Note: You all have been waiting so patiently. Shall we begin? Few things... Alice now opened a tumblr account and will be taking questions from you all! I'm just hoping she doesn't let any spoilers slip out in the process! The link to it is on my profile page! Also, I'm still writing Alpha so feel free to check out that as well. I'm hoping to make that a series as well... We shall see! Okay, enough babbling, onwards!
Summary: Alice returns to the dark alternate universe which is currently in a galactic war against the Triceratons and other alien races that want to make the people (and mutants) of Earth their slaves. Not only that but another darkness is slowly waking up, ready to devour all in its path, until it is the one and only thing left in that dimension.
Genre: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance... A melting pot of FEELS. ;p
Dis: I don't own TMNT, though some characters in this story are of my creation.
BOOK ONE: To Catch a Thief
BOOK TWO: Down the Rabbit Hole
He pressed his back into the chunk of concrete that used to belong to the now collapsed office building. Smoke billowed around him, making his eyes threaten to tear up and his lungs struggle for breath. Sweat beaded upon his forehead, even with the snow on the ground, and he wiped it away with the back of his hand: smearing dirt along with blood that wasn't his. He was the only one left of his unit and he had limited ammo left for his pistol: this assault rifle lost within the skeleton of what used to be a great city.
The Triceratons had been relentless in taking over Earth and the humans along with a few mutants were fighting tooth and nail to kick the dinosaurs off the planet. Some said that fighting was fruitless. The Triceratons had the numbers, having allied with other races to share in the pickings after Earth and its people were claimed and cast to slavery. One of the biggest factions that fought against them was the one he was part of. The Hamato clan, once allied with the asshole that got them in this mess to begin with, were the ones that managed to keep the Triceratons on their toes and one step further away from victory.
His unit had just bombed an important communications hub when things started going ass backwards. He had barely made it out, had a nasty gash on his leg that was hindering his ability to walk a straight line: but the rest of them had gotten obliterated. He was the only one left and he would have gone down fighting if it wasn't important as hell to get back to base. The disks in his vest had a lot of damn info he was certain the techs would want to get their hands on. All he needed now was a miracle to get out of the mess he was in. He could hear them approaching, the growls and snarls that would make any child hide in fear increasing in volume.
They were monsters and they were closing in on his position fast, their shadows darker than the black sky above him. He tapped at the visor that donned his head and could make out their heat signatures through the smoke and concrete. He grit his teeth in frustration as he linked to a private channel, tapping his comm all while keeping an eye on the enemy. Snow crunched where they stepped, making him want to remain as still as possible.
"This is Jenkins. We got the hub but ran into... Complications. I'm all that's left and I've got Triceratons up my ass. Need an evac ASAP. Managed to snag something they're gunna miss!"
"Jenkins," snapped a voice on the other line. "Hang in there. We're coming for you."
"Sonuvabitch," muttered Jenkins as he pressed his back further into the concrete slab. He swallowed the bile that threatened to rise up his throat in fear while a Triceraton walked on the other side of his hiding spot. He was so close he could hear the sound of its claws clinking against the metallic surface of its weapon. He stayed still, fearing that it would be his last day, when a blinding light filled the sky.
It was so bright that without his visor he would have had to close his eyes. Instead, he used the distraction to change position, further from the enemy, but right up against the bank that the light had originated from. He knew sure as shit those dinosaurs would want to see what the hell that light had been.
So he had a decision to make. Check it out, or get the hell out of dodge.
"MA'AM!" he shouted into his piece, sprinting into the lobby that had yellowed papers littering the floor and shards of glass that crunched under his boots. He went for the stairwell and started sprinting up the concrete steps, leaping over areas of the floor that was missing upon his assent. "There was a light! I'm checking it out before the dinos do! I'm at the old bank on-"
"I know exactly where you are," said his superior, sounding anxious and thrilled at the same time. "You get your ass to where that light was. It's a friendly, do you understand? You get there before THEY do and you protect her at ALL COSTS!"
"Her?" he asked.
"HER," said General Emily Hamato, one of the three that had their own factions around the city. "Alice."
