I woke up early like always and spend my morning with Master Splinter in his room, enjoying morning tea with him. I also asked his permission to go out with little Leo today and it brought smile on father’s face. He liked the idea. Encouraged by him I waited little Leo to wake up and then have breakfast. It was a bit risky to go out at daylight but there still were shadows where I could hide with him.
Around 8am little Leo woke and slowly made his way in the kitchen where Mikey was already preparing his breakfast. I watched from further away how little Leo smiled at Mikey after getting plate full of oath meal in front of him with little piece of butter on it. Instead of just going and giving him milk Mikey asked would little Leo rather have orange juice instead of milk. That little head nodded eagerly few times while pointing juice carton.
“You look suspicious this morning, Leo.”
Raphael stood slightly behind me, taking few steps slowly closer. “You talked with Splinter about going out with little guy?”
“Yes. He gave me his blessing to do so. I will wait little Leo to finish his breakfast and then I will go out with him.”
“You have your phone if you need to call?”
“You know I always carry my phone with me, Raphael.”
“Just wanted to be sure. Hey, little guy! Morning!” And like that Raphael vanished from my side, heading happily towards little Leo who’s whole face shined as he smiled widely to my little brother who bend down to kiss that small green cheek.
I heard Don yawning as he too approached me, wishing me good morning while passing me. I heard his tired voice asking Mikey was there any coffee ready. Of course Mikey had thought about Don too and prepared him full pot of coffee. The way how Don sat down and kept his eyes shut was a sign he hadn’t sleep much last night. He had work whole night with our battle shell and if I knew Donnie at all, there were many sleepless nights to come. Sometimes Don just didn’t know when to stop and get some rest.
“Are you ready to go?”
I kept my eyes locked on little Leo in front of me as he wore longer jacket for kids. He didn’t seem to like overlong sleeves too much but he didn’t dare to show it too clearly but I saw all those little signs on his face he found them annoying. Placing a hat on his head I smiled at him as he looked up at me.
“We need to hide ourselves just in case. Sun’s up and people would see us otherwise and it would be bad.” Little Leo understood. Before heading out Raphael landed his hand on my shoulder making sure we were ready and prepared just in case. I admire his concern over us at times. After convincing him hundreds of times he finally dared to let us go since deep inside he knew little Leo was in good hands.
Removing manhole cover silently I made sure none wouldn’t see us and road seemed to be clear. I jumped out and helped little Leo on the street and he stood still by my side as I moved manhole cover back on its place.
“Okay, rules.” He looked up at me as I looked strictly down at him. “We stay in shadows, out of peoples sights. We make no sounds – we move as silently as we can. No running away from me at any time. You stay tightly by my side. Do you understand?”
Little Leo looked a bit unsure and fearful but he nodded few times. “Good. Then we are good to go. We go on the roof and see where we go from there. Come.” I walked fast but still making sure little Leo was able to keep up with me when we reached for ladders and climb up on the roof. It seemed to be amazing experience to little Leo since he looked all around with wide eyes as wind gently moved his slightly big hat on his head. I allowed him to took his time to look around and admire the view with me. Yeah, New York was very pretty city both at day and night time. It was rare to get to see it at day time.
Little Leo looked confused, looked around few times and then pointed himself. “Yes, you. I will call you L out here, okay?” And he nodded. “I wanted to ask would you like to take a photo with me?”
His eyes grew so wide as his mouth turned fully round and open like an o as he stared at me. I assume it was yes. I knelt down next to him and while I was taking my phone out of my pocket, I escorted him right next to me.
“Look at that small spot there. It’s a camera. Keep smiling aaaanddd – there!” I waited my phone to load my newest photo and I showed it to my little version. He made weird raspy squeal sounds as he jumped on his spot holding my phone and staring the photo. It was very nice photo. Sun was raising behind us and we both were having happy smiles on out faces. It was nice photo indeed. I have to ask Don to print it for little L.
“Okay, enough. Time to move on. Where do you want to go?”
Little Leo turned around looking in all directions and when he spotted ocean at the horizon, he eagerly pointed there. “You want to see ocean?” And he nodded eagerly.
