Summary: When Donatello gets accidentally sent through a Kraang portal, he ends up in an alternate universe that may be his world's future — a future in which he has been gone for thirty years, his family has been torn apart, and the entire world has fallen victim to the Kraang-Foot takeover.
This is a TMNT 2012 SAINW story, so I incorporated the Kraang pretty heavily. While working on this story, I rewatched several episodes of TMNT to get the Kraang tech as accurate as possible. Watching several episodes back-to-back, I discovered a lot of inconsistencies in how the Kraang technology works. So I chose what made the most sense to me and embellished a little in some places.
Please note that this story takes place shortly after "Serpent Hunt," so it is AU after that episode and may contain spoilers for anything leading up to it.
Thanks for your reviews/follows/favorites. I really appreciate it and love hearing feedback.
This chapter starts with some mentions of Apritello feelings, but it's mostly my version of my favorite scene from SAINW, the reunion with Raph and Leo. My biggest complaint with that episode was that I wanted more of it so that there could have been more time for fluffy brother stuff, like when Raph practically tackles Don in a hug. Next chapter will deal with how guilty Raph has been feeling for... well, thirty years.
If you haven't had the chance to read it, I recently posted another story, "Split Second," that is basically a Raph and Donnie brotherly fluff fest coping with the events of TMNT issue #44 in the 2012 universe.
Donatello and April sat beside each other in one of the back pews of the church as Michelangelo paced in the shadows, obviously nervous about the interaction that might occur between his two oldest brothers. Donatello dared not think about how volatile things had gotten to make Michelangelo so worried.
Instead, he turned his attention to April as they waited for Leonardo and Raphael to arrive. "Looks like you did become a kunoichi," he said to her, as he noted the tessen and shuriken adorning her belt alongside a Kraang-technology laser handgun.
"I was trained by the best," April said fondly. "Although, I still feel like Master Splinter had so much more to teach me."
"You know, when everyone else had given up hope, Splinter was the one who told us that we would see you again some day. He believed that wherever you were, you would find your way back. He always had a sixth sense about his sons."
"Yeah... I just wish that I'd had a chance to say goodbye to him." He studied the rest of April's outfit, sleek and fit for a true kunoichi, but surprisingly purple. He played with the end of her purple headband, which rested over her shoulder. "I would have expected you to pick yellow."
The redhead blushed. "That's a bit bright for this world, don't you think?" she deflected.
Donatello offered a half-smile, but he couldn't muster up enough energy to make it look genuine. "So... Thirty years. Did you and Casey ever ... ?"
April shook her head. "We only ever remained friends after you disappeared. I don't think I knew it until the choice was taken from me, but I was never going to pick Casey. It wouldn't have been right to choose him by default. Of course, he understood. He missed you too."
Instead of exciting him, her confession only made Donatello feel sad for her. "Has there been anyone, ever?"
"For me?" April laughed. "I've been a bit busy to worry about my love life, but I suppose that once or twice I might have thought about it. Nothing ever really happened, though. I guess I never got over losing my best friend."
Donatello frowned and set his hand on top of hers. "Before seeing all of this, I probably would have been thrilled to hear you say something like that to me, but now I just... I would rather hear that you'd found some happiness in this future."
April turned her hand so that she could squeeze his back. When Donatello looked up, he saw that she was smiling gently at him. "The world stopped being about that a long time ago, Donnie."
He was saved from having to respond when as the door of the church opened and shut behind what could only be one of Donatello's brothers.
Leonardo was the first to arrive, and Donatello was impressed with the ease with which the blind turtle moved, as if he could see everything around him clearly. The evidence of his impairment was clear on his face though. His blue mask has been replaced by sunglasses that had to wrap around his head without ears to hold them up. The shades were so dark that Donatello couldn't see the blank eyes behind them, but he had grotesque burn scarring all around his eyes. He only carried one katana with him, strapped to his back.
Leonardo drew his sword from it's scabbard at the sound of another individual dropping into the room from a window above.
Raphael remained crouched where he had landed and glared in the direction of his estranged brother. The left eye of his red mask was sewn shut, and Donatello knew from Michelangelo that Raphael had lost the eye long ago. Still, one piercing green eye was enough for him to convey his anger. Scars marred much of his body and the quick glimpse Donatello got of his plastron revealed that a healed crack ran from the chip that had been missing in the left pectoral scute of his plastron since their mutation. Donatello had always warned his brother to guard that spot as well as he could because it was a weak point in his plastron. Obviously, at some point the scute had taken a lot of pressure.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Raphael growled.
Leonardo's mouth set into a hard line. "Raphael. April's guys didn't say anything about you being here."
Raphael stood with his fists balled at his sides. "Oh, what's the matter, Leo? Do I remind you of how you got Master Splinter killed on your stupid mission to rescue Shredder's pet snake?"
"She was Sensei's daughter. He wanted to save her, too!"
"Don't act like you were doing it for his sake! You just wanted your little girlfriend back! And if you'd handled yourself in that fight, Splinter wouldn't have had to save your sorry shell!"
"I did the best that I could for him!" Leonardo said.
"Well, your best wasn't good enough," Raphael said as he pushed his brother back, "but that shouldn't be a surprise. You were never good enough!"
Leonardo's grip on his sword tightened. "Alright, Raph," he said, bringing his left hand to the hilt as well. "I'm done talking. Let's settle this once and for all."
Raphael sneered as he reached for his own weapons. "Fine by me."
Donatello couldn't take it anymore. With two swift swipes of his bo, he took out their feet and had them on their shells.
Raphael roared with rage as he pushed himself up and poised to attack, but his jaw dropped at the sight of the sixteen-year-old genius turtle standing between him and Leonardo. "W-what?" he gasped.
