This is just a little one-shot I wrote, and please don't hate me once you reach the end! *hides* Anyway, I hope you like this.
"what was that?" Leo asked, turning around, the other three turtles did the same, nothing was there.
"Who knows, maybe you've finally lost it, fearless." Raph said sarcastically, "I don't hear anythi-" the red masked turtle stopped abruptly as a giant paw wrapped around his torso from behind.
"Tigerclaw!" Leo shouted, glaring at the large mutant.
"You are not the only ninja mutants." Tigerclaw hissed, "and my associates are waiting."
"What do you want?" Donnie challenged the tiger, "shredder is dead, you don't have any feud with us anymore!" the purple clad ninja swiped a hand through the air for emphasis, at the same time grabbing his bo staff.
"I think I do have a feud with you." Tigerclaw said, tightening his hold on Raph, who by this point was struggling for breath.
"Put him down!" Michelangelo shouted, waving his nunchucks, Tigerclaw rolled his eyes in amusement and held Raphael to eye level.
"I think I'll keep him...I always wanted a pet." The four turtles paled and Raph struggled to free himself, Tigerclaw grabbed the twin sai from his belt and threw them down.
"Attack!" Leo shouted, the other two nodded and they leapt on Tigerclaw at once, as Tigerclaw threw Raph into both Mikey and Leo two more mutants rounded the corner, Rahzar and Rocksteady. Raph massaged his chest while Leo threw himself into the fray, Mikey helped Raph to his feet before jumping on Rahzar. Foot bots flooded in, making the battle difficult to see through, suddenly a bloodcurdling scream rent through the air and Raphael fell limp at Tigerclaw's feet. Tigerclaw grinned and pulled his sword out of Raph's shoulder.
"Raph!" Leo screamed, hurling himself at Tigerclaw, "you monster!" Tigerclaw caught Leonardo and held his arms to his sides.
"Pity." He growled, "I almost liked that one." Then he held a rag to Leo's mouth, making him lose consciousness.
"Leo!" Mikey shouted, wrestling free from rahzars claws, but before he could move much further a mist descended on both him and donnie, when they breathed it in they too, passed out.
"Leave the red one to rot." Tigerclaw growled, kicking Raphael's shell, "we have what I want."
Raphael grunted as he finished the gauntlet. He slid them on and studied them. Metal blades, not unlike his sais. A few practice swings told him he still remembered how to use them, he hadn't used them for so long...it had been years ago that Shredder forced him to attack his brothers. Raph pressed the button experimentally and the blades retracted into the gauntlets, good. Raphael turned and looked into the cracked mirror on the wall, his red mask hung around his neck revealing dark shadows under his emerald eyes, a bandage around his left forearm and shoulder reminded him of the last fight he had failed in, the gauntlets seemed to make him bigger, indestructible. Now...to take back what was his.
He stood on a rooftop above the old church building, somewhere in there was something, multiple somethings actually, that belong to him.
"Here kitty kitty." The emerald eyed turtle called softly, "you mess with them, you mess with me." He jumped onto the roof and smashed through a window, this room was deserted, he could only guess that meant Tigerclaw was playing with his recently acquired 'toy's
"I'll give you something to think about." Raphael growled as he crept down the stairs. "You just wait." the guards were easy to slice down, mindless robots, Raph strained his ninja hearing to pick up any sound that might be what he's looking for. Nothing yet. Raphael walked through the halls until he found the dungeon, four cells with barred doorways. At first glance they seemed empty, but then he narrowed his eyes at a flicker of movement. Two foot bots came around the corner, but they were in several pieces within moments, Raph straightened his gauntlets but froze at a whispered gasp.
"Shredder? But he's…" Raph's eyes widened and he slashed through the bars of a darkened cell.
"Not the shredder Donnie." He said softly, pulling his brother into a hug.
"Raph?!" Donnie exclaimed, "Tigerclaw...he said you were…"
"It's ok." Raphael said softly, "I know what he said but right now I need to focus on you and the others…" Raphael peered into the darkness. "Where are Leo and Mikey?" Donnie gulped and shrugged with tears in his eyes.
"I don't know."
"That's ok!" Raph said bracingly, helping his brother to his feet. "I found you, finding them won't be so hard."
"I hope so." the purple clad turtle whispered, "why do they hate us?" Raph's mouth twisted into a frown.
"What do you mean?" he asked, glancing around, Donnie wiped a tear off his face.
"Why do these guys hate us so much?" Raph shuddered and took a breath.