“It’s rather far away… But we can go. I carry you. Hope on.” I knelt down and took L on my shell. Making sure he knew he needed to hold on me tight I started to run, jumping from roof to roof, sometimes landing on all fours when I heard peoples voices coming from their balconies. I had to be careful. Little L tho seemed to enjoy his ride on my back. He kept making his weird giggling and silent laughs as I kept running and, whenever I jumped, he made a little louder squeal, his hands taking more tighter hold on my jacket. Yes, I too wore a jacket not to be notice. It took almost an hour for me to reach the buildings near by the ocean but we finally were there, little L gasping eyes wide as I put him down. He looked at me and pointed the edge of the building and I nodded.
I walked behind him as he tiptoed fast at the edge raising on his toes to see better far away at the ocean. He soon started to point a boat what slowly slipped through the horizon. I’m sure he wanted to ride one but sadly I couldn’t grant that wish. I knew no one who had a boat and I couldn’t break into someone’s boat to give him a drive. Some seagulls flew over us screaming as the wind from ocean blew past us. The smell of ocean air – so calming and wonderful scent.
My sleeve suddenly was pulled few times and I turned to look where that small finger was pointing at. There was small carnival at the shore and little Leo clearly wanted to go there. Can’t blame him since people seemed to have fun there. Sighing I knelt down placing my hands on those small shoulders.
“I know you want there but we can’t go there. We are not humans. If we go there we will be seen. We will scare many people and police will come after us. They think we are bad. I would like to go there too but it’s better if we stay away from that place. It’s for humans, not for us.”
L made little sound as his lower lip started to hang out more and he turned to look carnival once more. I understood how much pain he was experiencing at the moment. Being a child and wanting to go to have fun but you weren’t allowed because you were different… I heard him sniffing once and it made me feel even more bad. I shouldn’t had bring him here. I squeezed his small shoulder in comforting way but it didn’t seem to help him much. Then – an idea hit me.
I left the roof and landed on the street. Making sure I was super well hidden under my long jacket and my hat was tightly on my head I rushed over the silent road towards the entrance of the carnival noticing a sign board. Open to 9am – 9pm. Hmm, 9pm would be kind of late already but then again little L could sleep longer in next day. Making sure I wasn’t getting any attention from anyone I returned back on the roof meeting with little Leo.
“You know what, little guy? You will get to go there but after 9pm. Until then we need to go around the city or go back home and come back later.”
L shook his head and then pointed the city. So he wanted to see more of it? Very well. I took him more closer to central square where he saw many different people and lots of happenings, many commercial TVs, lots of stores, lots of everything. He was amazed but then again I had been pretty amazed too when I had seen all this for the first time. We went from roof to roof until L made me stop, pointing at huge toy store.
“We can’t go there.” I hated to keep repeating that and make him sad but this time he didn’t give up. He kept pointing towards the store and when I took more closer look at the window, there was huge turtle plush.
“You want that?” He made excited and fast panting sounds while nodding. I didn’t understood why he wanted it but he most surely would blew our cover if I wouldn’t go get it. “Okay, I go get it if it’s not too expensive. You wait here.”
Instead of letting me go his hold got more tight. D-did he want to come with me?
“Leo, I can’t ta--”
But he protested looking at me angrily with pout, making his hold even more tight. I sighed deeply while rolling my eyes in my head. “Okay, okay. You can come BUT you stay by my side. No fooling around, no running away or anything. You can’t show anything about yourself to anyone. No hands, no feet, no face. We are really screwed if you or I do that. Understood?”
He nodded looking all so serious. I couldn’t help but to chuckle at him a bit. He reminded me so much about Raphael with that expression. I took ladders down with him, heading slowly to a main walking street. I must admit I was darn nervous and tense, on guard all the time and ready to grab L and just run and hide. He took a hold on my jacket’s hem as we waited walk light to go green. I felt him being nervous as well since there lots of people around us but none of them didn’t seem to care about us. I mean you see ALL kind of people in New York. Light turned green and we walked with the group over the road heading straight to toy store.
We were greeted by old couple who seemed to own the place. Without wanting to spend too much time in there I marched to them and asked about the turtle plush on the window. It was on sale and they were giving it away with half price because it had been in the store for so long. I paid 50 dollars and climb on the window to get it since I could had never asked those old people to go get it when they couldn’t move so well anyways.
I felt their gazes on me and I’m sure they saw my hands when I reached for the plus but neither of them said nothing. I climb back at store’s side looking around but I couldn’t see L anywhere.
“Son? Come here, we’re leaving.” I waited and waited and, darn, those seconds felt so long. Soon little Leo came to me holding a bear plush in his hands. It looked very much like the same what he had with him when he came to live with us but I couldn’t buy it to him. I already had buy him one teddy bear which was already wrapped and hidden under my bed, waiting for Christmas.
