I'm bored.

Bored, bored, bored, so bored!

With a strained grunt, I indifferently tossed the remote to Mike, who was sitting next to me, curled into a ball, hugging a bowl and shoveling buttered and salted popcorn into his mouth, and pushed myself off the couch. I stretched out my arms and legs, I've been sitting for hours, I needed to move and walked away, I didn't feel like staying still anymore.

Of course, Mike wasted no time to clutch the remote with his usual childish grin, not even bothering to ask me where I was going, he raised the volume on the movie a few notches, clearly voicing out the gunman raining bullets on the train robber, while galloping with his horse across the wasteland, trying to retrieve the kidnapped damsel in distress.

Heck! I've seen that movie a thousand times.

I walked over to the punching bag, oddly feeling my heart heavy and my breath thick in my throat, I feel incredibly exhausted for someone who absolutely did nothing at all, all day! I didn't like it, I didn't like it at all; so I decided on a quick workout, to let my blood pump and maybe make me feel a little more alive, I hate being inactive, makes me feel like I'm some sort of dead weight.

Stretching my arms and warming up, flexing them actually hurt a little, they felt awful stiff.

'Man, just how long have I been sitting on my tail? Four or five hours I think; gees.' I rubbed my shoulder, 'This is the last time I let Mike talk me into watching a movie marathon with him.' I gave a negative shake.

I started my workout with a short series of punches and kicks, before adding more strength and speed to them, wanting to feel the result more clearly; grunting and scowling at every time I either did not get the satisfaction when the hit landed, or even though beads of sweat were forming on my temple, the fact that I didn't actually feel like working out.

I was so bored, even doing kata didn't sound fun.

Unfortunately, I think I was so absorbed into the sheer boredom of watching the bunching bag swing back and fourth, to have actually noticed someone standing behind me, watching me and saying nothing, whoever it was paused, and then walked around to the opposite side of the sack, grabbing it all too suddenly when my last punch collided, sending it swinging backwards and away from me.

"What- ?" I blinked, taken back as to why the punching bag did not sway back my way.

"Something wrong?" someone spoke as the tail of a blue mask came into sight.

With a grump, I gave the punching bag one last punch, nothing he couldn't handle, "What do you want?" I growled.

From behind the punching bag, Leo stepped out, smiling sympathetically, "Nothing, you just seem so stressed."

"I'm just bored." I grumped, weight leaning to one side.

He furrowed in concerned, "Why don't you go check with Donny?" he offered gently.

I arched a brow ridge, "Where is he?"

He smiled a little slowly releasing the sack and allowing it to swing back into a standstill, "He's at the garage."

"And what's he going there? Freezing his tail off?" I bit back a growl, I was really in no mood for Leo.

"I think he's doing some tweaking to the Battle Shell," he offered.

I arched an eye ridge, not really interested, "So? What's that gotta do with me?"

"Well, who knows? You might find something interesting?" He smiled.

I just sneered at him, annoyed, agitated and unimpressed.

"What about the movie?" he asked, glancing briefly at the monitors far away, curious.

I spared a glance and saw Mike had already changed the cowboy movie into a horror movie!

"You and Mike were watching one just a moment ago." Leo's face wrinkled slightly at the sound of a woman scream.

I let out an annoyed sigh, "I've seem most of his DVD collection a thousand times, they're just no longer interesting." I mumbled, reasoning simply, "Besides, he keeps playing the same flicks, over and over and over and over and ov- !"

"I got the idea!" Leo interrupted, smiling weakly.

I smirked, enjoying the fact that I got on his nerves.

"How about we spar?" he offered, unsure if I'd accept.

"No thanks, I don't feel like it." I grouched, smirk gone.

Leo rolled his eyes, "Okay, would you rather meditate with me, then?" he sarcastically arched a brow.

I grimaced, "Ugh, no thank you!" I spared a weak smile, "I'm not that desperate!"

He chuckled, "Go see Don then, he might have a new toy for you to play with."

I huffed, mildly humored, "Whatever." I stalked towards the elevator.

I walked across the living room and past the bridge, I spared Sensei's bedroom door a glance, the sandalwood brown frames with the white paper barely transparent enough to show what was going on inside, seeing the faintest shifting of shadows and I wondered if he was meditating; it was late at night and there was no patrol tonight, Sensei said we ought to stay home seeing it's so cold nowadays.

