Cue the Star Wars intro music!
Hello, my fellow fanfic writers and dearest readers! So now we're moving on to "Akari", the sequel to "Mourning!"
So much drama will take place in this story! Raph will train Shadow Jones in the ninja arts, while trying to protect the city of New York from the wrath of the mysterious new Shredder! More importantly, he will try to bring his family back together after 30 years of being torn apart. But it won't be easy. What sacrifices is he willing to make in order to accomplish his goal?
Okay stop the music. Let's get to the story already.
"I'm willing to train under you as a kunoichi."
Raph stared wide eyed at the teenager sitting next to her. Is this kid being serious? "You...you want me to train you?"
Shadow firmly nodded her head.
Raph looked down at the picture of Mikey in his hands, then back up at her. "This isn't a game, kid," he sternly said. "This is real. Now I don't know how many ninja movies you've seen or video games you've played, but..."
"Look, I get it," Shadow interrupted with an annoyed expression on her face. "There will be risks involved, and I'm willing to take them."
"You're only fifteen years old. You're still a kid..."
"Well, so was Mom when she started her training!" Shadow snapped.
"Um, that...that was because..." Raph wasn't sure if Shadow knew about April's past, because, according to what Casey told him, she wasn't even aware of her own origins. Her true origins, anyway. Revealing April's special abilities to her daughter would probably be revealing too much. "Your mom was, uh, different from most people."
"Yeah, I know," Shadow scoffed. "'Cause she had telekinetic powers."
Raph was not expecting that response. "Oh, you...you know about that?"
"Well, yeah, of course I do. She's my mom, after all."
"...right," Raph cleared his throat awkwardly. "Anyway, speaking of whom, does she know about you wanting to be a kunoichi?"
"Well, if she doesn't approve of this, I won't go against her wishes. The same goes for Casey."
"But if they did approve, would you train me?"
Raph sighed and rubbed his temples. "Maybe. I don't know. Why do you want to be a kunoichi so badly?"
"Like I said before, you need someone to help defeat the Foot. I mean, no offense, but you're..." Shadow rubbed the back of her neck and chuckled nervously. "You know...past your prime."
Raph narrowed his eyes and raised an eyebrow. "Wait, are you saying that I'm old?"
"You're-you're not that old," Shadow quickly explained. "And I'm not implying that you're weak. You just a little more help now, and you can't take on the Foot by yourself."
Raph rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Hmmmm, you have a point there. But still, we need to talk to your parents first."
Shadow sighed exasperatedly. "Fine. But if they say 'yes', then you'll teach me ninjutsu?"
"We'll see," Raph merely said, but as they walked out of the dojo together, he smirked to himself. There's no way April and Casey will say "yes".
"ABSOLUTELY NOT!" April shouted angrily.
Shadow sat in between Raph and Casey on the couch back home, pouting as her mother continued to scold her.
Raph couldn't help but grin. I knew it.
"You are only fifteen years old!" April crossed her arms. "There's no way I'm letting my daughter risk her life fighting thugs and ninjas!"
"Oh, come on, Mom!" Shadow groaned. "I'm not a little kid anymore!"
"While you're not 'little' anymore, you're still a kid. And the answer is still no."
Casey cleared his throat. "Can I have a say in this?"
"Only if you'll agree that this idea is crazy," April told her husband.
"Actually, I think it's a pretty good idea," Casey said with a shrug.
Both April and Raph stared wide eyed at him and their jaws dropped to the floor. "WHAT?!" they simultaneously shouted. Shadow looked over to her father both in shock and glee.
"Shadow's a tough girl," Casey explained. "Even the jocks at her school are afraid of her."
Boy, did April cast a nasty glare at her husband. "How could you compare jocks to Foot ninjas?!"
"Yeah, really, Jones?" the one-eyed Turtle joined in. "Those Foot punks would cut her throat in a heartbeat!"
"You're not helping," Shadow mumbled.
"And that's why you need to train her," Casey defended. "I mean, Master Splinter isn't around anymore, and you were his student, so you can pass on his teachings to Shadow."