“Go put it back. You already got this big turtle so no teddy.” He stopped like if he would had hit the wall. His blue eyes looked at me sad under his hat but I shook my head. “No. Take it back. You got this turtle already. One toy is enough.”
He was swallowing while lowering his gaze on that teddy. It seemed to be dear to him already and I didn’t want to make him cry there but I had no choice.
“Son, for the last time. Go put it back. We are not getting it.”
So slowly he turned around and walked away with slow sad steps, disappearing behind the shelf. “I’m sorry about that, ma’am. I hate to do that to him but…” I went back more closer to this older woman and leaned towards her, keeping my face hidden and voice low. “After we leave, could you take that bear and put it aside? I will ask one of my friends to come to pick it up later to my son as a Christmas gift. She will pay it and I will pay it back to her. Name’s April O’Neil.”
“Sure thing. That wouldn’t be a problem at all, my dear.” I felt relieved and smile escaped on my lips.
“Thank you.” I stood up straight hearing little feet hitting the floor. Little Leo came to my side and looked up at me with watery eyes. “Come now, I’m sure Santa will bring you something nice if you’re a good boy. And do you know what a good boy is? Someone who smiles and laughs instead of cries. Come on, smile. You make Mister Turtle here sad too.”
I lowered that huge turtle towards L who looked at it for a moment and then petted its head, slowly reaching to hug it. I heard silent “aawwh” from the old lady behind the cash register. I didn’t want to force L to let go but we really needed to go so I took hold on his hand, said bye to the owners and took L out of the store. We found small dead end where we rested a moment. I thought about lecturing little L for that what happened in a store but seeing him now happily hugging that turtles leg made me change my mind.
Carrying that big turtle and L around the city for a whole day was exhausting and it also had made me hungry. Or actually both of us since for a while now I had keep hearing L’s stomach growling as well. Once more I had hid Leo and went on my own way. This time towards pizzeria. I ordered one cheese pizza and took it with me. I thanked God for the fact none wasn’t there before me so I got my order pretty quick since after I left, huge group of younger people came in. Climbing on the roof and hiding in most darkest part L and I sat down and enjoyed our meal. Steamy and warm pizza at the moist and cool city night… It was something and worth to experience.
During eating my phone vibrated in my pocket. I text from Raph, of course.
“How are you two? Everything okay?”
“Everything’s fine. We’ll go check one more place and then we will come home.”
“Ok. Don’t be too late. Little Leo needs his sleep.”
Hmh, yeah. Like I didn’t need any sleep either. I chuckled silently in my mind releasing hold on my phone, feeling it falling into my pocket. Leaving empty pizza box on the roof we started to head back towards the ocean since clock was soon 9:30pm. I was sure none wouldn’t be there anymore – and there wasn’t. Good. Running fast in shadows over the road to closed and dark carnival area I helped little Leo inside the area following him silently.
“Okay, pick a device what you want to use but remember we can’t be here for long. We might get caught.” I looked around in silence. “Besides here can be cameras what might record us.”
Little Leo nodded. He understood the risks and rules. He walked all around and picked carousel. He climb on a horse kicking its sides gently smiling and pointing forward. I chuckled while shaking my head. It would never move like that. Stepping closer and making sure power wires were on, but not the light ones, I turned the power one and carousel started to move around silently in darkness. Little Leo seemed to have so much fun and so did I while watching him.
After carousel turn L pointed at sweet stall. I couldn’t blame him for wanting some sweets so I picked few for him what he selected, picking few of them more to my family as well. April was the one who once had brought us some sweets from carnival and we had liked them a lot. We passed carousel while heading towards the gates when multiply thud sounds echoed from all around us.
Taking fast look all around of us I spotted many foot soldiers. “Oh fu--- fish! You guys couldn’t pick a better night to try to attack me?” No response. Only blades shines in the night as they all revealed their weapons. Giving candy bag to L I stepped more closer to him.
“Stay close to me unless I tell you to go away.”
Throwing my jacket and hat away I was able to pull my katanas from my back, getting ready to fight. Raphael would kill me if something would happen to little Leo. Steadily staying still I waited their turns and they all attacked me at once. Blocking sword with a sword, arm with an arm and leg with leg I managed to keep up with them.
“Leo! Go behind that carousel horse! I need space to move!”