While heading towards the elevator, I glanced back at Leo, and saw that he was already tormenting Mike, telling him to lower the volume, but Mike, as usual, would play deaf and rise it a little more, receiving a frustrated groan from Leo.

I chuckled when the elevator's door opened with a soft hiss, and then stepped inside, I stood still as the door closed on it's own and the humming began, and I looked up at the crystals decorating the dome shaped ceiling.

Donny deliberately didn't removes these crystals, because he knew they were the energy source that keep the contraption working, and removing them would turn the thing off, disabling it, and we don't want that.

Although Mike did mention how curious he was, wanting to know how the elevator would work if we removed them, but Don insisted that removing the crystals is not a good idea, and he does not want to take any risk of damaging it by removing the jewels from it's ceiling, seeing that he's not too sure if even if he was able remove them, would simply putting them back work?

Well, Even if there was probably a load of crystals laying around hidden somewhere, Don claimed to have not been able to find any on his own, besides the giant crystal star Raptor revealed when we brought him in; Don never stopped fussing about it, too; after we came back from the flying city of the Aerials, Don tried to activate the switch, but it wont glow and show the giant crystal star.

'I guess it's an Aerial thing after all.' He muttered dejectedly, he really wanted to re-open the crystal's shaft.

It's been a week since we came back from the flying city of the Aerials, and Don's been completely engrossed in scanning and searching the whole lair from top to bottom for any hidden paths, or treasure, as Mike would call them. So far, there had been no trace to reach the hidden crystal star tucked in our dome-shaped ceiling, and Don still doesn't know how to activate the thing.

Stepping out of the capsule-like room, I watched it slide it's door shut again, before it descended back to the lower level, after it curled like a rose blossoming backwards. I took a moment to look at where the elevator sprouts from, and I mused on how the floor indicated no sign of any type of objects even moving above it, how strange.

I half wondered if prying the elevator's shaft open would show any other paths, because in normal buildings, an elevator usually have ventilation shafts connected to the main elevator's path; then again, does this thing work with cords, or simple anti gravity theories? Hmm, might as well ask Donny about it later, after all, he's the one who likes asking questions.

Shrugging the idea away, I looked around the spacious room or the garage, seeing the Battle Shell parking quietly at the far side of the garage, with the Shell Cycle resting near the wall close by; but hearing nothing that indicated if Don was within the vicinity, I felt a little uneasy, and I wondered if Leo was wrong, and that our brother was elsewhere.

"Donny?" I called out, curious and wondering where he was.

"Raph? That you?" his voice replied, "I'm over here!"

I furrowed, his voice was echoing from somewhere, "Here? Here where?"

"Behind the Battle Shell!" he answered, "And could you hurry up a bit, my hands are full!"

Tilting my head to the side, a bit puzzled, I carefully made my way towards the vehicle, and then caught the sight of Donny, on his knees, a but dirtied and muddy, he had his goggles on while scrubbing something off the truck's armor, and then I noticed the mud that dirtied the wheels and the lower body of the truck, I guess it could use a little cleaning up, huh?

I frowned, "What happened here? When did it get so dirty?"

"Crash course." Don grumbled sadly, "A complete failure!"

I quirked a curious brow, "When? I don't remember you leaving."

"It wasn't me." he muttered, "It was Mike, and no! He did not drive it, he broke the remote and the autopilot went fritz."

I rubbed the back of my neck, an upset Donny isn't a happy camper, "Need help?" I offered.

He eyed my from behind his dirtied goggles, stopped scrubbing and sighed, "Sure, the faster I get this thing cleaned the better, at least I can then start fixing the remote back to how it used to be." He reasoned.

"I guess you have your work cutout for you." I teased.

Don did not look pleased, it did nothing but ruin his mood, "Whatever."

I grabbed a pair of gloves and goggles, and then a brush and Don pushed the small bucket of soap between us, I grimaced, not really wanting to be on my knees in grime, but I offered help and he sure looked like he needed it, so why not?

I could help but emit a small growl when a small splotch of mud and grease made a wonderful combination of glue, on the lower inside arch of the wheel, and it was kind of annoying scrubbing the splotch, it would have been easier if we had the truck lifted on something, like in them real garages, with machines to help get a better view on the vehicle from the bottom.