"Holy shit," said an astonished Jenkins. "You serious?"
"Yes. Listen here Lieutenant, we're coming. You hold those lizards off till we get there."
The building rocked causing debris to rain down on him. An explicative charged out of his lips as he was slammed into a wall. He barely grabbed the railing of the staircase in time, almost falling down the hole he just jumped that was at least three stories deep. Above him he heard a female mirroring the curse he just shouted: annoyance and a hint of desperation tinged in her tone.
"I'm closing in on her position!" he shouted, breath puffing out before him in a cloud of curling mist.
"ETA five minutes," said the General. "We're coming by air."
Jenkins closed the communication and resumed running and only skidded to a halt when coming face to face with a female with blazing red hair, gleaming green eyes, and a scar on her upper lip. He opened his mouth to talk but once again the building rocked and a chunk of the ceiling fell and shattered between the two of them.
"Lieutenant Tate Jenkins, Ma'am." He gave her a quick salute. "We're in the middle of a shit storm but help is coming. I'm a friend."
He was expecting a fight, ready to try and talk her into trusting him. She surprised him by offering a nod and slight smirk just as the building rocked again. The damn dinos were hitting them with everything they had and that was just the ground troops. He was certain reinforcements were coming not just for the data disks he snatched but for her as well.
"We need to get the hell out of here before the building comes down on us. I've got people in the air en route. You know the General: Emily Hamato..."
"General?" She laughed. "Good for her. We better get to the roof."
She turned on her booted heel, giving him a good view of the dual katana at her back, and started sprinting up the rest of the stairs to the roof access. She ran like she had the devil coming after her and he had to admit it was a struggle to keep up, and he blamed his injury for it. Finally, they made it to the roof access, and she shoved open the metal door that screeched its displeasure at being forced upon and the night air rushed into stale building. In the distance he heard the hum of engines and he only hoped it was his people closing in and not the enemy.
As she crawled over debris Alice was certain there was something wrong with her. She attracted trouble, had done so since her mother left, and she was certain this was a new record for her. She hadn't been back in this world for more than ten seconds before someone decided they wanted to kill her. Already she was covered in dirt and grime, her red hair sticking out like a sore thumb as the building continued to buckle and break from the assault of the walking dinosaurs and their rockets and whatever else they were using.
"Fuck!" she cursed as long dead florescent bulbs were shaken out of their holds, shattering a little too close to her head for comfort. She scrambled to her feet, numerous strategies running through her mind. Should she take the same route as before and fight her way through the front door or rush up to the roof and take flight? Considering the amount of rockets the dinos had and her lack of knowledge she figured flight over fight would be a good idea. She was ready to take to the stairwell when a man, Jenkins, found her.
He was cute, with the typical buzz cut that kept his naturally dark hair super short and out of the way. Stubble decorated his upper lip, chin, and jaw and his blue eyes were piercing. He was hot as hell and had she not already given all her love to two turtles with anger issues she'd have been all over that.
When he dropped Emily's name she was almost ready to trust him. She led the way up the stairs. She could tell his leg was injured and by his appearance he'd been through the wringer so she was certain she could handle him in a fight. Once on the roof she remained at his side, slightly behind him, while he tapped at the visor that covered one side of the upper part of his head.
"This is Jenkins. I got her. We're on the roof. I hear-aw SHIT! We got company!"
Alice scowled as she looked up at the twin alien fighters coming in on their position. They had the same shape as the stealth bombers in her world but the metal had a weird, yellow glow about it. She saw dual engines and then heard the hum of a charging weapon. She turned to look at Jenkins and he had a look of horror on his face. He looked at her.
"Don't be," she said, handing him her small bag, which he took with a look of confusion. "Hold this."
Twisting behind him and gripping the top portions of his vest she launched into the sky. She smirked at his startled yelp and tightened her grip as she used air to speed away from the building as it exploded behind her. She felt the heat of the blast on her back and wavered slightly but was soon rushing over the burning city of New York. It was ironic, how the city could be in flames and yet still have snow and ice coating the dilapidated structures.
