Looky looky! An update!
Darktiger2 kindly beta read this for me and put in a great deal of input to help me continue this story, when asked if there was any message for any of the reviews, she wanted me to say simply 'hi'. My appreciation goes out to her greatly, without her input, this story would still be updateless!
Spootycup; I know how badly you wanted to see this updated, I hope it doesn't disappoint! Thanks for reviewing:)
Dory's Human Replica; Well worth the wait? Really? Wow! Thanks for reviewing:)
Pretender Fanatic; Sorry about the shivers, We'll try to keep the shock factor to a minimum! ;P Hope this answers a few more questions! Thanks for reviewing:)
White Phoenix; Poor Splinter indeed! You know it's just going to get worse from here on out! Thanks for reviewing:)
Vampy; So many questions but which ones to ask! ;) Thanks for reviewing:)
Rev; Your views are always appreciated my friend! ;)
Digmon Girl; I'm sure Leo will be fine! Trust the authors! We aim to please :D Thanks for reviewing:)
Splinter gently rubbed his aching head, the pounding had begun to subside and he could only imagine how his eldest son must feel, knowing his pain would be greater. His two remaining sons were no longer under threat from the unknown enemy, he felt that much was certain, there was another motive now, a more sinister one that involved Leonardo. The only thing that Splinter knew was that he needed to get to his sons that were trapped on the spiritual plane. Yes, he felt Donatello's presence very close to Leonardo's and knew then that the two were together. For that he was thankful. As he looked up at his two youngest children he saw the fear of the unknown in their eyes and cursed to himself silently for not putting their fears at ease. He gave them a small smile, hiding for the moment the task that he would be asking them to do and reassuring them with his actions that everything would be alright. Then he lifted himself from the chair that he slumped into only moments ago, which incidentally felt like hours, and addressed his sons.
"I must ask a great deal from you now" he said simply, causing Raph and Mike to frown at him, Splinter could understand that they were confused at the moment, he wondered if they would be able to truly comprehend the task ahead.
"We must find Leonardo and Donatello, to do this, we must venture onto the spiritual plane and unfortunately we must travel close to the boundary" said Splinter, if his sons were confused before then now it must be even worse for them.
"What boundary?" Mike asked, "And how do we get there? I'm confused Sensei"
Splinter smiled again and laid a reassuring hand on his youngest sons shoulder, "The boundary, my son, is the spiritual crossing, the strongest survive, the weakest are pulled in. It is the border for life and death. Donatello must surely have been there when his health was at it's worst, but I feel that Leonardo must have helped him to stay with us. Leonardo became his anchor, a guide if you like, to keep him from drifting and loosing his way."
"I believe that the pain that I felt was an echo, a smaller amount of the pain that Leonardo must have felt but still strong enough to render me dazed. I am sure that it was deliberate, as if I was meant to feel it." Splinter, using the arm of the chair for support, moved around his hovering sons and stepped towards the syringe that now lay on the floor, he bent and reached for it, carefully avoiding the exposed end and studied it. Without breaking his gaze he spoke to his sons.
"I can travel to the spiritual realm and the Boundary but I feel that you two will not be able to, Leonardo was only just learning this skill when the attacks began. This needle can help us to do just that but we will not administer as much as both Leonardo and Donatello were subjected to, you will be able to leave the spiritual realm easier than they will." said Splinter. Raphael noticeably backed away and held his hands up in defence.
"Hold on, you're gonna inject us with that stuff? Splinter, I don't know about this, that stuff knocked Donny out for the count and he nearly died!" he rambled quickly, Mike smiled, feeling a playful moment manifest itself but held it back considering the circumstances.
"Raphael, I assure you that this will not harm you in any way, it will merely help you to find your brothers, have no fear." Splinter approached his nervous son with the needle lowered, showing that he had no intention of using it now but Raphael kept one eye fixed on Splinter's hand. Splinter knew that his sons were all nervous about needles, he knew that allowing them to watch movies and television documentaries when they were younger had only increased their fear of being captured by scientists and experimented on, with needles being a kind of symbol to those scientists.
Raphael didn't care at that moment that Mike was watching him, he didn't even care when he noticed Mike's smile at his embarrassing display, he knew that it was a slight over-reaction but that didn't matter, then he had a thought and smiled wickedly.
"Okay, fine, I'll do it! But Mike has to go first"
Mike's smile dropped and Raphael gave him a little wink for his victory. Mike gulped nervously and looked between Raph and Splinter, his father noticed his discomfort and smiled encouragingly.
Don kept his arms wrapped around his elder brother and waited for him to settle, the feelings that he picked up from that touch was extremely violent and strong, there was a dark force, unnatural, that wanted something from them but more specifically, from Leo. He heard his brother's breathing begin to settle and the shuddering had all but stopped, the occasional aftershock frightening Don into squeezing his brother a little tighter. When Leo started to pull himself free from Don's grip, he willing let go and scrutinised his brother's every move, making sure that he didn't waver and fall.