"Not so hard, Raph! You'll scratch the paint!" Don admonished gently.

"Sorry." I grumped, stopping for a minute to rub my shoulder; I needed to get that spot off one way or another.

"You okay? You look tense." Don piped, his voice somewhat concerned.

I paused and looked at him through my clean goggles, "Yeah, I'm fine." I went back to scrubbing.

"You don't sound fine." He replied, pausing for a moment to regard my performance, "Wanna talk?"

I sighed, "I dunno, I just don't feel like it." I grumped, half smirking when the piece of grime started coming off.

Don didn't say anything, he just continued scrubbing.

Minutes passed while we quietly worked together, scrubbing the dirt off the Battle Shell, and I was almost done when Don was finished with his side, before putting down the brush and stretching his arms, groaning a bit, he just sat there eyeing the now clean truck, while I continued with my side. It was quiet for a few minutes longer before I was finished, and I then put my brush down.

I took off the goggles to look at the truck, "So far so good." I smirked.

"Yeah, but you kind of scratched off the paint when you were fighting that splotch, though." Don pointed to the spot where the offending spot was, and only now I realized I've grazed the paint.

"Er- sorry." I apologized, I guess I sometimes don't know my own strength.

Don sighed softly, "It's okay, I was thinking of repainting the Battle Shell anyway," he began while slowly taking off this goggles, "the old one was looking a little too old and dusty." He reasoned, pushing himself off the floor.

I pushed myself to my feet and took off the gloves, "Yeah, good idea."

Fortunately, there was a small sink Donny installed in the backside of the garage, the small room in the far back was actually a restroom, toilets and all, he just did a few fixing. There were six toilets, he removed four and added two showers instead, and added a small sink with lots of soap, simply because working in the garage made all these terrible fumes latch on to our skin.

Don and I silently went to the small restroom to clean up, and I couldn't help but see disappointment in his eyes, it was rather disturbing, because Don's been kind of downhearted for a while, it nagged on me.

"You okay, bro?" I asked, tugging at a towel and drying my hands.

At first his eyes lit and he looked my way, distracted, "Hn? Oh, yeah, I'm- fine." He paused, barely sounding fine, "Just- thinking."

I watched him wash his hands before I handed him the towel, he accepted it silently.

When we walked out of the restroom, he sighed, "I don't get it, Raph." He began, very upset and sad, "I mean, I've searched this whole place from top to bottom, and yet I can't seem to find anything of value."

"Well, though this place is now our home, remember that it was, and still is an Entity fortress, a stronghold, so it's only natural that the Entity hid everything all too well from any wondering hands and eyes." I began, gently clapping a hand on his shoulder.

"But- ?" he began, but never uttered another word.

I smiled and gave his shoulder a small pat, "Don't sweat it, bro! I'm sure we'll come across something."

He sighed heavily, "I don't know, maybe Leo was right, maybe there is nothing to begin with!" he shrugged wearily, "Maybe I should just give up."

I poked a finger to his forehead, tilting his head sideways, "Gees, listen to you! You've gotten yourself all wounded up about finding some hidden passage, and after only a week, you've ready given up?"

He looked away, not really in a mood to talk back to me.

"C'mon Donny, I thought you were more stubborn than that!" I lectured kindly, hoping to bring his spirit back up.

Don walked past me, mildly affected and not feeling any better.

I sighed, faking annoyance, "Aw, fine, have it your way." I huffed.

I watched him walk past me, and indifferently go about the continents of his cabinet, picking spry cans and then putting them back, he was probably searching for the right colors to repaint the Battle Shell, and all I could do was sigh. I mean, watching him like this, so down and depressed, I didn't like it, Donny is so much better looking when he's smiling.

Donny isn't really the type to dwell too deep into the bad stuff, unless it makes him too restless, he keeps giving himself a bad case of insomnia, sometimes worse than mine! I remember last time, we both got insomnia and spent all night chattering in the living room, and stayed up and awake for more than thirty hours, and when Sensei found out- whew boy was he Mad!

Oddly an idea lit in the back of my mind, "Hey, how about we search for something else?"

Don looked at me, confused, "Something else?"