Thanks to my sharp senses I heard him taking off slow but surely since he took that huge turtle plush with him. Fast look over my shoulder and I saw him hiding behind a horse. Good. Now I didn’t need to worry about him. Now I could go freely all out and I felt my blocked energy flowing in my arms, legs and whole body as I started to dance with my blades freely. I loved this feeling since it made me go in this blissful and completely relaxed zone which felt like hypnotize or very deep meditation. My body knew exactly how it needed to move and where and when. My eyes were getting half closed as my sharp senses became even more sharp. I felt it clearly when my blade cut flesh, when they just ripped a fabric, when they hit with another weapon or cut just air.
At some point my senses started to fade back at their normal state and my eyes slowly opened. Pile of bodies laid on the sad, their bloods coloring part of the beach red. I heard sirens in the distance but I was sure they were heading this way. Placing my swords back in their scabbards I picked up my hat and jacket rushing to little Leo.
“We need to go, now. Cops are coming.”
L came with me as we both hurried over the road to closet manhole. Placing the cover back above my head I finally dared to sigh loud and deep. Damn, what a day. Feeling cool sewer floor under my toes after last ladder I put my whole weight on my feet, feeling instant sharp pain at my ankle.
Looking down I realized I had been cut by one of those darn Foot ninjas. It wasn’t deadly but painful nonetheless. Little Leo poked me and pointed my leg and then made walking movements with his fingers.
“No worries, I can walk. It just hurts a bit. Let’s go. It’s late already.” It took a bit longer to reach home because of my ankle and when we reached home, angry Raphael was awake alone and waiting for us. He jumped off from a chair and marched towards us. Little Leo his a bit behind my leg as Raphael came to stop in front of me.
“Have you any idea how much the time is?”
“I’m fully aware it’s almost 11pm and past little Leo’s bedtime.”
“Damn right it is. What took you so long? And what the heck is that big turtle toy?”
Little Leo stepped next to me pointing himself.
“The reason why it took so long to get back home is that we had way too much fun and no rush to get back. We also did some shopping as you can see. Here’s something for you too.” I handled little sweet bag to Raphael what he took slowly in slight surprise but he managed to say thanks.
“Are others in bed already?”
“Yeah. Splinter went to bed in his regular time and yes, I checked his leg with Don before letting him sleep. He’s healing well. Mikey went to bed early too. Don was putting up a little fight when I forced him to bed around 10pm as well. Darn he doesn’t know when to sleep and think for his own good. I almost had to drag him in his bed and cover him.”
I almost laughed out loud to him when he kept explaining what had happened at the evening. “How about you? Why you’re not in bed?”
“Are you kidding me? I wouldn’t had been able to sleep while knowing you and little Leo were still out. What if you would had need my help and I would had been sleeping? You always wait any of us to come home before going to bed so… I thought I at least could do the same.”
I felt warm inside after hearing those words. I adored it how much he cared and worried about us. How much we meant to him.
“Sorry for keeping you awake. You can go to bed now.” Taking a step with my injured leg, what I already had forgot, made me reel forward with loud hiss. Raphael instantly stepped forward, arms open and ready to catch me, worried look in his eyes.
“What the shell…?”
Little Leo was pointing my bleeding ankle which now was noticed by Raphael as well. “How the hell you got that? Or actually, never mind. You can talk later. We need to get you to sit down so that I can check that wound.”
“I can check it myself.”
“Shut it.” Raphael bend slightly down and I felt his arms going behind my knees and shell and with one simple move I was in the air, in his arms.
“R-Raphael, I can walk..!”
“Yell a bit more and you wake everyone up.”
“S-seriously, put me down.”
“And let you walk with snail’s speed? Your ankle will get rotten in that time and fall off before you reach that couch so just shut up and let me carry you.”
I had to accept my defeat so I kept my mouth shut and allowed myself to be carried on the couch. Little Leo dragged his huge new toy on the carpet next to living room table and climb on turtle’s shell on his stomach. It indeed was huge toy since he was able to lay on it without any problems. Soon his eyes were getting more and more closer and he fell asleep on his toy.
“You should take him to bed first. My leg can wait.”