"Donatello, I don't know what they did to you, and I don't know what you've heard, but you're a genius and I need you to be at the top of your game...here." Raph grabbed his brothers bo-staff from where he's stuck it in his belt, Donnie only seemed to take Raphael in fully at that moment. Raph was wearing a pair of sheathes for Leo's katanas, and Mikey's chucks were jammed in his belt, Donnie's bo-staff had been wedged in between the katana blades until Raph moved it, and the silver gauntlets on Raph's arms stood substitute for his sais.
"Thanks." Donnie said, taking the staff, "Raph…."
"Don't mention it." Raph said gruffly, turning, "we need to find Leo and Mikey." Donnie nodded and gripped the staff tightly, Raph peeked around the corner, three foot bots stood outside a door, they would go first. He glanced back at Donnie and nodded slightly, Donnie nodded in response and they crept out of the shadows together. With a slash of his gauntlets Raph took out two and Donnie took out the third with the blade in his staff. Donnie cast an apprehensive glance back at Raph before they kept walking.
Raphael peered through the glass on a narrow window of the door, the room was dimly lit, but he was sure he could see a hunched figure, and also...a television screen? He held out a hand to stop Donnie and took out a small wire, the red masked turtle jammed it into the lock and wiggled it around, the lock clicked and he allowed himself a momentary smile before carefully pushing the door open.
"Who's there?" A terrified voice asked, Raphael frowned. That voice should not sound so broken...so devastated..so...shattered.
"Leo!" Donnie exclaimed, rushing into the room. The chained up leader smiled as Donatello embraced him, but then frowned.
"Who is that?" He murmured, Raphael knelt down.
"Hey fearless...got into some trouble?"
"Raph?!" Leo gasped, "but you were-"
"I know, I know, I was dead." Raphael grumbled, "I heard it before, let's get ya outta here." He pressed the button and slashed through the chains holding his brother down, Leo got shaking to his feet and cast a glance at the screen.
"What is it?" Donnie asked in concern, placing a gentle hand on his wounded brothers shoulder.
"They…" Leo struggled for words as his breath started coming in quick gasps, "they...ah...made me watch…" Donnie's eyes widened as Leo broke down. Raphael caught his brother and forced him to make eye contact.
"Leo, we will find Mikey and I will personally make Tigerclaw pay for the stuff he did, ok?" Leo nodded slightly, looking fearfully into Raphael's eyes.
"I...I know where he is...I think they made him watch…" Raphael examined his brother, there was a large cut on his arm and numerous bruises, but the most telling signs of torture were the electricity burns on his arms, legs, and face.
"I'll get you all outta here." Raphael promised. "Let's find Mikey."
The three figures crept along the hallway, Leo muttered directions every now and then, they soon arrived at a locked metal door.
"Here." The leader said softly, Raph took the wire from his belt and attempted to pick the lock. "Raph…" Leo said, "how are you...alive?"
"Luck?" Raph suggested, "I honestly dunno cuz that stab hurt like shell." The lock clicked and Raph put his wire away, "but I faked being dead until they were gone"
"Oh." Leo said softly, Raph opened the door slowly, it was a darkened lab with a single table in the middle.
"Mikey?" Raphael whispered into the darkness, "you in here?" The response was a whimper.
"He's here." Donnie said confidently, coming into the room after Raph, "you get him, Leo and I will guard the door." Raphael nodded gratefully and walked to the table. Mikey was chained to the table around his wrists and ankles, his baby blue eyes were filled with tears and widened when he saw Raph.
"I'll get you outta here bro." Raphael said, slicing through a chain, "I promise." He gently pulled the gag from his baby brothers mouth, Mikey experimentally licked his lips.
"Raph...you're alive." He managed as Raphael pulled him from the table into his arms. Raphael smiled.
"Am I? I didn't notice." He joked quickly before helping Mikey stand on shaking legs. "Let's get outta here." as the four turtles made their way down the corridor, however, Raph heard a voice that made him freeze.
"Let's see if he's ready to break yet." it was Tigerclaw, talking to somebody.
"You promised I would have the honor of finishing him." that was Xever, "because although Bradford was unbearable, he wanted revenge on the orange clad one for his second mutation." Mikey began to tremble under Raph's arms, the red masked turtle cast a glance around and Hauled his terrified brother to a closet, the other two followed.
"Inside, now!" he hissed, Leo opened his mouth to protest. "I mean it Leo, you guys are not in any condition to fight, I was surprised how easy it was to get in here actually."
"But-" Donnie muttered, Raph shoved them into the closet behind Mikey.