"Yeah," I began with a grin, now marching towards him and smiling more broadly, arms crossed over my chest, "I remember when I was younger, Sensei taught me this thing, he said that sometimes, no matter how hard you try to search for something, you just cant seem find it to the point of frustration, so either stop searching and try to forget the thing you're searching for, or ask someone to look for it with you, or you can search for something else completely irrelevant, and if you're lucky, you'll find the thing you first went looking for."

Don just blinked at me, shook his head and spoke, "I wouldn't think it'll work, Raph. It's illogical."

"I don't know about you, Donny, but it worked for me and Mikey lots of times." I egged.

He eyed me wearily, doubtful, "Doesn't sound too assuring." He mumbled.

I pouted and clasped a hand to the top of his head, turning him to face me, "Trust me on this one bro, let's give it a try, okay?"

Donny gave me this- shy blinking gaze, and I smirked; usually he tries to suppress the need to blink too rapidly, but it happens subconsciously when he's nervous, "I- guess it won't hurt to try."

I gave his head a pat and grinned in triumph, "Good! Then what do you want to search for?"

He rubbed the back of his neck, not really sure, "Um, let me think."

"Take your time, bro." I smiled, and put my hand on my hip.

Donny smiled just a tad bit and then went about fingering the items in the cabinet, so I just went to the sliding door on the Battle Shell's side and opened it, and then made myself comfortable on the closest seat. I paused for a moment before fingering the controls; I noticed a soft brown spot, probably of soda and coffee near the controls in front of the passenger seat's panel.

'Ugh, Mikey should learn to chew and actually keep his food in his mouth.' I grouched, disgusted at my little brother's disgusting eating habits, and at the mess he left behind. 'Hmm, might as well get it cleaned.' I shook my head and ventured out of the vehicle, looking for a small, clean brush and a wet rag, I don't want to damage the controls by scrubbing too hard.

"Um," Don began, trying to get my attention, "I think I figured something." He smiled a bit.

I grinned, "Great, what do you need?"

He rubbed the back of his neck, "Well, if it's not too much of trouble, I kind of lost a few microchips about a week or so, April and I were going to use them, but she slipped on some grease and spilled the box, a few chips were missing."

I paused, nodding my head slowly, "How many?"

"Um, about six." He smiled nervously.

I arched a brow, paused them furrowed, "And, dare I ask, how big are they?"

He smiled sheepishly, "As big as a bottle cap."

I sent him a tentative glare, but then gave a negative shake, and forced up a smile, "Well, it's worth a try."

He sighed in relief, probably expecting me to refuse, "They're microchips, the usual square green slots with a smaller square or rectangle shaped black spot on top, you know?" he informed.

"I gotcha," I looked around the empty garage floor, "And, where did Ape spill them?"

"Um, a little near the elevator." He pointed to where the elevator should be.

I guess cleaning the control panel will have to wait, all the better, cause I really ought to make Mikey clean it, after all he's the one who chews with his mouth wide open! Like- Ew!

I walked ahead towards the elevator's spot, and looked at the dingy floor, but there was barely the sight of a bubblegum wrapper, or much less some stray microchip. I looked at Don, who stood next to me, and we, with a simple nod, separated. I searched the left side and he searched the right, we decided to start in a circle around the spot the elevator pops out from.

I strained my eyes to try and make out the sight of anything green and black on the dingy grey and dusty floor, and fortunately, I caught the site of one! It was a microchip alright, but it was in a small crack on the floor. Seeing no need to call for Don, I got down to my knees and wedged my fingers in, trying desperately to pick it out, but my fingers were too thick, even though the crack didn't look too deep.

With a grunt, I decided to move the cracked tile and just pick the chip out, but when I started wiping the dirt away from the crack, wanting to see how long the crack was, I suddenly found my hands slowing down to a full stop, and I just sat there.

I paused, staring; why, you might ask?

Because I realized the crack was no crack! It- it looked like some sort of arched handle.

With a curious grunt, I slipped my hand on the handle, and pulled, and before I knew it, some opening appeared under the microchip, and it was swallowed by the opening that appeared under it. I growled, realizing that moving the handle probably shifted whatever floor the chip was resting on, so I got to my knees, and with both hands, I gripped the handle and yanked it up.

It hurt my fingers, the thing practically weight a ton!

"You got something?" Don walked over, a single microchip at hand.