"Holy shit you fly?!" he shouted, looking up at her in slight awe and she looked down, grinning.
"Yeah, still learning, but I'm getting the hang of it. Where do we go?"
"Hold on." He smacked the side of his head and Alice realized he was still using his visor to communicate with Emily. "This is Jenkins... Yeah we're fine we're... Flying! No, no, like actually FLYING. General Hamato, trust me, this is no joke. We're coming in! Yeah... You want me to take her where? Base One? Copy that. Over and out."
He laughed, finally relaxing in her hold while lifting an arm to point in the distance. It was what left of the Statue of Liberty. Taking the cue she dipped her body and added a burst of speed toward the crumbled structure.
"Get lower," he said. "Triceratons watch the skies and water but we found a comfortable height to stay out of their sensor range. I can monitor it with my visor. Yeah, right here. Land by the feet."
She did just that, setting down by the big right toe. Jenkins let out a woosh of air and a short laugh before clapping her on the back, as if they were longtime friends instead of strangers that just met. He rubbed the top of his head, his short hair slightly scratchy against his palm.
"That was fucking intense," he said, walking to the toe and Alice watched as he slid his hand over the surface.
Suddenly, there was an open panel and it took a retina scan along with his thumbprint. He spoke his rank and full name and finally the door opened to reveal two guards on the other side along with another familiar face. Alice did a double-take but she'd recognize that scaly mug anywhere.
"Hello Princess," he said.
Jake, the lizard mutant she remembered from before, stood before her in the same type of brown clothing he had before. He had a pistol at his side and slung over his shoulder was the strap that held a nasty looking sniper rifle. He nodded to Jenkins before stepping aside to let them in. Jenkins opened up the vest he wore and produced five disks.
"Who is your techie here? Need to get these to them ASAP."
"Collins," said Jake, nodding at one of the guards as the doors closed and the elevator descended. "Escort Jenkins over to Molly's lab."
The guard nodded and when the elevator stopped he left with Jenkins after he handed Alice back her bag. Alice made a move to follow but Jake put out an arm, halting her movements. She looked up at him and he shook his head, pushing her back gently before pressing another button.
"Not you," he said. "You're needed elsewhere."
"He made it damn clear to me if you were to come back and he wasn't here that you'd have top clearance." At her widening eyes he waved her concern away. "Don't worry. He's alive. Just not here. He's running a silent OPS and is due back sometime tomorrow."
"How is he?" she asked, looking at the lizard man that hadn't trusted her before. He sighed, as if she just asked a loaded question, and perhaps she had. Rubbing the top of his scaly head he grunted, as if unsure where to start, before leveling her with a serious look that made her spine freeze in place.
"He's changed. He's… He's always been a hard ass, kept others out: at least from what I hear. He's alive, I suppose that is what matters."
"Is Michelangelo here?" asked Alice.
"He's got his own faction," said Jake. "One I'll be returning to soon. This isn't my usual post. Hell, news of your return, you'll have two Hamato brothers knocking down the damn door to make sure it's really you."
"O-Oh," she said, looking down as the elevator descended. "So they're both okay?"
"Your death put a real big shadow on their souls, Princess."
"And I'm sorry for that," she said, running a hand through her mussed hair.
"Don't be. Once they see you…"
The elevator dinged, doors opening, and it was the out Alice was looking for. She was well aware of the feelings a certain turtle named Michelangelo harbored for her and it was more than a little awkward with him. She didn't have those feelings for him and she hated that he had them for her. She quickly stepped out of the elevator and into a hall that just screamed TOP SECRET.
Jake walked to the right and she followed, grip on her bag tightening as he opened a door to a room filled with computer monitors: each running a different feed. Her curious (now brown) eyes traveled over them and stopped at a certain one that had the full view of what had attacked her. Heads of a triceratops and built like a rock they had a menacing air about them. Her eyes narrowed as she watched them execute a group of people.
"The fuck happened in this place?" she asked.
