A/N: Alright, here we are! An update! I offer my sincere apologies about the ridiculous wait, but I hope you all find it worth it. Things to note - there is a lot of swearing in this, but then again, it is Raph so are you really that surprised! In the event that you didn't follow the link from Stealthy Stories here, this story also touches on domestic violence. And if you ever wonder why Raph won't hit a woman, well ...
PS: Responses to reviews will be coming via PM.
Certificate – 15
Raphael - Never Again
"Actions determine what kind of characteristics develop" Aristotle
Thingz are a lil diff'rent down in th' lair right now. Thingz ha'e been diff'rent for a while act'lly. Th' atmosphere is totally crap, with Mikey sittin' on his ass doin' nuthin' but eatin' junk and watchin' Buffy obsessively. And I'll tell you sumthin' for nuthin', when ya ain't got Mikey's goofing off things in th' lair can get pretty shitty pretty quickly. It's all 'he says, she says' at the moment ya see, its been like ov'r a year and we're still havin' t' deal wit' th' fall out. What complete an' utter bull shit! Sure we had some open lessons in slash and trash, not that it makes much diff'rence now, but there yo' go. That's Leo fer ya.
Anyway that's one o' the main reasons why I started out doing this. Stalkin' th' streets on my own, spoilin' fer a good fight. Guess this is my penance fer not gettin' t' Mikey in time or so'ethin'. Don't matta, tonight is th' night that me an' Tone are gonna have a good lil tangle. You'd think after three months o' us lockin' horns that th' kid woulda got th' message by now. Shape up, an' shift out. Yup, tonight I think I'm gonna have my last dance with Tone, gettit through his thick skull, hand baggin' th' natives is no way to make some damn money. Can't make it fairer than that …
Cept I didn't end up tangling with Tone … sure I found and trailed his two bit punk ass but then something else got in th' way. It was one of those moments where you have to make a split second decision, and which ever way ya go ya know things sure as Hell aint going to be the same ever again. Nut that I'm gonna get all Mikey on you and start blubbin', but you'll see what I mean.
I was in Tone's top hunting ground, a bunch of apartment blocks in Harlem, I've been out enough times now t' know that this place ain't exactly folk-friendly, let alone freak-friendly so th' quicker you hit th' highline th' betta. Got a betta view of the world around yo', plus there is the guarantee that there ain't gonna be no crashin' into sumone else. Always a good thin'. It was a good night t' be out, moon was new, so that meant I could see th' folks crawlin' in the street under them god awful street lamps, but they couldn't spot me. Jus' th' way I like it. I clocked Tony patrollin' 'is usual smash an' grab route, was even in the process of cuttin' him off when it happened. I was halfway down the fire escape on this block when the first scream reached me.
At th' time I was a coupla months shy of 16 but I'd learnt enough 'bout bein' topside t' know yo' don't jus' go chargin' into sumone else's fight. An' besides Masta Splinter woulda had a fit if he knew I was out here. When I take off he thinks I'm sulkin' in the sewers sumwhere, not out playin' in some serious traffic.
I didn't go check it out straight off, after all in this neighbourhood ev'ryone is screamin' ov'r sumthin' or other. It's kinda funny when you look at it like that. I was on the fifth floor of the fire escape when I heard that goddamn scream again. Down below me I could jus' make out Tony's mop o' blonde hair whilst he kitted himself up. Yo' know what I mean, right? Pulled on this sweater, got the hood up, pulled the cords tight, don't want no one knowin' his ugly mug not that they're ever gonna get a good look at it after I've worked my magic. But that's punk logic fer yo'. Even watched him fixin' on 'is latex gloves, don't wanna risk leavin' no prints, and givin' th'area th'once over fer 'the freak in shell suit'. Yea, thanks to Tone I had myself a rep.
"Leave me alone!"
How could I miss, or walk away from that? Th' scream was jus' two floors above me, and after that Tone kinda took a back seat. After all I could just check it out, I didn't need to get involved in whatever 'it' was, did I?
Who was I trying to kid? As soon as I started to make my way back up those stairs I knew I was going in for the long haul.
At first I wasn't sure I had the right floor, I mean after this random chick's blatantly loud scream everything had gone pretty quiet. I was about to go up another floor and see if something was going on up there when the thudding started up. At first I didn't get what it was, but then she started to holler at some guy to 'Get off!" That got me moving; I really started working pretty damn fast on that window then.
Her scream flooded out into the hall through this space no more than six inches wide. Then just like that the apartment door slammed shut and I was left staring at this wooden board through two inches of grimed up glass. Something inside me ran cold, this wasn't some normal ass argument between the locals. Nah, something inside me told me this was some serious shit. Screw it. I got my first war wounds o' that night smashin' in th' damn window outside 'er main door. I jus' wanted t' get t' her.
