"This has to be the insanest plan you ever came up with." Mike grumbled as they crouched in the shadows near the Sigma Theta's patio.
"Quit complaining," Raph growled. "It's better than your idea to just go home."
"It's Friday night. X-Files is coming on."
"Who's the more foolish; the fool or the fool who follows the fool?"
"No one's forcing you to stay, Donnie."
Mona quickly kissed Raph's cheek. He turned to her, and she grinned at the shock she had registered. "You're so cute when you're defensive. Besides, someone's coming."
Keno and Dan wandered out to the patio. "How do we get talked into these things?"
"Because we're too stupid to realize that when you try to humor Allie she holds you to it like glue." Dan sighed. She is just way too good at that But you promised . . . for it to be healthy for her."
"Dan? Keno?" Leo crawled out and after a second the others followed. "What are you doing here?"
Dan and Keno jumped back. "What are you doing here?"
"We're looking for Allie," Raph answered. "We think the Ronin went in there and we want her to scout it out."
"Why are you guys here? You haven't joined a fraternity." Donnie frowned.
Dan and Keno both managed to look extremely sheepish. "We're doing a favor for Allie," Dan explained.
The Turtles and some strange lizard-girl continued to gaze at them. "Okay, technically, we're escorts. But not Allie's," Keno hastened to add, seeing Mike start to frown.
"I didn't think you guys were that hard up for dates," Raph commented with a laugh.
Dan blushed, "It's not like that. Allie had one of her brilliant ideas."
"Oh no," Donnie moaned.
"This one's pretty good," Keno admitted. "We're supposed to escort girls home that have partied a little too hard."
"A girl that Allie and Sammie know was dated raped at a party given by Sigma Theta," Dan informed them. "But they can't build a case because she was drunk. So Allie's trying to build the case or at least preventing it from happening again."
"That is a brilliant idea." Mona elbowed Raph slightly, "Aren't you going to introduce me?"
"Oh, sorry. Mona, this is Dan and Keno. Dan, Keno, this is Mona Lisa."
After general greetings, Mike turned to Dan and Keno. "Has Allie been here the whole night?"
"Ever since the party started," Dan answered.
"Getting a little jealous over Allie?" Donnie teased.
"Not jealous, worried."
"Anyway, have you seen a girl come in during the past few minutes?" Leo asked.
"You're going to have to give us more to go on," Keno replied. "Every other person coming in the door has been about three girls."
"Unfortunately, we don't have more to go on." Leo sighed, "We better go. Thanks for the help."
Keno sighed with relief after they left. "That was close. Do you think they suspect?"
"All we're doing is suspecting," Dan answered. "Why don't we just tell them?"
"Because they wouldn't believe us. We know what she's capable of, but they don't have a clue. Except Mike; he might know. That was a good answer you gave him."
"I'm just glad he didn't ask what time the party started. I don't think I
could have told him ten minutes ago."
Casey threw back his head and laughed after he heard the story. "A great way to spend a date, Raph."
Raph shrugged, "It worked out. We're going back out again next week."
Zack scowled, "I think you guys are starting to persecute her." Mike nodded in agreement.
"What do you mean?" Leo asked.
"If she was working for the Shredder, she could have let those ninjas finish you off. But she saved your shells. Why should she?"
"That's what's been bothering me," Mike lied.
"Are you two going soft?" Raph demanded.
"Nothing soft about it," Mike declared. "I just think we should leave her alone. We can use all the help we can get."
"You keep chasing her and she'll turn on you guys," Zack prophesied.
"I'd just feel better if she trusted us enough to tell us who she really is," Donnie finally commented.
"Would you trust the guys chasing you?" Mike demanded.
Casey shifted his posture. "Sounds like you're pretty defensive for her, Mike. Does Allie know?"
"No, Allie doesn't know."
"What's a matter, you don't think the Ronin can fight her own battles?" Leo asked.
"I know she can fight her battles. I also know you can't win if we fight her." Mike pulled himself out of the easy chair and stalked out of the main room.
"I think there's going to be trouble," Zack observed.
Allie eased open the door and eased it shut. "Damn it, Allie. You're coming in later and later. How do you think this is going to affect your grades?"
"Lay off it, Sam. I had a bad night." She stretched out on her bed, hoping to sink down into forgetfulness. But Sammie wouldn't shut up.
"You should have come straight back after the Sigma Theta party."
"I had things to check up on."
"Check up on, nothing! You're suffering from the opponent-process theory!"
Allie propped herself up on her elbow and looked at Sammie sitting at the desk. "I'm going to regret this, but what are you talking about?"
"It's a psychological theory about behavior," Sammie replied.
"I'm sorry already."
"Quiet, this really explains you. For example, let's take skydiving. What do you feel like before you jump?"
"I don't know; I've never went skydiving."
"Take a wild guess. You know how you would feel if you went skydiving."
"Okay, I'd be so scared, I'd pee on myself."
"Thank you, that's process A."
"We're not going through the whole alphabet, are we?"
"Allie, will you work with me?"
"How do you feel when you safely land on the ground?"
"I'd call it the Thank-God-I'm-alive feeling."
"Okay, that's process B. Now when you go skydiving again, process A stays the same but process B starts sooner. But you're addicted to process A so you have to jump from a higher altitude to get the same kick you got from the first time. It's the same thing with you."
"Sammie, I'm going to sleep." Allie wrapped the quilt around her body and burrowed her head into her pillow.
Sammie snorted, "The trouble with you is that you have no interest in solving
your psychological problems." The pillow hit the back of her head.
"All right, hold it right there." April scampered down the ladder into the Lair. Dan and Keno froze in their places. "You guys are the only ones I haven't talked to."
"About what?" Dan tried to sound nonchalant.
"About the Ronin. What do you know?"
"She's a girl," Keno replied helpfully.
"She saved Donnie's life," Dan added.
April sighed. She could smell a runaround. Years on Sterns' case had given her a nose for them. Why would Dan and Keno give her the runaround? Unless, they knew something they didn't want anyone else to know. "What are they saying about her at your college? Most of her sightings have been around your campus."
"Sorry, April, but no one's really talking about her," Keno admitted. "As long as she's not robbing us blind or grading our midterms, we're happy."
April sighed again and glared at them. "All right, but let me know if you find out anything."
"We will," Dan promised.
"You'll be the first reporter we'll call," Keno added.
Casey laughed as Dan and Keno hurried up the ladder. "I should come down more often. You guys are entertaining." His voice grew more serious. "You haven't lost your touch, babe."
"And what would you know about my touch?" Her cheeks flamed. "Don't answer that!"
"I meant your reporting touch. I've seen you operate before. You had Dan and Keno scared to death of you."
She frowned, "But why are they scared of me?"
Casey frowned, "Well, they're scared of somethin'. If it's not you, what is it?"