"Yeah, I found one, but it fell in this hole." I growled, trying to open the shaft, "Gees! What kind of idiot puts a maintenance cover in the middle of a garage?" I growled, but paused when Don put a hand on my shoulder.

"Um, Raph?" he stashed the microchip he found in his belt pocket, and then nervously placed a hand with mine on the handle, pushing it down as to prevent me from opening the thing, "Uh, I don't think it's a maintenance shaft." He told uneasily.

I furrowed and looked down at the heavy cover, "It's not?"

I stopped struggling with the handle and slowly let go, so naturally, the cover fell back into place with a slight screeching sound. Don quickly headed back to the cabinet and took a rag, headed to the restroom, dampened it and then came back. Once on his hands and knees, he started scrubbing the handle and the surrounding edges of the so-thought maintenance shaft's entrance.

Once done, we sat there, gawking at the rather huge and heavy, if not too obviously 'Entity' decorated handle, the swirly design and jade blue were a clear hint that it was no ordinary entrance.

"Well shut my mouth with a dog biscuit," he muttered in awe, then sent me a weary gaze, "your idea actually worked?" he muttered, unbelieving.

I chuckled, "Oh you have no idea!" I boasted.

We both sat there in silence, complementing on what could very well be a whole new field of adventure, but I tried not to think that it could very well be just a maintenance shaft, who knows? It sure looks like one, and it is right next to the elevator's spot. I mean, what else could it be? I don't see the need for anything else in the garage, so what's down there?

"So?" I began, trying to keep the grin off my face, "The Microchip fell down when I tried to open the shaft." I informed.

He blinked at me, a little unsure, "I don't know Raph, we don't know what's down there." He reasoned.

"Aw, c'mon! You want that chip or not?" I egged, my hands on the handle again.

Don sighed, stashed the chip he found in his belt pocket and then placed his hands near mind on the handle, "Ready?"

"Ready when you are, steady!" I grinned wider.

He smiled despite himself, "Okay, on the count of three."

Once signaled, we both strained our arms and pulled at the handle the best we could, and fortunately, my massive strength boosted with Donny's was powerful enough to rip the lid off the opening, resulting in grime and dust to pick up and slide, dropping into the seemingly bottomless hole! The door never fell backwards with a loud crash like I expected, instead it stopped with a screech-crunch at a thirty-something degrees, before the dirt and dust picked up again, sending even more grime into the bottomless hole, so I brushed my hands and looked at Don.

Without a word, he ventured towards the cabinet to retrieve a pair of flashlights, and tossed me one. I smirked, the excitement was slowly stretching and twitching at the corners of his mouth, he was desperately tying to bottle in his anticipation, not to mention the faint anxiety from wanting to dearly to dwell into the unknown, and tried so smother the shy smile when he caught the grin on my face.

"Ready, steady?" I teased.

"After you." he offered with a bow, teasing back.

"You honor me, dear brother." I chuckled peeked into the bottomless pit.

There was a metal ladder, just like the one in the sewers leading to the topside, it was a set-row of rings sticking from the wall, and I wondered if this led to a sewer under our home. Indifferent to the thought of putting a sewer in the sewers, I reached for the old, neglected and rusty ringed ladder embedded in the wall, feeling some of the rings rattle under my grasp, and some bend under my massive weight, so I gave Don a warning while I and climbed my way down, flash light turned on and between my teeth.

It felt like hours, slowly and uneasily climbing my way down the ladder, and every now and then, I'd look up at Don, who still did not climb down after me, pointing his flashlight downwards as to light my path for me, wanting to make sure I reached the bottom safely.

I stopped every now and then, just to make sure the rings could handle my weight, I didn't want to push my luck, and I didn't want Donny risking himself down here if something bad happened, but this place truly felt bottomless, I look up and the opening looks as big as my fist, with Don looking down at me, his flashlight glaring down at me.

I wondered just- how deep is this thing? I've been climbing down for hours!

I noticed that every thirty to forty steps, and yes! I actually thought of counting them, blame it on the bored, random thoughts of a turtle; there was about a small shaft in the wall, as big as my head, and no, my head ain't as half as big as Baxter's, ego-wise; it was big enough for a cat to go in, so maybe Donny would like to send something into them and check where they go, hopefully not Klunk, or Mikey would never let us hear the end of it!