Her name was Erin. I learnt that later, after it was all said and done. The prick I danced wit' was called Bryan. Bryan Torres, they'd been together for about ten months, same ol' shit every night an' no one ever came round. Well, I guess when she was pitchin' fer her prince she didn't expect sum green skinned, hard assed Brooklyn spoutin' freak like me. Come t' think of it; neither did dear ol' Bry.
"HELP!" my blood started to clear boil; one second Erin was screamin', and the next she was chokin'.
Erin was hittin' sumthin' mutts should be able t' hear. Damn well made my fuckin' ears ring. Don't ask me why, but the first thing I did was knock on that front door. Knock on the stupid thin'! Yea, you're right. I ain't got no fuckin' clue what I was thinkin' either. Didn't get no stinkin' answer the first time, so I pulled out my itsy bitsy pitchfork and drove it into the woodwork. That brought Mr. High an' Mighty to the door pretty damn fast, an' yo' know what? For a second I actually thought about bottlin' it. After all it's not like I'm gonna be gettin' anythin' for m' troubles. But there was sumthin' 'bout his attitude when he pulled the door open to tell me t' "Fuck right off!" that told me I was on the right track. I was in a fucked up mood anyway, and bein' told t' go jump didn't do him no favours.
He was a big motha … had a good foot on me, no hair, and a set of eyes that woulda made the Pope drop a brick. I didn't know what it was I wanted t' do t' the asshole but I wanted 'im away from that damn chick. We tussled in th' door way fer a few seconds b'fore I got what I was comin' fer. He went out the door an'I got in. Slammed the door behind me too. I can still remember th' next few moments – stick t' me better than supa glue.
Erin was 'bout th' same size as me. An' more fucked up than Tyson after ten rounds in a ring wit' Lewis. She was scared shitless when I first got in there, had me figured fer another one of that twat's friends. How the fuck could a guy do that to a chick? Masta Splinter would prattle on about sum o' th' shit in th' world but he never told us shit like this went down. She backed right on up when I went o'er t' tell her I was gonna see her right. Crawled int' th' corner an' holed up there, I didn't even get why the fuck she started screamin' her pretty lil head off again until Bry grabbed me by m'belt and hurled me back outta th' way.
An' that was it. Game over. No more playin' games, cos he sure as fuck wasn't. And wanna know what the funniest bit was? I deliberately took my sai on outta my belt loops b'cause I didn't wanna make no damage I couldn't pay fer. I mean yo' first time, th' time when ya wring so'eone's neck, its meant t 'be in the middle of a fuckin' battle wit' Foot an' weapons going Hell fer leather, not in sum dingy apartment block wit' a drunk bully. I took great care wit' puttin' my sai outta the way. On th' coffee table by the door. I remember that cos it was th' o'ly thing in the hallway that was still standin'. Then I cracked my knuckles, rolled my shoulders, an' showed him exactly what happens t' assholes that pick on chicks.
Master Splinta's always would get on my ass fer takin' the fight t' the man. He'd always be sayin' stop, breathe then shoot. Like I'd listen t' that … sumtimes I wonder if he's eva gone ten rounds wit' sumone outside o' his bloody dojo. The real world ain't this pansy house honour place he harps on ab'ut ya know! 'Nother thing that I never really appreciated till then was how much Splinta's pointless toning and bonin. The first time that guy drove his fist int' m' gut I thought my shell was gonna frickin' crack. Dude was like a bull in a china shop, he fought like m', which I liked; rough an' ready, no apologies. No nuthin', at least I had myself sum style. I ducked his round house, asshole put a hole in the bloody plastaboard, so I shouldn't smirk o'er it s' much. I s'pose he coulda done sum serious ass damage.
What came next stuck wit' me fer th' longest. Wheneva I got Mikey talkin' bout that punk who had tried t' gut him he always talked ab'ut how slow everythin' got. I aint go no clue where he got –that- from. One minute the guy was havin' a laugh tryin' to use my middle for a fuckin' punch bag, the next he was off my ass an 'rolling down a flight o' stairs. It was like this blink-an'-miss it moment. I barely had time t' catch my breath, let alone stop an' think o'er the fact I mighta iced the guy. Bein' tougha than Mike definitely has its good points. We'd danced ourselves a merry lil foxtrot all the way out the door, down the hallway an' t' th' stairs. When I looked back up at it from the top of the stairs yo' could see the points when we'd used the wall t'brace off or get in a good coupla hooks. In fact at sum point the dick had got a hold o' m' bandanna and pulled, an' I only knew that because the tails were hangin' o'er one o' m' shoulders, one forward, one back, nicely coverin' the top o' the motha o' all bruises.