"After you left, we were in negotiations with the President to give the people back their home," said Jake, taking a seat at a table. There were four chairs and she took the one across from him, shrugging off her katana and laying them at her feet. "Triceratons had a deal with Ch'rell and they didn't want it broken. With Shredder out of the way they took the opportunity to strike. WE and a few others are what stand between us and world domination."
"Jesus," said Alice, slouching in her chair. "How long have I been gone?"
"Eight months. How are you alive anyway?"
"Opened a portal to another world and I healed there. It's only been a little over a month for me, not eight." She rubbed her face with her palm. "So what now?"
"Raphael will fill you in when he returns. He's… Sort of our leader. He's filled the role of President, Secretary of State… All of it. Don't really think he wanted it but with what he's done you gotta expect people to start following your lead."
"Why is he out there and not here? With how important he is…"
"You try telling him that without getting decked in the face," he answered. He shifted in his seat, suddenly looking uncomfortable. "You look like shit."
"Thanks," she said bitingly.
"Wanna get cleaned up?"
"I guess," she muttered.
"I'm… Not sure where I should put you," he answered, rubbing the back of his neck. "You want to bunk in your own room or…" He shifted again. "His? Raphael's."
"Oh." She cleared her throat. "I mean, it's not like… Um…"
"It's on this floor, on the opposite end of the hall," said Jake, rising. "Otherwise there is a guest room next to mine not being used."
"Maybe I'll take that for now," said Alice.
She grabbed her stuff and followed him out.
"I don't want to be locked up in here," she said. "Also, how did Raphael make the Statue of Liberty into a safehouse?"
"It was here long before Ch'rell took over. I'll have Molly make you a card, it'll give you access to everything in this facility as well as the others. That is only given to the Generals and their second in commands. We'll take a retina scan, print, and your voice sample as well to get in and out of the base just in case."
"So I take it you're Mikey's? Second in command I mean"
"Yeah," he said. "Emily is Donatello's, though she takes the General along with him, and Siren is Raph's."
"Who is Siren?" asked Alice.
"A pain in the ass," grumbled Jake. "You're not a prisoner, Alice. I just figured you wanted to, I don't know… Settle in? How long you staying this time?"
"Who knows," said Alice with a smirk. "Though I don't plan on leaving anytime soon."
"Good. I'll, uh, leave you to it. Get some rest I'm sure tomorrow is going to be hectic for you."
It was a standard room with a small bathroom, bed, and desk. It reminded her of her first apartment except there was no kitchen. Her stomach grumbled now but she had no idea how to get to the mess hall and decided to just wait until someone got her. There was a small clock along with a lamp on the bedside and it read midnight. Sighing, she sat on the edge of the bed to comb her fingers through her red locks. Wanting a small amount of comfort she had put on her trusty jersey and one of the two pairs of sweatpants she had brought with her.
She knew sleep wouldn't come easily for her. She was wired and she had to admit a little nervous to see Raphael again. She was somewhat relieved that she still had a day of reprieve. Jake said he had changed. How? She remembered how cold he had seemed before when she first met him. Was he worse than that? The thought sent a cold shiver through her and she curled under the blankets of her bed, pulling the covers up to her chin.
She wasn't 100 percent sure what she should be doing here as a timestress and she hoped her boss would get in contact with her soon so that she could get a clue as to where to start. Her eyes trailed to her dual katana which were leaning against the corner. Powerful weapons that helped her harness the elements and she still couldn't believe the crap that she was now able to do.
"Ugh," she muttered, burrowing further into the somewhat flat pillow. The room was too quiet: the silence making her ears want to ring in discomfort. She wanted a fan or perhaps the sound of someone breathing next to her. Hell, even a television! She then remembered that she had her phone from her world and tossed the covers aside. Though she couldn't make a call on it she found her music play list easily and after shuffling some files around made a soothing mix of soft pop and instrumental pieces. On the fifth track she felt her eyes grow heavy and sleep overtook her.
Jake sighed while reaching into the pocket of his brown duster for his communicator. He knew who it was. Had been expecting this phonecall since he saw Alice's face when the elevator doors opened. He looked at the screen grimly, somewhat tempted to ignore the call, before accepting it with the slide of his thumb.