Leo kept his eyes closed as he tried to comprehend how he felt, his head was on fire and visions flashed through his mind, visions of himself tied to a table of some sort and an old balding man standing over him, mumbling a chant of some kind. A gentle shake of his shoulder told him that Don didn't want to wait anymore and that he needed to know if his big brother was okay.
"It's alright Don, I'm okay" Leo opened his eyes and smiled at his anxiously waiting brother, getting a relieved smile in return, "You remember that place of light we were at?"
Don nodded, "Yeah, sure. What about it?"
"We need to go there again" Leo pushed himself up unsteadily from the ground with Don pulling his arm gently, once standing he looked about before turning his gaze on Don again.
"Because Splinter's coming"
Splinter watched his young sons sleeping, having administered a small amount of the potion into some of his tea made with herbs to help them relax he sat on the pillow lotus style and slowly moved into a deep state of meditation.
Within minutes he found himself in the Boundary, his two sons staring at the bright piercing light in the distance, he feared for a moment that they would move towards it, encouraged by the comforting and peaceful waves that flowed from it but a voice broke their gaze away.
"Splinter!" it was Don. He was making his way towards them with Leo close on his heels.
"Whoa dude! Where did you guys come from?" Mike asked as he moved towards his brothers and taking a moment to grab them both in a bear hug. Raph looked just as pleased but kept his composure, he slapped Don on the arm and nodded at Leo. After a moment for the happy reunion they began to look around again, studying the whiteness and the distant brilliance, it stretched for what seemed like forever and they found themselves falling silent.
After a moment, Leo's head snapped to the side, Splinter's following soon after, "Something is coming"
Leo quickly turned back to his family, "You have to hide, whatever it is, it's coming for you"
Raph stepped forward, "Leo, what…"
"He is right," interrupted Splinter, "We must move, quickly"
"But where to? This place is a little open, you know?" said Mike, his head frantically turning to find the source of this 'thing' that Leo and Splinter seemed to sense.
Leo and Splinter exchanged glances and then in a flash the scene had changed, no longer was there any light, now there were clouds, greying and dull, snow covered the landscape and in the distance there was a lake, still and frozen, lifeless. A large tree was all that could be seen, nothing else covered the distance, the tree with it's large trunk and spiralling branches was withering and fading, dying. Don looked at Leo and saw the saddened expression, he looked about once more and approached his elder brother.
"Leo? Is this your mind?"
Leo looked at Don and gave a weary smile, "Yes Don, I'm afraid it is"
Don gulped nervously, the tree was dying, did that mean that Leo was too? He needed to know, "Leo, this place is dying. Are… are you dying?"
"It looks that way" said Leo, his voice not betraying his own anxiety.
After a moment, Leo looked over his shoulder then disappeared, his brothers all gasped in shock and began to call for him but Splinter stood calmly watching the tree, the branches began to move and sway with no breeze to move them and Splinter closed his eyes and breathed deeply, feeling the branches encompass him.
Raph watched as the branches of the tree wrapped around Splinter and pulled him towards the tree, he pulled his sai from his belt and took a ready stance but felt a familiar presence probe at his mind, he accepted the embrace as the branches wrapped around him and let them lift him.
Mike couldn't fight, the fascination as the tree gently picked up Splinter and Raph, taking them inside it's large trunk was overwhelming, only when the branches wrapped around himself did he feel a small amount of panic, but a sudden feeling of peace came over him and he was picked up from the ground.
Don stood still, he didn't need to question why this was happening, his own experience with his own mind and what he was capable of within it told him that Leo was controlling all of this and that his brother had found a place to hide them. He willingly accepted the branches and found them to be smooth and gentle to the touch.
The snow crumpled beneath his feet as he approached the tree, his head turned from side to side as he searched for them, his mission was simple. Kill the freaks.
A sound in front of him made him look that way and he smiled at the irony, his mirror image stood before him, a slight amount of shock on his expression was hidden with a look of anger. He smiled at Leo and slowed his approach.
"So you're the original" it wasn't a question.
"And you're the impostor." Leo returned as he crossed his arms over his plastron.
His smile disappeared, "Where are they?" he growled.
It was Leo's turn to smile, "Who?"
'Leo' stepped forward angrily, stomping with each step and stopping mere inches from Leo, he glared.
"Don't patronise me! I know they are here, where are they?"
Leo laughed, "How the hell am I supposed to hide them? Look around, do you see anywhere that they can go?" he swung his arms around to emphasise the point, aside from the tree there wasn't anywhere else to go and there wasn't really anyway that he could hide them in the tree.
They stood and glared at each other for a moment before 'Leo' turned and began to walk away, speaking as he went, "When I find them, they are dead"
'Leo' disappeared as quickly as he had come and Leo let out the breath that he had been holding in, the tree behind him kicked into life and it's branches reached within itself and began to pull his family out of it's large trunk, they settled them down gently onto the ground.