Disclaimer: I don't own the Ninja Turtles, but I do own a bunch of other characters in this story.
A/N: Blargh…sorry folks. I am a terrible updater. I know there were a few reviews of people who were angry at me for stopping right before the end, and I apologize. As usual, I blame it on school. Of course, there's no school now, so I can finish this. I hope ya'll will forgive me.
Pounding. Pounding like a metal hammer on an anvil. That's all Don could envision as he floated about in a state of semi-consciousness. He'd had headaches before, but nothing that could actually permeate the dreamlike state between waking and sleeping. In fact, it was so permeating, he was forced awake completely by it.
"Uhgh…" Don muttered, his hand coming to his eyes.
"He's awake!" A voice shouted, and Don cringed. He was swimming in too much pain to recognize the voice, but he was willing to bet it was Michelangelo.
"Ugh.." Don said again, unwilling to speak at the moment.
"How is he?" Another voice said, rather too loudly. Don thought this might have been Leonardo. He wasn't sure, and he wasn't going to take his hand from his eyes.
"Off…light…please," Don said.
"Migraine," an unfamiliar male voice said. Someone turned off the lights.
"Thanks," Don said, carefully removing his hand from his eyes. There are some spots, but otherwise it's not as bad as he had thought it would be.
"Don!" Mike said, and this time Donatello recognized his voice and could slightly make out his silhouette in the darkness, "Are you ok? You've been out for hours!"
"My head hurts," Don said, "But I guess you guys knew that." Don feels panic rise in him suddenly, "What happened after I blacked out? Did Orgo attack you?"
Mike shook his head, "No. He's missing. The Xawks can't even find him…or won't. We're not sure."
"Great," Don said, "Is everyone ok?" ….'except for Shayl..' Don thought sadly.
"Yeah," Mike said, "We've got a problem, though."
"There're about eighty or so rogue Reapers running around still causing trouble."
"Yay," Don said, "Well, at least Ssylvar's history."
"There are many powerful Reapers still left," the unfamiliar voice from earlier said. Don squinted but could not make out his figure in the dark.
"Who're you?" Don asked.
"My name is Justin," he said, stepping closer to Don so that he could be seen, "I'm one of the lower-ranking Reapers who was on the run from the mutinous Reapers."
"He helped me an' Leo," the unmistakable voice of Raphael said from the darkness.
"Ah," Don said, still trying to deal with the fact that his whole family was there.
"So, uh…what do we do now?" Mike asked, "Try to stop the Reapers?"
"I guess," Don said, "We'll have to do someth-"
It will be taken care of. I have already sent them to oblivion….all save Orgo. I cannot find him, which is odd.
"Gaia!" Donatello nearly leapt out of his seat, "You're back!" Everyone in the room except for Michelangelo and Justin stared at Donatello quizzically.
I am back. Your actions have ended the mysterious restraint placed upon me. It is good to see that you are in one piece.
"Yeah…barely. My head hurts." Don said, and then suddenly looked up at the others in the room. "I'm talking out loud, aren't I?"
"Yeah," Mike said.
"Oh..sorry. I'll think to Gaia instead."
That won't be necessary. An extremely loud voice said, filling the room with its power. Everyone jumped, including Don.
"What's that?" Raph exclaimed.
I am Gaia, spirit of the Earth.
"No way.." Raph said, looking around the room.
Don grinned, but everyone else simply looked confused.
I have chosen to speak to all of you because I owe you all a debt of gratitude. Very few will ever know how close this world came to destruction.
"I can't believe I'm hearing Gaia's voice…" Justin said, awestruck.
"You have provided us a great honor, Earth Spirit," Splinter said.
The honor is mine. Most of you know that I do not speak to many. Most believe I can only speak to the Siyem, but that is not true. I can speak to all if I wish. And I wish it now.
"You contacted me earlier today," Michelangelo said, "I…I didn't hear words, but I felt something. Something that made me know what to do to help Donnie."
What small amount of power I had left was given as influence, but what you did was entirely yours. You figured it out, and for that I am grateful. I wish to reward all of you for the effort you have made to save me.
"Excuse me, Earth Spirit," Leonardo said hesitantly, "But I don't think I deserve any kind of reward. I tried to –kill- Donatello…."
But you did not. Nor did Raphael. You realized the truth and earned the trust of Justin.
Leonardo looked somewhat pacified, as did Raphael, who had been listening intently to Gaia.
