A Late Night Chat
When Raphael arrived at Casey's place, he peered in to find that April was there. Casey had left the window open. Raph wasn't really looking forward to explaining things. But nevertheless, he took a deep breath and went inside.
As expected, both Casey and April began bombarding him with questions. He held up his hands and they both quieted. April was the first to speak. "Casey says that you have a female mutant in the lair."
Raphael nodded. "Yeah, we rescued her from a top secret human laboratory."
Both humans staggered and stared in shock. Casey looked horrified. "D-did they…?"
The hothead didn't have to be a genius to catch the implications of that question. He nodded, solemnly.
April was shocked. "They e-experimented on her?"
Raph's face was grim, his lips pulled into a tight frown. "More like tortured her." An uncomfortable silence weighed heavily on their shoulders as Raph turned to Casey. "You can understand why she doesn't react well to humans."
Casey had a pained expression on his face. "I'm sorry man, like I said, I never meant to scare her."
Raph offered his best bud a small grin and a clap on the shoulder. "Don't sweat it Casey. I'm hoping that the next time you come down I can convince Mona to at least let you shake her hand."
"Don't rush her, Raph." April murmured.
"Trust me, I won't." He stated calmly, making April raise an eyebrow.
"Mona?" Casey echoed, curiously.
"Mona Lisa." Raphael elaborated.
April's eyes gleamed. "That's a beautiful name."
A rare smile danced across the hotheaded turtle's lips. "Yeah. It fits her."
"Leo's idea?" April hazarded a guess.
Raph crossed his arms over his chest. "Mine, actually. She made the ultimate decision, though. I wasn't about to let her get stuck with a name she didn't like."
A hand clapped the red-masked turtle's shoulder. "You seem very concerned about her." Casey Jones stated evenly.
Raphael shrugged. "I'm her guardian. I'm supposed to be." He did an about-face and headed for the window.
The two humans exchanged surprised glances. When their gaze turned back towards him, they found merely an empty space where a turtle had once been.
When Raphael got back to the lair he found his eldest brother and Mona Lisa seated on the couch watching some kind of cartoon-action movie. As soon as Leonardo heard him enter, the leader stood and moved over to him. Mona seemed too enthralled by the movie to notice.
Raph decided to keep the conversation at whisper so as not to disturb Mona. "What is she doing up? She should be resting! Need I remind you she's still recovering?!"
Leo frowned and whispered hotly back, "She insisted! She refused to go to bed! Despite her very childlike personality, she can be as stubborn as you when she wants to be! Something we learned while you were out! It took us practically an hour-and-a-half just to calm her down after you left! Personally, I think she wanted to wait up for you."
Raph's neon green eyes softened as he glanced over to the couch where she sat, still completely engaged by the film. His anger dispelled, he turned back to his older brother. "You kept an eye on her, then?"
The corner of Raph's mouth turned upwards into a tiny little smile. "You go on to bed, bro. We've got early morning training tomorrow."
Leo returned the smile. "Sure thing. You think you can handle things here?" The eldest said, gesturing to Mona Lisa.
Raphael nodded. Leo turned and began to make his way down the hall to his room, when… "And Leo."
The eldest turtle turned and glanced back at his hotheaded brother. Raph's smile slowly disappeared. Leo raised an eye-ridge.
Leonardo stared wide-eyed for a few moments before his face melted into a relaxed smile. He nodded, softly, and whispered, "You're welcome." As he turned and made his way to his room, the eldest turtle's smile grew.
Maybe this new responsibility is good for Raphael…
Raph turned away from Leo and slowly moved over to the couch. "You know, you really should be resting." He remarked loudly.
Mona jumped slightly at the sudden sound of Raph's voice, but she immediately turned to him, with a rather bashful look on her face. The turtle sat down beside her and Mona moved closer, her hands cupping both sides of his face, as her eyes searched for injuries.
Raph chuckled and tipped her chin upwards so that he could look her in the eyes. "Relax, I'm fine. I was just meeting with my friends."
Mona looked him over once more before she accepted that and pulled him into a hug.
