Chapter 1: Prologue

Tiger Claw's POV

The cold stone corridor is dark, shrouded in shadow, as I make my silent way toward the laboratory at the far end. My padded paws make no sound on the hard floor. All I can hear is the echoes of voices, though distant, from my destination. The long metal staff in my hand swings unevenly, the curious device at one end offsetting its balance. I discovered this strange staff in a dark alleyway earlier tonight and I am fairly certain that it contains some powerful secret, hopefully something that will gain me greater power in the Foot Clan. I have been practically ignored by my ninja master since that serpentine daughter of his fell under his mind control. I am the most feared assassin in all of Asia! The Shredder did not hire me to be ignored and cast aside for a mere child whose true loyalties lie with the enemy! Authority over the clan should be mine! I will discover the purpose of this mysterious staff, and that miserable fly that dares to call himself a scientist is going to help me.

As I push open the door of the lab, the voices become suddenly louder. I take in the scene in an instant. Xever is lying rather helpless on the floor while Stockman, his toolkit open before him, is busy working on the robotic legs that allow the fish mutant to move around out of the water. The metal appendages jerk amusingly in different directions and emit occasional showers of sparks. Must be short circuiting. Xever yells abuse at the useless scientist each time this happens, though the ugly bug seems to be giving only half his concentration to fixing the fish's legs. He is continually being distracted by Bradford, who is not far away, near one of Stockman's work tables. Despite the buzzing protestations from the fly, the mutant dog roughly handles the objects on the table. He is seething with frustration and anger.

Apparently the ambush did not go well.

I growl low, revealing my own frustration. Xever and Bradford were sent to lay an ambush for Hamato Yoshi's irritating turtles. I had given the order myself, seeing as I am finally in charge again while the Shredder and his overly obedient daughter are conducting business in Japan. Perhaps I should have laid the ambush myself, rather than trusting these incompetent fools.

"I take it you have failed to capture, or even kill the turtles?" I speak low, but in a commanding voice that instantly gains me the attention of everyone in the room.

Bradford growls loudly. "No matter how many Footbots we bring with us, those stupid turtles always manage to defeat us!" He picks up a bottle of some unknown liquid off the table and smashes it to the sound of Stockman's protests.

Ignoring the fly, I turn to Xever. "I thought you incapacitated one of them earlier this week."

"Yeah, well he was back. He's the one that destroyed my legs, just to pay me back for that injury," the fish spits out the words angrily.

With another angry growl, Bradford picks up a leather sack of something and prepares to throw it as he says, "The turtles heal too quickly! No matter what we do to hurt them, they always come back!" He throws the bag at a cage full of lab rats as Stockman cries "No! That izzzz very rare and highly dangerouzzz!"

The fly's protests are in vain. The sack has already struck the wire bars of the cage, spilling some sort of purple powder on one of the rats inside. The wretched creature, completely covered in the strange substance, gives a loud squeak, twitches, and falls down, apparently dead.

Stockman, distressed, buzzes over to his work table and shoves Bradford out of the way so he can assess the damage.

I don't have time for this. "Stockman!" I use my commanding voice again. The fly gives me part of his attention. "I found this in an alley tonight. It may possibly belong to the Kraang. Tell me what it does."

I extend the scepter toward him, but Stockman is still distracted by his rats and Bradford gets there first. He snatches the staff, scoffs at the hideous clawed hand carved on the end, and swings it threateningly.

"Why weren't you there, tonight, Tiger?" he growls low.

"I was on important business," I answer, putting a warning into my voice.

Bradford either doesn't notice or ignores it. "What, like searching for trinkets?" He waves the staff around to emphasize his point. "You should have been with us on that rooftop, fighting the turtles!"

On the last hateful word, he slams the bottom end of the staff into the floor in anger. Without warning, a burst of white light illuminates the lab. I blink involuntarily, and when I open my eyes I see a shining white rectangle, the size of a door, hanging in the air, several feet from where we stand. I stare in amazement. I've seen something like this before. . . A portal! It looks like a portal! But where does it lead?

Before I can move to discover the answer, something comes hurtling through the opening. Or rather someone. Twirling in a somersault through the air, a green blur falls through the portal and lands on the floor at our feet. In an instant of trained reflexes, he is on his feet and facing us, an expression of shock to match our own showing through his orange mask.

"Dudes! Where did you guys come from?"


AN: Hey everyone! This is my first time writing a story in first person, so feel free to give me feedback on that. This started out as a short exercise in writing emotional scenes from a first person perspective, and then it grew and grew until it became the lengthy piece of drama you are about to embark on. I'm not sure what happened! Anyway, this prologue is in Tiger Claw's POV, but most of the other chapters will be in the point of view of one of the turtles. And be warned: much drama, emotional angst, and brotherly fluff shall ensue!

This takes place in the third season of the 2k12 universe, sometime after "Tale of the Yokai" and before "The Fourfold Trap". The only deviation from canon is that Shredder and Karai are on a trip to Japan at the beginning, and this was only because I needed them out of the way for the start. Everything else follows canon.

This story has been beta read by my fabulous friend, WinterHeath! Thank you, dear! Many parts of this story are much better, thanks to you! :D

Disclaimer: I do not own TMNT.