"General Hamato," he said smoothly, licking the top row of his teeth with his tongue. "What a pleasant surprise."
"Is it her?"
Jake winced at the desperation in the voice. He had hoped his friend had moved on from her, that his continuous flings with different women both human and mutant would get her out of his system. Unlike his brother, who lived a life of solitude and kept everyone at arms-length: Michelangelo had taken a different approach. Jake couldn't quite remember the name of the feline mutant he was spending his time with now. Women have tried to claim the General, thinking that THEY could be the one that could make him settle down. They always ended up disappointed. Perhaps, with her here, she could help him move on. Especially if she continued her relationship with his brother Raphael.
"Yeah," he said, settling on his own bed, pulling out one of the many rolled cigarettes in his shirt pockets. He placed it between his lips then dug into the same pocket for his lighter. He lit it easily and inhaled his addiction, body instantly relaxing as the nicotine roared through his system. "It's her."
"Sonuvabitch," breathed Michelangelo. "She okay?"
"She's the same as the day she left," he said. "Save for the new hair."
"Did she say anything about what happened to her?"
"Fell through the portal, healed up on the other side. Said that for her she's only been gone here a little over a month."
The silence on the other end had him shifting uncomfortably. He flicked the ash of his smoke into a small clay pot on his nightstand before replacing it between his lips. He toed off his boots, letting them hit the floor and shrugged off his jacket to reveal muscular green arms that were scaly to the touch.
"I'll be there in twenty."
"She's resting now," said Jake. "Give her till morning. We already have one General out of his post we don't need two."
"Dammit, Jake," said Michelangelo, ready to argue.
"It makes sense and you know it. What if Raphael doesn't check in tomorrow and your ass gets shot down on the way here? It's too risky. I know you love her, everyone in the inner circle knows you love her: but you know as well as I do she loves your brother."
More silence and Jake was starting to regret his words but Michelangelo did need to hear them.
"I'll be there tomorrow," he snapped before ending the connection.
"Christ," grumbled Jake, tossing his communicator beside his hip. "What a shitstorm."
Michelangelo calmly set his communicator down on his desk, even through he wanted nothing more than to whip it against the wall. Watching the pieces shatter would be satisfying but he needed it just in case he was needed. He replaced the phone with the bottle of liquor he usually kept in his bottom drawer reserved for bad days. This drink was a combination of celebrating Alice's return as well as sulking over Jake's words.
He knew she loved his brother. He knew she would choose Raphael over him in a heartbeat no matter how he plead his case but dammit he loved that woman. He hated it, hated that he had these feelings that were unrequited. He tried, lord how he tried to get her out of his head and out of his heart. His latest distraction lay behind him in the tangle of sheets he had left behind after receiving a message from Donatello that she was back.
He had called his brother immediately, asking how he knew and had gotten the full report. It sounded outrageous, Alice being found by one of their men and her FLYING him to base one. Base one, where Raphael was... Of course. Scowling he swallowed away his bitterness to replace it with the sharp taste of whiskey. Jake, the scaly bastard, just didn't understand. One time, before this all started, he and Jake had been drunk on the patio of one of the many lavish rooms in Saki tower. Michelangelo had still been recovering from Leonardo's attack. He had asked his fellow reptilian mutant if he'd ever been in love. Jake had said no.
"I have. I am. It sucks. Don't ever do it. She's gone and now I'm left with this hole in my heart that... That will never be replaced and to top it off she never loved me back. Not in the same way. My advice? Don't get attached. It's better that way..."
He had taken his own advice. He had closed off his heart and the faces of the women, and a couple men, that he has bed have blurred. He loved them for a night or two, and then found someone knew. Nyx was on her third night and he was already getting bored with her, Of her marking him with her claws as if she had the right. There was only one woman who had that right and she was a twenty minute flight away. He was tempted to ignore Jake's words and go there now but he knew the mutant was right.