Raphael was a little bit shocked, but he did his best to reciprocate. As he pulled away, the turtle looked down into her eyes, then looked away. "Mona…I hate to bring this up, and I know this will be hard for you, but we really need to know a little more about you. About where you came from, who you are…I don't suppose you'd be willing to answer a few questions."
There was a long period of silence. Mona made eye-contact with Raphael and for almost a solid minute the two of them just stared at each other. Finally, Mona Lisa reached out, grabbed Raph's hand, and nodded.
Worry flashed in Raphael's eyes. "You're sure it's not too soon?"
She squeezed his hand tightly and gestured him to go ahead.
"Mona, when were you mutated?"
The lizard mutant frowned and looked down. Raphael could tell from her expression that she didn't know how to answer the question. Her eyebrows were furrowed and her bottom lip was pushed out in a brooding expression.
"Can you remember anything from before you were captured by the humans?"
Mona frowned and shook her head. She stood from the couch and began to make wild gestures.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, slow down!" Raph insisted.
Mona Lisa did as he asked. She bent down and gestured to something about the height of her knee. Raph was confused. Mona put a hand on her head, and then moved it down to her knee.
"Smaller? When you were smaller?" Raph asked.
Mona nodded. Then she gestured to herself.
Mona shook her head and pointed to herself once again, this time moving her tail.
Raph's eye-ridges furrowed. "You? Your mutation?" Suddenly the pieces came together. "You were mutated when you were smaller."
Mona nodded solemnly. She pointed to her head and then moved her hand away quickly. And made a 'kaput' gesture.
Raph wasn't certain, but he believed he was correct in assuming, "You don't remember."
Mona's eyes filled with tears as she nodded and leaned into him. Raphael put his arm around her and gently rubbed her shoulder. Her sobs slowed until finally she went silent.
Raphael belatedly realized that she had fallen asleep. He smiled. "I think you've had quite enough excitement for one day." The turtle nimbly removed himself from her grip and stood. Slowly, and ever-so-delicately, the hothead lifted her up into his arms and began to carry her down the hall to the spare room, which she had been occupying for the last few days.
He couldn't help but blush as Mona smiled and leaned into him.
Raphael lay on his bed, staring up at the oh-so-familiar ceiling. His mind was swirling with thoughts and feelings concerning their guest. The corner of his mouth bent into a smile as he thought about her insatiable desire to learn. She'd only been with them for a few days and she was already slowly turning into a member of the family.
Yesterday morning Raphael had caught sight of her peering into the dojo during Master Splinter's meditation, and she had proceeded to go inside, interrupt him, and express her curiosity as to its purpose. Instead of reprimand, which anyone else would have received for such behavior, the old rat smiled and began to explain the nature of meditation.
She was so…different, from anyone he'd ever met before. The lizard mutant was just full of so many contradictions. On the one hand, she was stubborn and knew what she wanted, on the other…she was timid, shy, and wary. She was just so…complex. She was nothing like the other girls Raph had met. Well, technically the only girl he'd ever met was April. And Mona was waaaaaaaay cooler than April.
At least, he thought so. April hung out mostly with Don, so Raph hadn't really gotten quite as close to her as his brothers. Also Raph and April actually butted heads on more than they actually agreed upon. They were too dissimilar to really bond particularly well.
Nothing against April…she was cool and all that, but Mona was so much more…He wasn't altogether sure. Like he said, Mona was just…different. But it was a good kind of different. It was refreshing.
And Mona was so much more fun to be around.
There was something about Mona Lisa's nature that Raphael thoroughly enjoyed. It didn't matter whether she was being stubborn or sweet, she was always entertaining.
Raph couldn't help but smile as he thought about the way she'd taken to checking him for injuries. As the most hotheaded and hardheaded of his brothers, he wasn't too used to people being overly concerned about him. Yes, he was often injured, sometimes rather badly, but he never really broadcasted his injuries. He wasn't really one to seek concern because he wasn't a very touchy-feely kinda guy. But where Mona was concerned, it gratified him somehow. It felt good to know that she cared enough to be concerned. It was also kinda cute…in a very Mona sort of way.
Raphael fell asleep with a smile on his face.