And now I shall reward all of you. Gaia said, First of all, Justin. You remained loyal to me in the face of temptation and terrible odds. You shall be promoted to second Reaper. Do not let the power consume you as it did Ssylvar. The rest of your group of rebels shall be given increases in rank as well. As for Leonardo, Splinter and Raphael, you shall be returned home, but trust that when it comes time for you to return to this world in death, you shall be given the option to become Reapers yourselves. The bond of strength that was formed from Ssylvar and Orgo cannot be broken, which I regret. Raphael and Leonardo's spirits will be tainted with their influence for eternity. Splinter and Donatello's cannot be broken either, but it is a more honorable joining. For all of you I provide a warning. You may not ever use your strength to kill, unless you are acting in self defense. You will feel great pain if you are in the wrong.
"Great. My spirit's tainted." Raphael said.
For Michelangelo and Donatello I have a very unprecedented gift. Most would think I would promote Michelangelo to a stronger position, but the Wiyem is where I need him. It is a most honorable position, and I will be speaking to him regularly from now on as I do with the Siyem. My true gift is that I will be allowing both of you to return home with your family to Earth. You will still be demons, I cannot reverse that, but I can give you permission to tread Earth beyond your Messenger duties. You must return to the Demon world at least once a month, and you must make your yearly one-week Messenger trips. Also, your demon magic will not work on Earth, save the portals needed to return to the demon world. You will have strength, but again, it must not be used to kill. You will be able to call your Xawks at any time, however.
The announcement that Michelangelo and Donatello could return home with their family caused a stunned silence among the group. Then, with a whoop, Michelangelo jumped at Leo and Raph and gave them a huge hug.
"We're going home!" He cheered.
"Get offa me!" Raph exclaimed, but he was smiling as well. In fact, the only one who wasn't smiling was Donatello.
"What about Shayl?" He asked, ignoring the ruckus in the room.
She is gone, I'm afraid. Gaia said, sadness in her tone, She made a wonderful sacrifice, and I will make certain she is remembered forever.
"Can't you bring her back?" Donatello's voice was strained. Everyone else had fallen silent to listen.
I cannot, but do not despair. The secret of death after the Demon world has been given to her.
Don sighed, "I understand. She was a good teacher…and a good friend."
There was silence for a moment as the group honored Shayl's passing, knowing that her sacrifice had turned the tide in the conflict.
The silence was finally broken by Gaia, I will now send all of you home. Donatello's migraine should abate in a few days. It is very straining on the Siyem to have his power boosted by the Wiyem. That's why it isn't done very often.
"Great," Don said, "Do you think you could send us back to someplace dark?"
Certainly, Gaia said. As she spoke they were engulfed in energy and the four turtles and Splinter felt a strange pulling sensation on their bodies.
"Good-bye Justin!" Leonardo called, realizing that they were leaving.
"We'll meet again, Leonardo!" Justin called back, just as the group of five vanished.
"It's so good to finally be back!" Michelangelo said, plopping down on the couch.
"I'll say, Raph said.
"I think this place needs to be cleaned up," Leo said, inciting a groan from Mike.
"Leonardo is right," Splinter said, "No one has been here for two weeks. It's musty."
"Aww….do we have to?" Mike whined.
"Yes Mike, we have to." Leonardo said.
Donatello watched as his family bantered. He felt tears well up in his eyes, and surprised, he brushed them away quickly. Splinter saw them, however.
"It is good to have you back, Donatello," Splinter said, embracing his son.
"Yeah.." Don said, "I can hardly believe it." Before long each of his brothers had joined in the embrace, and Don felt happier than he'd ever felt in his life.
"Thanks, you guys," Don said.
"No Donnie, thank you," Mike said, "Thanks for coming back from the dead and saving the world. Thanks for being you. Thanks for being there for us."
"Yeah bro," Raph said, "Thanks a lot. And I promise I'll never make you go out for TV parts ever again."
Donatello grinned, "I appreciate that, Raph, but I think I wouldn't mind fixing a TV after all of this."
"Great!" Raph said, "Cause it's still broken. Maybe you can fix it by tonight so I can watch the playoffs!"
"How do you even know that there are playoffs on, Raph?" Leo said.
"I just know. I've been thinking about football since we left."
Don grinned at his brothers. He didn't mind fixing the TV at all. In fact, he was rather looking forward to it.
a/n The End! I finally finished it! Thanks so much to you guys who stuck around even when I went on hiatus…twice! Thanks for all the reviews and support…it helped me make it to the end of this.