Y' see I couldn't get over it. Not at first. This asshole, and my fucked up sense o' honour had gone and robbed m' of my moment. Deaths were meant t' happen on th' battlefield. They were meant t' be done usin' yo' weapon o' choice, there was s'posed t' be blood n guts sprayin' everywhere. Not some two bit built-like-a-shit-brick-house loser lying at the bottom o' the stairs with his head hangin' at 160 from his body, starin' up at the ceiling like sum drunk outta his brain hobo from the East Side. Spent the longest time jus' standin' there and starin' at his sorry fallen ass;
"Ratha you than me …" I muttered, not that it was doin' me no good. I wasn't goin t' be gettin' this moment back. An' that sucked more ass than yo' eva gonna imagine.
She musta heard me, Hell she musta heard every curse, thump, crash an' wallop. Musta been shittin' herself away in her apartment when it all came t' a stop. Eitha way th' first thing I knew about it was when she called out t' me.
"Hello?" she was hangin' in the door o' her place. Pressin' herself right int' the frame like if she tried hard enough she'd get jus' eaten up. Had sum more clothes on than b'fore t'. A pretty little white flannel bathrobe thing. So'ethin' way too posh an' white for life in a sewer. Took me a few moments to clock the cordless phone she was clutchin' in her right hand.
"Toots." I backed up straight off, thank god for cheap landlords who don't do lecky at night. Remember seein' her flinch when I spoke, literally jumped in her skin. Made me feel sorry for her. And no one eva got that outta me b'fore. I could see it in her shadow, she was weighing up, decidin' whether or not to come down an' see the damage, when she started crawling forward I couldn't figure what it was that had swung it. But it was when she started her lil foray int' the 'big wide world' that I got a chance t'get a real look at her.
Man … things were startin' t' change fer me. The time she'd been spared away from him had given sum o'his potshots a real chance to shoot up, had bruises and cuts jus' 'bout ev'ry place I could see. Hell, one half o' her face was so black it looked like she had been dipped in pitch. And th'otha half, it was goin' a sweet shade o'purple, around a pretty little blue eye that was set on a ball that had blown t' the slickest red. She moved real funny, had a few limps, but hey, I could feel my own lumps an' bumps comin' through so I aint blamin' her for that one.
She stopped at the top of the stairs, her one good eye straining t' make 'im out. "Is he dead?" she asked, jus' standin' there, starin' down at his broken ass, she had one hand on the top of the banister, the other clutched the corner o' the wall. I didn't gettit – she'd just stared right at my scaly green ass and hadn't freaked out. I was gonna tell her the score when ol' Bry did his flinch an' fart trick. Poor girl nearly shit herself a brick right then. "Oh God …"
"Lady; how many guys yo' know that can survive a head that has gone through a 160?"
"That's what I said."
I don't quite get what happened next; she put the phone t' her ear an' waited fer sumone t' pick up. She stood there, lookin' at me where she musta reckoned m' head was. She was shaken, and scared, but she got it out. "Thank you." She barely articulated her words, just said those two lil words that I didn't think no New Yorker knew. "I … I won't call the police." she was tellin' me t' pack m' things an' get outta the way.
"Yo' gonna be good?" I was sorta getting' o'er the shock o' being thanked for a job well done. And she just looked at me an' nodded. By the time I'd doubled back an' nabbed my sai my thinkin' had done a full 180. I mean who cares that I didn't kick no shit on a field full o' soldiers, what I did tonight … it was still a battleground, and I still won. An' yo' know what else? I made a difference, a real difference t' sumone that deserved it. I was stickin' my blades away when I passed her again, she had slid her bony battered ass down th' wall an' was just sittin' and starin' down at his fartin' silhouette. She moved t' one side t' let m' past. It made me smile.
"Nah, I'm good."
She looked at me again, lickin' her lips b'fore moving back. "Are you going to be okay? I could phone an ambulance."
That was the second time she had got me. "Nah, really I'm good. You just take care o' yo'. Right?" I continued movin' t' th' window I'd done a number on. As I was climbing through she said her last words for the night.
"Bye." Now that she wasn't screamin' or hollerin' for help her voice had this real tender, soft note to it. She didn't sound that old; but she sure as Hell sounded tired.
I don't know why I botha'd wastin' time tryin' t' figure out how t' explain away my lumps an' bumps. Mikey knew the moment I dragged my battered ass into the family home. And I'll tell yo' sumthin' fer nothin' I didn't half get some strange looks from Don an' Leo too, I remember it cos Don dropped his mug o' fresh coffee clean on his foot. Screamed the fuckin' roof in.
Mikey was sittin' down by the TV, glued to Wrestlemania' o' all things. He clocked me in the glare o' th' screen, rolled onto his knees, looked me over once an' cracked a grin. "Ladies an' gentlemen we got another killer in the house!"
An' yo 'know sumthin'? If I hadn't been so sore, an' it hadn't morphed Mike back into more of his old ways I'da cracked his nut for it.