look like a cartoon character.
"Th-Them?" he stammered and brought his arm down. The locks creaked, popped; the gears spun and groaned as the door slowly broke from the frame and dragged forward just enough to squeeze a body through. Casey shot her a grin, eyes twinkling in a way that shot a bolt of sudden desire through her and said, "Don't know whatcher talkin' about." He ducked his head and squeezed in leaving April standing in the tunnel, mouth hanging open in shock and denial.
A/N: Now, now. I've written plenty of fics where Donnie gets the girl. Its time Casey caught a break, the poor sweetheart. Besides, just how do you think Donnie is gonna react to seeing April after what "she" did to him the other night? For his first time, it would've been pretty traumatizing - even if she's innocent. That would be hard to get past.
Now take a deep breath and please review - and if it's any conselation to you, Tender Trap part 3 is coming and they are quite happy where we left them last in that series! XD
Hm, and Mikey seems to have had an unexpected effect on the Mistress - your thoughts on that?