Rating: K

Word Count: 911

I do not own TMNT.


10. Misfortune

April figured there were two kinds of people in her business; casual passerbys who came for the sheer novelty of it, and desperate crackheads who were constantly haunted by their imagination. She didn't get a whole lot of respect in her line of work. Most people thought she was as high as her customers. Which actually, she couldn't blame them for.

She was however, a bit unorthodox in her methods.

The cards, the dice, boards that told the future, she omitted it all from her business. Instead she told it to them straight. "I'm psychic and I can read your mind if you let me hold your hands," is what she told all her customers. Most of them only laughed easily at her proclamation. "Of course you are," they said, not unkindly.

She wheeled her gypsy cart into Central Park whenever she had a chance, flashed her vendors permit for the park police and set up shop, hoping for something to scrape her by for the rest of the week. Most of the time people's thoughts were boring - a new colleague, a visit from a friend, a fun date. She'd offer them advice, and they'd leave, charmed and a bit puzzled.

Today would be different.

April felt his presence before he came into the cart. The last light of dusk leaked in when the door swung open. A shadow slipped inside, hurriedly closing the door behind him. April reached out to his mind, subtly poking at it for a hint of his thoughts.

"Don't," he snapped, his hands twitching.

April sighed and leaned back in her chair. The bulky figure brushed himself off before sitting in the chair opposite her. His eyes glared at her in accusation.

"So this is the definition of a 'steady job'," he stated in a voice that was too calm.

"Steadier than yours," April replied with a little too much bite.

"You know it's because I can't have that. You can," the shadow reprimanded. April's mouth twitched and tightened in the corners.

"That's presumptuous," April insisted.

"You have a college degree, and it's even paid off," he pointed out. "It shouldn't be this hard for you to find a job."

"College was different! I could miss a class here and there and it was fine!" April fumed. "But if I suddenly need to leave work because there's a threat to the city, what am I supposed to tell my boss? 'Well sorry sir, but I work part time as a vigilante. Can I leave work early today?'"

"All I'm asking is for you to try," the other figure reprimanded. "This-" he gestured around him at the gypsy cart. "-this is not trying."

"I have tried Leo! I tried and I got fired from four different jobs!" April said, and she took off her headscarf in frustration. Leo sighed and his eyes trailed around the cart, taking in the little trinkets displayed all throughout the room. There was a recurring theme hidden in the display - the image of a turtle was scattered about, almost subconsciously.

"April, I obviously can't know what it's like-" Leo began. April didn't give him the chance to finish.

"That's the problem Leo! You expect me to juggle two separate lives but you only have to deal with one! You can't understand and so you can't criticize me!" April declared, her eyes alight with indignance.

"Fine, so your life is hard. So you've had misfortune. So has everyone else," Leo replied in a clipped tone. "Do you see me giving up? My family hates me April, but I get up every day and I keep going even though I feel like absolute shit. Do something and stop whining like a teenager."

"Oh, well what do you suggest I do?" April shot back. She wasn't expecting an answer. It was meant to be a comeback, a retort. Something to annoy him. Leo stood up and faced her off, his mind closed off from her and his expression calm.

"Don't try to juggle two lives. Maybe it's time you started focusing on yourself and what you want," Leo told her. "April O'Neil the scientist can change the world just as much as April O'Neil the ninja."

April blinked in surprise. The thought had never even so much as crossed her mind. To stop fighting was to give in, right? She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.

"Think about it," Leo suggested. Then he slipped out of the the cart, letting in a waft of fresh air and a brief flash of sunlight leak in as he departed. April leaned back in her chair, turning over his words in her head.

After the sun had set, April roamed back home, parking her car and cart and going to her apartment. One cappuccino later, she sat down at her desk and flipped open her laptop. She reopened a tab she had closed earlier that day.

"Lab assistant wanted," it read on the site. "Opportunities to advance."

April stared at it for a long moment, then looked at the prized tessen she had displayed on her wall. Her first weapon, a symbol of her induction into the clan and her promise to fight to protect her family and her home.

"Apply?" the screen prompted. She saw the promise reflecting back at her.

"Yes," she clicked.