"Besides, I have a secret weapon." he growled. "Just stay here." he shut the door and searched for the second button inside his gauntlet, he had forgotten to test it, oh please let this work. He pressed the button and stepped into the light of the hallway, just as Tigerclaw and Xever walked around the corner.
"Who's there?" Tigerclaw growled, "I could hear you!"
"Don't you know a master when you see one?" Raph replied with a growl, walking forward, hoping beyond hope his disguise was working. "Imbeciles."
"Shredder?" Tigerclaw replied incredulously, "inside a turtle body?"
"I was going to thank you for creating a new vessel for me to live inside." Raph continued, sliding out the blades. "But my brief time in the underworld taught me many things Tigerclaw."
"What do you mean?" Tigerclaw asked, "I am your humble servant."
"Yes," Raph said, thanking whatever higher powers out there that this was working, "although I don't need a servant anymore, and I must confess this body is...lacking."
"I can find you another candidate." Tigerclaw promised, getting on one knee, Raph noticed Xever had backed away down the hallway in an effort to escape. He took three running steps and impaled the wall beside Xever's head with a blade. The fish gulped nervously.
"I was simply going to alert the others you have returned, master." he attempted, Raph laughed ruthlessly.
"You don't think I know how unloyal you are? You will be the first to perish!" the turtle slashed downward onto Xever's head and the fish fell lifeless to the floor. "Pathetic."
"Master shredder." Tigerclaw said, somewhat surprised, "I thought you valued Xevers help at least some."
"Really?" Raph asked, turning back to the overgrown cat. "Did you also think I value your help Tigerclaw?"
"Well...i had hoped so." Tigerclaw muttered, "but I am your humble servant Master Shredder."
"Yeah, real humble." Raph muttered, "close your eye Tigerclaw" he said loudly, Tigerclaw's eye widened.
"Master, please. I will do anything you request from me."
"Then close. Your. eye!" Raph said, getting annoyed, his brothers all needed medical attention and he needed to get them out of here! He took three steps back to Tigerclaw and raised the gauntlet. Tigerclaw narrowed his eye and Raph gulped, hoping the disguise wasn't fading.
"Master-" the mutant was cut off by a sickening thud of metal on flesh. Raph grimaced and bent, checking for a pulse. It was there, good. He didn't want a quick death for the tiger. Raph kicked his head to make sure he was unconscious and then ran to the closet. He pulled open the door and Donnie let out a small shriek before blinking.
"Oh, shell." Raph pushed the button again and knew the disguise was off, "come on he's still alive just unconscious, let's go." he hauled Mikey up again and glanced down the hallway. "Uh, on second thought...Leo, Donnie, you guys help Mikey I'll watch our backs. And fronts and everywhere." Mikey giggled a bit at this as Raph let Leo and Donnie take him with his arms over their shoulders.
"That was funny Raph." he managed, Raph smiled.
"Ok, let's go." he said, guiding the way to the exit.
"Raph, can I ask you something while we walk?" Leo hissed.
"If you whisper." Raph replied, "I don't wanna draw any extra attention to ourselves."
"What the heck?" Leo said in a whisper shout, "you can disguise yourself as the shredder?"
"Long story." Raph said, "shh!" Leo fell silent again as Raph took out a few foot bots. "I will explain when we get home."
"Home." Mikey said longingly Raph hushed him as he threw the grappling hook to the window that was still unnoticed, the one he had entered through.
"Ya'd think they didn't have any glass left," he commented, "the amount of times we've shattered these windows."
"That's true." Donnie conceded as they helped Mikey up the rope, Leo went next and then Donnie and Raph. "but Shredder was, like, rich."
"He was." Raph agreed, "let's go, and make it quick. I left the Shellraiser in an alley three streets over."
"Heh, you drove it without crashing?" Mikey asked weakly, "sweet."
"Ah put it in your shell." Raph said, "let's go!"
They landed with a thump, and a groan from both Leo and Mikey, in the alleyway beside the shellraiser. Raph helped them inside and then hesitated before closing the door.
"Raph?!" Donnie yelped from the driver's seat, "what are you-"
"Go!" Raph commanded, "get home! I have something else to do!" Donnie seemed terrified but started the engine and drove away. Raph leapt back onto the rooftops and ran to the old church. He still had things to 'discuss' with Tigerclaw.
When he arrived where he'd left Tigerclaw bleeding, with the disguise back on, the cat was still there, though now conscious.
"Master Shredder." he snarled sarcastically, dragging himself towards Raph. "I should have known you were an imposter."
"Well shell." Raph muttered, "ok Tigerclaw how about a fight? I fight you, you fight me, whoever wins wins."