“He can wait, not your leg. That darn cut is full of dirt and it needs to be cleaned and all.” Disappearing into needle room Raphael soon came back with first aid kit, placing it on living room table near him. Pulling small chair to himself to sat on Raphael placed my foot in his lap, starting slow and careful cleaning progress. He was extremely careful, checked my wound many times to make sure all dirt, even tiniest ones, had been removed before he went on. I sat there silently watching him working and I couldn’t help but to smile. His big fingers were fast and skilled despite their size. It also was rare to see Raphael ‘fixing’ someone since usually it was him who needed fixing.
“Who cut you? And don’t try to give me lies. I have seen so many katana slices that I can easily tell this was made by the sword.”
His green eyes rose up to meet mine as he patiently waited answer.
“The Foot. Little Leo and I were in carnival after it was closed and when we’re leaving, group of Foot soldiers came there from nowhere.”
Raphael instantly turned to look little me. “It’s okay. He’s unharmed. I know you would had kill me if anything would had happen to him. I… I did my best to keep him safe.” Raphael’s head slowly turned back towards me, our eyes locking to stare each other once more.
“You took a hit because of it?”
“I actually don’t know in which moment I got injured. I was too much into zone during that fight. I noticed the cut after we came back in the sewers.”
“I’m glad it’s only a cut. You could had lose your whole foot below ankle.”
“… You won him that big turtle?” Little hiss escaped me when needle with stitch yarn pierced and went through my flesh as Raphael slowly was pulling the cut close layer by layer. “You okay? I can numb the area better if needed.”
“No, no. I’m okay. Just wasn’t prepared to that. Go on.”
“About that turtle. I bought it to him from toy store. He spotted it from the roof and he wanted it so bad. He would had cry a lot if he wouldn’t had got it.”
“Tag says it costed 50 bucks. Where you got suck money?”
“From April when she and I… You know.”
I didn’t want to say anything further just in case if little Leo was or would wake up. Thank God Raphael realized what I was talking about.
“Ah, I see. … I assume you two still had fun?”
“From my part yes.”
“Hmh, it seems he had fun too.” Turning to take a look of sleeping little Leo Raphael turned back on stitching me. “He sleeps with a smile on his face. I’m glad you spend today with him.”
“About that… I think we all should spend a day with him. Don could have a turn tomorrow and then Mikey.”
“Sounds fair. He get to know us more and all.” Making small knot after stitching my whole wound up Raph cut the yarn and wiped my skin on and around the wound. “There. It ain’t as pretty as Don’s doing but it holds.”
“It’s perfect. Thank you.” I was trying to get up but Raphael’s big hand on my chest plate stopped me.
“Woah, woah! Where you think you’re going?”
“Um, sleep. To my own bed.”
“Hold on a sec.” His voice was low and warning so I knew better than go against him. Sitting back down I watched how Raphael squatted and picked little Leo up with the turtle plush, carrying them both near little Leo’s bed. Gently moving little Leo to sleep on his bed, Raphael placed plush on the chair what was near the bed. It seemed he didn’t want to leave it on dirty and moist floor which made sense. Covering little me and kissing his forehead Raphael took his direction towards me.
I was gonna get up again but his low growl stopped me in the middle pose of getting up so I rolled my eyes and waited him to pick me up in his arms.
“You’re not gonna walk with that leg for now.”
He gave me a look and snort but still carried me to my room, placing me on the edge of my bed. Kneeling down Raphael started to take off my leg gears and shoes which made blush spread on my cheeks.
“K-knock it out! I can remove them myself.”
“I will take only these off. Rest you can take off yourself.” After removing gauze and shoes Raphael kept his words and stepped back still staying in the room and watching me undress. However he didn’t let me stand so taking my pants off was difficult.
“Get on your shell and lift your legs up a bit.” Before his words even sank in my mind that well he pushed me on my shell and took a hold on my pants waistline and pulled them down.
“What?! I’m helping you! Or do you want to sleep with these dirty pants on?”
“… N… No.”
“Then shut up. They are off already.” Bending my pants Raphael placed them at the end of my bed, helping me to turn right way on my bed, slowly pulling blanket over my body.
“You really didn’t need to do this much.”
“I know but I wanted to. Got any complains?”
“Of course not. I… I appreciate all what you did. Thanks.”
“Hmh, don’t mention it. You’re good now? Need anything?”
“Thanks, but I’m all good.”
“Good. Go to sleep now then. Keep your phone close so you can call me if you need anything.”
“I will, I will. Good night.”
Watching my room’s door closing behind him made my smile grew wider and wider, my hold getting tighter and tighter on my blanket. Him being so caring made me feel so super happy until I fell in much needed sleep.