"We need to talk." Donatello held his hands out to each of his brothers. Raphael's hand grasped his while Donatello hooked the other around Leonardo's bicep. He pulled them both to their feet and looked between the two. Leonardo now stood about three inches taller than lanky, teenage Donatello. Raphael, however, was still a few inches shorter, and Donatello wondered when Michelangelo has outgrown the stockiest of the turtles. Had it bothered his short-tempered brother or had his family already been too broken to care about such trivial things?
"Donnie?" Raphael asked.
Donatello smiled at the hopefulness in his brother's voice. "How could you forget a face this handsome?"
Raphael caught him in a shell-crushing hug and said nothing for a few moments. Once the shock wore off, Donatello settled his hands on the back of Raphael's shell. The older turtle was shaking as he held him tight. When he gasped for a breath of air, it became obvious that he was crying. "I thought that you died! I missed you so much, bro."
Donatello buried his face against Raphael's shoulder and squeezed his eyes shut. "I'm back now. If I had the choice, I never would have left."
When Raphael had composed himself, he pulled away and held Donatello at arms length so that he could study him. "You look like you haven't aged at all."
Donatello nodded and swallowed the lump in his throat. "I'm still sixteen."
Raphael's brow furrowed. "How the shell—"
The turtle in question looked over Raphael's shoulder to see Leonardo standing awkwardly with his sword held limply at his side. With a quick pat to Raphael's arm, Donatello moved past him toward his sightless older brother.
"Is it really you?"
Donatello set a hand on Leonardo's shoulder and squeezed. "I'm here."
Leonardo's free hand found his brother's face easily, and calloused fingers gently felt the smooth planes of his face. "I don't believe it," Leonardo said.
"Believe it," Michelangelo said as he stepped out form the shadows. "And D wants to go up against Shredder and the Kraang."
"We've already tried it, Donnie," Leonardo said. "How do you think we lost Casey?"
"The Shredder isn't just a ninjutsu master anymore," Raphael said. "He's got control over the Kraang. His palace is surrounded by an army of Kraang Foot-droids."
"And dangerous mutants," Leonardo added. "We can't even get inside to fight him."
"And if you could, you couldn't beat him," said the insect voice of Stockman-fly, who followed April to the group of turtles. "He'zzz more mutant alien than human anymore. He can already bring forcezzz over from Dimenzzzion Xzzz, but onzzze they complete the tranzzzmat devizzze, there izzz no limit to how many Kraang can be zzzent anywhere."
"It's impossible," Leonardo said.
"It can't be done, Donnie," Raphael agreed. "It's hopeless."
"Well, I refuse to accept that." He looked at each of his brothers with determination. "Please, guys, we can do this."
"Alright, Donnie," Leonardo said. "We'll do this one more time, but please tell me that we have a fighting chance."
"I've been working on a plan. Stockman and I had already started a batch of retromutagen that will need a couple of days to mature, but I'll still need a few things. I think I can make use of the robot parts sitting in the lab. April, do you have five guys brave enough to follow you into the lion's den?"
"Any of my fighters would do it in a heartbeat," April said.
Donatello nodded to her. "Mikey, where do you find your 'bang rocks' here? Can you get me more?"
"How big of an explosion do you want to make?"
"I'll need enough to blow a hole in the bottom of Shredder's palace and for April's team to take out the lab where they're building the transmat device."
Michelangelo grinned. "I think I can do that."
"What about a Kraang power cell?"
"Piece of cake. If you hadn't noticed, this place is full of all sorts of Kraang-y junk."
"Great. Can anyone tell me the conditions of the subway tunnels?"
"Plenty have collapsed since the first invasion, but I couldn't tell you which ones with any certainty," April said.
"I travel mostly underground," Raphael said. "If you can get me a map of the tunnels, I could probably tell you which paths are clear."
"Okay," Donatello said. "I'm going to need a subway car to work on."
"What, are you planning Shellraiser 2.0?" Michelangelo asked.
"Something like that." Donatello took a deep breath as he prepared to explain his plan to the others. "We are going to use the retromutagen on Shredder Kraang. Reverse mutations are an exhausting process, so once Shredder and Kraang Prime are separated, we will have our chance to take them both out."
"You do realize that taking out Shredder isn't going to fix everything, don't you?" Raphael said. "The Kraang and those mutants are all over the planet."
"If all goes according to plan, we are going to cut off the head of the snake and destroy the transmat device before they can complete it. Based on what I know about the Kraang, they seem to operate on a collective consciousness — or 'hive mind,' if you will, — with the exception of higher ranking ones like Kraang Prime and Kraang Sub-prime. If Shredder and Kraang Prime have truly merged into one being, then we should be able to cut off any order within the Kraang. They'll all be permanent sitting ducks."
"What about all the people who have been mutated?" April asked.
"I think that it's likely they have been absorbed into this collective consciousness, wherever the Kraang have been taking them. If we can take out the Kraang and Foot from Shredder's palace, the resistance can take over the headquarters and have access to all of the portals and mutagen they need. We can create more retromutagen and turn everyone back."
"And bring them home," Michelangelo said proudly. "D, you're a genius."
"Of course, I'm a genius," Donatello said with a roll of his eyes. "Honestly, what did you guys do without me?"
"Let the world go to hell," Raphael grunted. "Literally."
"Well, now that we've got Donnie back, we're going to change that!" Michelangelo said.
"Don't get overconfident," Donatello warned. "It isn't a fool-proof plan."
"But it's a better shot than we've had in decades," Leonardo said. "And we're going to do it as a team."
Raphael's mouth quirked at the corner. "It's been a long time since I've been part of any team. I actually kinda missed it."
"Hopefully it's not the last time," Donatello said to himself as he looked around at his family.