"Fighting an injured warrior is hardly honorable." Tigerclaw pointed out with a grimace, "I thought Hamato Yoshi was honorable."
"Yeah, well you didn't think anything about me!" Raph turned off the disguise and Tigerclaw's eyes widened.
"Yeah, I just won't stay dead huh?" Raph asked, "well why don't you try again you overgrown furball!"
"I thought it was that no good vigilante friend of yours." Tigerclaw growled as he pulled himself up against the wall, "I was rather looking forward to ending him."
"Well sorry to disappoint." Raph rolled his eyes and unsheathed the gauntlets. "But I have a problem with you, Tigerclaw and i'd prefer to get it settled." Tigerclaw reached for his ice gun and Raph smiled slightly, standing his ground. The gun went off and Raph raised the gauntlet, slashing it out of the air. "These are effective man."
"Fool. those are weapons only worthy of the shredder!"
"Work for me just fine." Raph replied. Tigerclaw grimaced and fell back to his knees. Raph stepped over to him and looked down.
"End me quickly fool." Tigerclaw narrowed his eyes. "Or have you no mercy?"
"Oh, I have mercy," Raph snarled, "but not for you kitty cat, not for you." with that he plunged the blades on his fist down into Tigerclaw's neck. The cat's one eye widened in pain as blood gurgle from his mouth and neck, he managed to speak.
"You would let me die like this?" he croaked, Raph laughed somewhat bitterly.
"Oh, I wish you'd suffer more." he said with a snarl, "but I need to get back to my brothers." he twisted the gauntlet and pulled it out, leaving the tiger mutant to die.
Raph arrived at the lair about an hour after his brothers did. Leo's arm was already bandaged and he was in the pit watching space heroes. Raph glanced around to the lab, the light was on and Donnie spoke soothingly, probably to Mikey. Raph shook his head. Obviously to Mikey, who else? The red masked turtle entered the lab, Mikey sat on the cot while Donnie took notes of his vitals.
"Heart rate's fine, no damage to your lungs…" he trailed off as he turned to see Raph. "there you are!"
"Here I am." Raph replied, "how is he?" his eyes traveled to the cast on Mikey's ankle.
"A small break, but he'll be fine." Donnie said softly, "we're lucky you came when you did Raph."
"I feel like all I run on is luck these days." Raph said shortly, "are you ok Donnie? Did they torture you too?" Donnie bit his lip and shook his head softly.
"Ah, no, no they didn't." Raph raised an eyebrow but turned to Mikey.
"Leo's watching tv, I can help you out there if you want."
"Ok!" Mikey said brightly, "is that ok Donnie?"
"Yes." Donnie said briskly, "and then I need to check on you, Raph." Raph scowled but scooped Mikey up into his arms, he returned to the lab a few minutes later, after depositing Mikey on the couch where he curled up into an awkward ball and attempted to smile.
"Sit on the cot." Raph told his brother, Donnie's eyes widened.
"Sit." Raph gently pushed his brother down, "they had you for a week I know they did something." Donnie sat and wrung his hands nervously.
"No, really, they didn't-"
"Don." Raph stared into his brothers cinnamon eyes. "They didn't torture you physically, any idiot can see that. so, what. Did. they. Do."
"They...ah...they uhm…" Donnie stammered over his words, "I don't really know…"
"What do you mean?" Raph asked, "please Donnie, I can help."
"They told me that...that once Leo and Mikey were dead they'd…." his voice quavered, a river of tears ran down his face, soaking the purple mask that covered the dark circles that Raph knew must be under his eyes. "that i'd be able to eat then...that I could h-have some t-turtle-" Raph's emerald eyes widened in horror "s-some s-soup…" Donnie broke down and slumped forward, elbows on his knees. Raph got up and sat on the cot next to his brother, he wrapped Donnie in a one armed hug and let him sob.
"It's ok." he soothed, staring at his brother, they had been starving him, starving him so when he was confronted with any food he would eat it, even if it was his own brothers flesh.
"I-I know I w-would-woulda eaten...eaten it, cuz I was just s-so hungry!" Raph held Donnie close to him when he saw Leo looking in.
"Can you get some food?" he asked the blue banded turtle, Leo nodded and left. Raph rocked gently back and forth.
"R-Raph!" Donnie suddenly jerked back, "y-you're cold!" Raph frowned.
"Donnie-" but his baby brother was already holding a finger to Raph's neck, eyes growing wider.
"Raph!" Raph sighed.
"You don't have a pulse!"
"What did they do to you?!" Raph had a sudden realization. Donnie thought he'd gotten hurt at the old church.
