Carrie stood shivering in the doorway; her long damp hair clung to her face.
“What are you doing here?” Leonardo asked, stepping aside to let Carrie pass.
She carefully bent down and laid the sleeping baby on the armchair, glancing back over her shoulder Carrie nervously tucked her hair behind her ear.
“I didn’t like being cooped up at hospital, so I discharged myself. I’d much rather be here.”
“How did you get here?” Leonardo wrapped a blanket around Carrie’s shoulders.
“You what!? No, look, never mind it doesn’t matter.” Leonardo didn’t wish to argue, not right now. Carrie tried to straighten up but she was forced double by a blinding pain across her abdomen. She felt Leonardo’s strong arms support her as he guided her to the couch.
“Just sit down.” He childed, “I’ll get you something hot to drink, it will help with the pain.” Leonardo rushed off to busy himself in the kitchen, on his return he noticed Carrie was gazing adoringly at her daughter.
“Have you thought of a name yet?” Leonardo asked trying to fill gaping the silence as he placed a mug of tea beside her. Carrie let a small smile escape and play on her lips. Leonardo had always thought she looked better when she smiled which was sadly very rare.
“Hope.” Carrie said simply before taking a sip of her tea. “That is what she represents, hope. The hope of a new life, a new beginning.” She fought hard to hold back the tears brimming in her eyes.
“Hey, no, don’t cry.” Leonardo awkwardly placed an arm around her trembling shoulders in an attempt to comfort her. She cast him a fleeting glance before looking away.
“What I said before, about hating you.” Tears began to tumble, tracing their way down her face. “I didn’t mean it, I don’t hate you.” Leonardo took her chin in his hand and turned her face so that he could look into her shimmering blue eyes; using the pad of his thumb he delicately brushed the tears from her warm cheeks. An unfamiliar urge that had been burning deep within a dark forgotten corner of himself burst through, no longer nor willing to resist he softly kissed her. For the first time in a long while Carrie felt truly safe, resting her head on his chest she allowed the warm comforting waves of sleep wash over her.
Stirring dreamily still enfolded in his embrace Carrie woke, trying not to rouse Leonardo she quietly slipped out of his grasp and made her to the spare room. Frantically she began to search through her suitcase. She would just give it back and if she was lucky she would get away with her life. Where was it? It had to be here somewhere! Gone! She looked over at Leonardo still sleeping soundly. She couldn’t risk him finding out, becoming more entangled, involved then he already was. She cared too much for him to let that happen. Sitting on the floor she could feel the whole room, everything pressing in, suffocating her. What was she going to do now? She had to get out of here go somewhere else; she had to think clearly. Grabbing her coat, she stooped to stroke Hope’s warm soft face before turning to lightly kiss Leonardo’s forehead. “I won’t be long.” She whispered closing the door quietly.
Raphael silently watched, shrouded by a cloak of shadows as Carrie left the building and strode off into the night. His patient visual had not been in vain, without his brother to hide behind she should prove easy prey.
Jon flashed his crooked smile as he watched Carrie leave and continue down the street. This was all too easy, he snorted to himself. She was playing right into his grubby little hands. Now he could break into the apartment, get what he came for and then lay in wait for her. She wouldn’t suspect a thing, the element of surprise. This would be a walk in the park, it wasn’t often he got to mix business with warped pleasure.
Leonardo was back, standing in the sinister trash strewn alley of his nightmares. His pulse quickened and his breathing shallowed. What happened, how did he get here? Why did he keep returning here, night after fitful night? Something wasn’t right! He turned only to notice a looming figure stood behind him. Their hollow eyes scorched right into his soul, extinguishing his very spirit. Blood soaked stain spread across the figures chest as they shakily raised the gun in their hand and stepped into the light. “See you in hell!” Carrie snarled.
A piercing cry shot through shattering the illusion, tearing Leonardo from the choking blackness. He must have been asleep. Sitting up, still groggy he scrubbed his eyes with the base of his hand and glanced round looking for the source of the noise. Hope was screaming and thrashing her arms and legs her wrinkled face screwed up tight.
“Carrie?” No answer. He called again “Carrie?”
Carrie walked a short while before the dulling ache running through her insides forced her to rest. She lent against a corner wall. What was she going to do now? Without it all was lost, Richard wasn’t the type to forget grudges easily and he would stop at nothing to get what he wants. How could she have lost it? How could she have let something so vital, important, the very thing that had caused all this pain and suffering slip through her fingers?
The low growl startled Carrie from her self-torture, her body tensed with fear as a figure melted out of the shadows before her.
“Oh it’s you.” Carrie breathed, but not through relief. She never had felt entirely safe in his company; the way he smiled at her was unsettling.
Leonardo stood looking at Hope, a battle raged inside him. What should he do? He had to stop her crying somehow before someone decided to complain, or worse call the police. He nervously put his hands out towards her, before quickly pulling them back. Was this really the right thing to do? What if he did something wrong, dropped her? What if she needed changing? Where the hell was Carrie? Taking a deep breath he pulled her up into his arms and held her stiffly, she stopped crying long enough to look at him before continuing with a renewed vigour. Leonardo caught himself wishing Michaelangelo were there; he would simply revel in something like this. What would he do if he were here now? Leonardo started gently swaying Hope from side to side.
“Please stop crying.” He pleaded pitifully. Hope started to murmur and gurgle softly as the movement soothed her.
Carrie flinched as Raphael pushed her hard into the wall.
“You have a lot of explaining to do, so start talking!” He barked.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Carrie could feel her legs start to shake and give way underneath her. Raphael’s face soured, he leaned in dangerously close to Carrie’s face.
“Well, if you won’t talk to me, I’ll find someone you will talk to.” He hissed in her ear.
Using a dumpster as a make shift boost Jon clambered up the fire escape to the kitchen window. Peering through the window he checked that the coast clear then set to work levering his entry open.
Tentatively Leonardo set the sleeping child down. At last! Suddenly a noise drew his attention to the kitchen. Silently he went to investigate, every sense focused.
Swinging his legs over the ledge, Jon quietly lowered himself to the floor. Feeling his way he crept along until he found a light switch.
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