Raph shook his head and let out a heavy sigh. "I can't do it, Jones. I'm not Master Splinter. If anyone could replace him, it'd be Leo, who, unfortunately, is now a fugitive." He then turned to look at Shadow. "Shadow, look, I promised that I would help you with your temper problem. And I will. But I can't train you to be a kunoichi."
Shadow looked down at the floor crestfallen. "But you can't teach me to control my temper if you're dead," she mumbled.
"My point exactly," Casey said. "Look, I'm her father, and I'm confident that she'll become a great kunoichi. You could really use the help, Raph."
"Casey stop," April silenced him before she knelt down to talk softly to her daughter. "Shadow. Honey, look at me." Shadow slowly lifted her head to meet her mother's eyes. "You needn't worry about Raph. Of the four Turtles, he's always been the strongest. Besides, there are plenty of people out there who want to stop the Shredder, too. He won't be alone in this battle. Trust me."
"But Mom..." Shadow started to retort.
"No 'buts'," April sternly said. "You're not becoming a kunoichi, and that's final. Do I make myself clear?"
Shadow sighed and looked back down at the carpet. "Crystal," she murmured.
"Good. Now why don't you go upstairs while I have a word with Raph and your father?"
The teen did as she was told, leaving April alone with the boys. "Casey," she glared at her husband. "I can't believe you were willing to let our daughter go down such a dangerous path."
"You lack faith in Shadow, that's your problem," Casey argued.
"I'm with April on this one, Jones," Raph said. "I already lost a brother to the Shredder. I'm not about to lose my niece, too."
"Yeah, well, in case you've forgotten," Casey turned to Raph, "Mikey was my friend. And it absolutely crushed me when he died. I'm not ready to lose another friend."
"Even if it means putting your own daughter in danger?"
"She's a very strong person! And on top of that, she's still young! Now imagine if you taught her ninjustu. She'd be a whole lot more competent to take on the Foot than the three of us combined!"
"I seriously doubt that, man."
"You know what?" Casey got off the couch in a huff. "Fine. You want to face the Shredder alone and get killed? Be my guest. Stubborn meathead." He mumbled the last part as he stormed out of the house. They heard the front door slam.
"He's just worried about you, Raph," April gently told the Turtle as she sat down on the couch next to him. "Mikey's death absolutely devastated him. He's afraid of losing another friend."
"I know," Raph quietly said as he leaned back in the couch and closed his heavy eyelid.
He heard the sirens wail below him as he watched over the city on a rooftop. He also heard the roar of a helicopter's rotating blades above his head. It was another typical patrol for the Ninja Turtle.
But he couldn't get his mind off his brothers and what took place at Splinter's funeral. He had hoped that the tragedy of losing their father would bring them back together, but he was sadly mistaken.
It broke his heart to see how cold and bitter Donnie had become and how truly lost Leo was, and he blamed himself for that. He was too caught up in his own self-pity to see how much his brothers were suffering, and instead of being there for them, he completely abandoned them. For thirty years, he thought only about himself, and Leo and Donnie had to pay the price for his selfishness.
He reached up to touch the Band-Aid over the cut on his left cheek, a lump forming in his throat and a tear building up in his right eye. I'm a terrible person, he thought miserably to himself. I got what I deserved.
Donnie's voice echoed in his mind, haunting him.
You showed me just how much you care when you left me behind in North Hampton.
Leo's voice followed, causing his heart to ache even more.
I've spent the last thirty years cleaning up New York while you wasted them playing Tarzan in North Hampton. Not to mention that you completely abandoned Donnie instead of being there for him. And now look what's happened to him.
Within the depths of his mind, the Guilt was starting to grow large again...the dark beast snarling and reaching for him with a clawed hand...
Then he remembered Mikey's words of encouragement. Hamato Raphael, you are NOT a terrible person. You're the best brother in the world. Sure, you're not perfect, but no one is, especially not me.
The Guilt shrieked and faded away into the darkness.
I have faith in you, bro.
Raph smiled to himself, his spirits lifted once again. That's right, he thought. Mikey believes in me, and I won't let him down.
Suddenly, he heard a distant whoosh.
Somebody was spying on him.
He remained still and continued to look over the city, pretending not to have noticed the presence of the intruder. But he place his hands close to the twin sai in his belt, ready to attack if necessary.