"Nothing." he promised, "Donnie, i'm fine, really! You probably just can't feel it." Donnie narrowed his eyes, drying his own tears.
"Raph, what happened." he said shortly as Leo came in with a sandwich. Raph took the plate.
"No problem." Leo said slowly, looking at them both before walking out. Raph turned back to Donnie and thrust the sandwich at him.
"Eat!" he said forcefully, Donnie didn't hesitate to grab the food and eat it quickly. After he finished off the sandwich he seemed to be a little calmed down, and happier. "Good. you will eat three meals every. Single. Day. until you are so fat you can't fit in the shellraiser." Donnie smiled.
"Please no." he said softly, not a real protest. "Raph, why are you so cold?"
"Don." Raph said softly, "look at me." the genius turtle complied and green eyes met brown. "Once you gave me a lecture about results or whatever junk," Donnie's mouth twitched, "and I keep thinking about what Splinter told Leo once," he hesitated, "he said that if the mission was a gonna succeed you have to make sacrifices."
"Raph?" Donnie asked.
"Are you dead?"
"I-" Raph met the gaze of his younger brother and couldn't force the lie past his lips. "Donnie, the end result is three living brothers and one dead, instead of four dead. Ok? I was dead before I came to save you guys, I have two days here, that's it, one day left."
"Raph." Leo said from the doorway, Raph winced.
"Yeah Leo?" Leo wrapped his arms around Raph's shoulders and hugged tightly. Raph gasped dramatically. "Can't...breath…."
"Haha very funny!" Leo shot back, Raph winced. "You didn't think to tell us you were dead?"
"I'm technically not dead…" Raph muttered, "I'm like….a zombie. A good zombie, it sounds like a cheesy Halloween cartoon but yeah, I don't give off heat and I don't have a heartbeat, I don't eat. It was…" he smiled, "a gift."
"A gift." Donnie echoed incredulously.
"Well...you know how dad is part of everything and stuff?" Raph asked, rubbing his neck, "and you can see him sometimes?"
"Well, I kinda...used all the power I could get my hands on after I died, he lent me some, mom lent me some...I used a ton of mine...so I can be here for two days."
"Mikey." Leo whispered, "who's gonna tell Mikey?" Raph stood.
"Let me tell him ok?" he asked quietly. Both of his brothers nodded and Raph walked quietly out of the lab. Mikey was sitting on the couch playing a video game, he paused it as Raph sat next to him.
"Hey Raph." Raph smiled.
"Mikey can I tell you something?"
"What?" Mikey asked nervously, "Raphie what is it?" Raph took a deep breath and took Mikey's hand gently. He looked into his brother's eyes as he pressed a finger to his neck, right where his pulse should be. Baby blue eyes filled with tears and Mikey pulled his hand out of Raph's grip.
"I knew it." he whispered, "I knew when you pulled me off the table." Raph looked over his brother, he wasn't skeletal like donnie was.
"They fed you." he said simply. Mikey winced.
"More Like shoved food down my throat." he whispered, snuggling up to Raph, "but don't change the subject bro, how are you here?"
"Magic." Raph said, "at least that's the easy answer, I'm only here for twelve more hours though." Mikey snuggled closer to Raph and Raph wrapped an arm around his shell.
"Then stay right here for twelve hours." he replied, Raph smiled and picked up the remote.
"I was planning on it, but I need to talk to Leo'n Don first, so i'll be right back." Mikey sniffled and nodded, Raph got up and walked back to the lab.
"Hey." Leo said sadly. Raph grabbed his shoulders.
"You heard what I said about the end result right?"
"You need to feed him." he gestured to Donnie, "they weren't feeding him like they fed you and Mikey, he's at liberty what he tells you but you make sure he eats!" Leo looked taken aback. But nodded. Raph smiled thinly.
"Now, I promised Mikey a twelve hour cartoon a thon." both turtles in front of him did the math in a second, "you will be welcome to join us." with that Raph walked back out and sat with Mikey.
In the next few hours, Leo and Donnie joined them on the couch, all in one pile around Raph. within ten hours, Raph started feeling himself slow down, though he didn't mention it to his brothers. At eleven hours, when his brothers were all asleep, he struggled to stay awake until it was the last breath he'd ever take, figuratively of course. As he fidgeted Mikey started awake and looked at him. He immediately took in his brothers pale skin and half glossed eyes.
"Go to sleep Raphie." he whispered, "I love you.
"Love you too." Raph murmured, allowing himself to fall into unconsciousness. At exactly twelve hours, eight am in the morning, Hamato Raphael gave his last, figurative, breath.