It would make no sense to go out on his own in the middle of the night when Raphael was out of his post as well. In fact it was a deal they all made, that when one General was out, unless it was an emergency, the others were to stay in. Just in case something happened but this WAS an emergency dammit.
She was back. He wanted her here to warp his arm around, wanted to bury his nose in her hair to make sure her scent was the same. He wanted to kiss her and demand she never scare him like this ever again. He wanted to fall on his knees and beg her to take him, to choose him-
"Fuck me," he muttered, taking another drink from the bottle to interrupt his thoughts. "What a sad excuse for a General you're turning out to be."
The mission was done but since they didn't travel during the day so they had taken shelter. They were bunkering down in an abandoned building in the lower east side of Manhattan. His team had proven themselves again and together they had infiltrated and rigged up a Triceraton base. They had planted explosives, stolen a couple weapon designs, and had taken out one of the Triceraton leaders in the process. THAT had been a bonus. He could still hear the outraged roars of the aliens as their base went up in flames and it made him smirk evilly.
He settled further back into a wall, feet sprawled out and weapon at his side while munching on his rations. The bar was dry and tasted worse than the oatmeal in the mess hall but it was better than nothing. In the other room he heard the hushed conversations between Siren, his second, and his fellow men. They were settling in for the night and as the sun started streaming in through the streaked windows he heard nothing but light snoring. Times like this he was left to his thoughts and he had no problems with that. He never slept when his men did, always opting to take the first watch because he didn't want anyone ever dying because of him again.
Al. Cortez. Leo. Alice. Those names always brought guilt and pain to his soul, which he was surprised he still had. He didn't want this. Any of it. There were days the role of leader was too much. He wasn't sure how many times his tongue had tasted the metallic barrel of his pistol he always wore at his hip. They were the only reason he stopped. He could picture the look of disappointment on all their faces and he'd click the safety back into place.
He pulled out his communicator and flipped it on. With the operation over and done with he wanted to get in contact with Michelangelo and Donatello and tell them he was fine and that he needed a pickup at this location as soon as the sun was down. Since his base was an island surrounded by water he didn't have the facilities to hide choppers like Donatello did. Donatello's cloaking technology enabled them to travel in the dark silently to Base One. They would put on parachutes and drop out of the choppers one by one and land on the island while the pilots continued flying, circling back to Base Three. So far it has worked and not once have the Triceratons raised a head in their direction.
Three consecutive beeps had him looking down at the screen and frowning. He had two messages from Donatello and one from Michelangelo. Opening up the one from Michelangelo first he read the one sentence and felt the blood drain from his face. Breathing was becoming an issue and his hand was shaking. He read that one sentence over and over again but still didn't quite believe it. He quickly went to Donatello's first message and it read the same.
Alice is back.
"Alice," he whispered, a knot in his heart loosening. "Jesus... She's alive..."
Donatello's second message read:
She's at your base.
He messaged Donatello back, cursing each time his fingers shook to the point that he struggled to hold the communicator.
Misson Complete. Pick up ASAP. 40.7172°N, 73.9897° W
He pocketed the device then brought his head to his hands, biting his tongue to keep the sob from escaping his trembling lips. He was being pathetic, crying for a woman that might not even be Alice. What if she was a copy? A clone? His heart refused to believe it was her until he SAW her. He remembered the blossoming bloodstain on her shirt, the sai in her chest, the dead look that settled into her eyes as she fell through the portal.
She had surprised him before. Perhaps the wound hadn't been as deadly as he had thought? He wanted it to be her. He really did. If she threw a fireball at him then he'd be convinced that it was her. Was she in his bed now? Waiting for him? The thought had him grinning like a lovesick puppy. Eight months he mourned for her, refused the company of other women, closed himself off from even his brothers: and now she was back. Would it change things? Could he be who he'd been before? He was so practiced at not showing emotion that he slightly feared that he'd be cold with her as well. He didn't want that.
"Stop," he ordered to himself, rubbing a hand over his face. "Just wait until you see her. It's gunna be fine. When you see her you'll know."
All he had to do was wait until the sun set in thirteen hours and his questions would be answered.