He heard rapid footsteps approaching him, then suddenly come to a halt.
"You might as well show yourself," Raph said out loud. "I know you're there."
A woman's voice chuckled. "Very well."
He quickly turned around to face the intruder and pulled out his sai.
Standing in front of him was some kind of red fox mutant. She wore a purple body suit with thigh armor. Around her waist was a white belt with the yin-yang symbol in the center. She also had a long braided ponytail, held together by a purple ribbon. Her piercing golden eyes met his green one and she smirked at him. "You really are a ninja."
Raph raised an invisible eyebrow at the strange fox-woman. "And you are...?"
"My name is Umeko," she politely introduced herself. "But my friends call me 'Ninjara'."
"'Ninjara', huh? So I take it that you're a ninja, too?"
"More or less," she slowly stepped approached, swaggering a bit.
Raph remained on his guard and continued to eye the fox suspiciously. "So who do you work for?"
Ninjara laughed softly. "Nobody. I'm a loner."
"I don't believe you. You must be affiliated with some clan or organization."
She circled him slyly. "I take orders from no one. And something tells me that you are your own boss, as well."
Raph never took his eye off her as she walked around him. "What do you want with me?"
"I just wanted to meet the famous Ninja Turtle that everyone's been raving about this past week." She reached to touch his shell. "They didn't tell me that he'd be so handsome." She delicately brushed her fingers over his carapace, causing his entire body to shiver, his heart to race, and his tail to tingle.
He didn't like the way she was touching him and quickly slapped her hand away. "Cut that out!"
"Ooh, someone's a bit touchy," Ninjara mocked.
"Let's get something straight," he angrily pointed a finger in her face. "I don't even know you, so do not touch me like that again."
"Come on, Ninja Turtle," she whispered seductively, her face leaning close to Raph's. Her black nose nearly touched his beak. "When was the last time you've been with a woman?"
"That's none of your...!" Raph was interrupted by the sound of an alarm bell ringing close by. Thank God. "I've got to go. Duty calls. Nice to meet ya," he muttered the last part insincerely.
Ninjara watched as he quickly climbed down the building and dashed across the street to the source of the commotion. She licked her lips the way a predator would whenever it spotted its unsuspecting prey...
"This is an OWL NEWS Alert. A very large spider mutant has just robbed the Liberty Bell bank. The NYPD attempted to subdue the creature, but failed."
The T.V. screen in April's living room showed a couple of policemen tangled in a huge web, kicking and thrashing like trapped flies. April watched the news with Casey on the couch, and when she turned her head to look at her husband, he had a grim look on his face. She instantly understood what was troubling him and leaned her head on his shoulder, rubbing his arm lovingly.
"Honey, don't worry about Raph," she whispered to him. "He'll be fine."
"Let's hope so," Casey quietly said while wrapping his arm around her.
"The suspect is still at large," the anchorman announced. "For your own safety, please stay indoors."
Meanwhile, upstairs, Shadow finished putting on her pants, which were black like her long sleeved shirt. She reached for the black ski mask and slid it over her face. She looked at herself in the mirror and nodded in satisfaction. "Okay, here we go," she breathed.
Very quietly she slid the window open and climbed out, stepping onto the roof. Oh, Mom's gonna kill me for ruining her bushes. She let go of the window ledge and landed on the bushes below, cushioning her fall. After brushing the leaves and dust off, she got onto her bike that was leaning against the wall and rode away into the night.
Shadow is still bent on helping Raph fight crime against her mother's wishes...hoo boy...
Surprise! A character from the Archie comics: Ninjara! What exactly is Ninjara planning? Why is she so interested in Raph? We'll find out eventually...MUAHAHA!
Can you guess who the spider mutant is...? :)
Also, I just found out that my dad is about to go through a MAJOR surgery (I won't go into details for the sake of his privacy). Please keep him in your prayers...
Aaaand next Sunday is a new episode of TMNT! For those of you who have seen the Korean aired episodes, at least we know what happens, right? It'll still hurt to watch though. For those of you who didn't...be prepared. That's all I can say.
Thanks for reading! See you next time!