Ah the possibilities, but I'll save it for later.

I stiffened slightly when my foot finally touched solid grown, and I slowly and carefully eased myself on the hard floor, using the flashlight between my teeth, I grimaced at the fact that I've bitten into the thing so hard, besides the taste of plastic latching to my fangs, I left teeth marks! 'Gees, I really need to control my strength!'

I searched around the room, and saw a short tunnel that held three doors, they were pretty worn and there were cobwebs all over the place! Yuk! I hate spiders! And I don't care if Don keeps saying that they're not 'bugs' cause they look like bugs to me!

"Raphie?" Donny called, and a trace of worry was in his voice, "You there?"

"Yeah, I'm okay." I called back, listening to my echo bounce across the small ladder-tunnel and the debris of dust falling off the walls worried me, the place looked pretty abandoned and in very bad shape.

"Is it safe down there?" he called again, his flashlight barely bright enough to glare down at me.

"Yeah, but there is a junction here," I began, and then chuckled, "Hey Donny?"

"Yeah?" he called back, curious and less worried.

"Choose: left, right or center?" I looked back up at him.

He was quiet for a moment, "Ah, just a sec!"

I walked closer to the three doors, minding that they were more like arches, there was no actual door blocking them, they were just three entrances to three separate tunnels, and then blinked to the one on my right, it was barely six feet long, so I directed the light of my flashlight to it, and I was surprised to see a giant oddly-shaped object sitting still.

Curious, I walked closer and put my hands on it, and grinned.

It was the elevator chamber!

I was at the backside of the elevator's chamber? Cool! Then there is indeed a backdoor to this thing, a place where the maintenance room ought to be. 'Then this place is a maintenance chamber after all! Heck, and I was wondering how the Entity would repair the thing if it didn't have a side or back entrance.' I grinned, looking around, but saw that the elevator's egg-shaped body left no space between it and the walls, so there is no way to know if it moved by anti-gravity devices or simple cords.

Debris started falling down the ladder, and I turned around to see a rope dangling, it wiggled and danced as- Don?- climbed his way down them. I smiled and shook my head, sometimes he takes way too many safety precautions, what's the fun in that? And yes, I know the ladder didn't look too durable, but if it handled my weight, then I'm sure it can handle his; after all, I'm the second heaviest after Mike, while Don is the lightest.

'I'm just all bulk and muscles, Mike's just baby fat.' I stifled a laugh.

I walked back to the ladder and through the darkness, I wanted to see him better, not to mention shed a little light to where he was stepping, so I pointed the flashlight up, and unintentionally, the bright light hit Don's unprotected eyes, so he yelp, looked away and growled, I chuckled sheepishly and gave a small 'sorry!' before helping him down the last few steps.

I noticed, while holding his hand, his heart was racing, and his fingers ever so slightly curled around my hand, but I dare not point it out, because I knew Don wasn't scared, he was just overly excited, the happy little grin on his face was probably my first clue.

"Wow." He breathed out quietly, "It sure is dark in here."

"Yeah, like a blackout." I breathed back, then set the flashlight on the right-side tunnel, "Okay, I already checked that tunnel, it's where the elevator's chamber nests." I began, and then pointed to the left and center tunnels, "I still haven't checked those two yet."

"Right." He began, collecting his thoughts, licking his lips.

"No, not right! I said left." I teased.

He eyed me wearily and smiled, "That's not what I meant and you know it." He pulled his hand away from mine.

I chuckled, "Yeah, so I guess that means I get center?"

He eyed me knowingly, before he shrugged a shoulder, "I guess, okay."

"Okay," I walked to the center tunnel and paused, "just a question!"

Don, who was about to enter the left tunnel, stopped to turn to me, "Yeah?"

"Do the shell cells work?" I asked, not wanting to take any chances.

He furrowed and pulled out his own device, flicked it open and then pressed a button, "Hmm… no signal." He muttered.

"No signal?" I frowned and pulled out my own device, I flicked it open and pressed the signal meter, and true, there was no signal.

"It seems there is some sort of interference in the area, probably magnetic waves." Don explained briefly.

"Or a mighty powerful crystal." I muttered nonchalantly.

He perked and looked at me, "Do you really think so?" he smiled hopefully.

I shut me shell cell and put it back in my belt, "I'm just speculating."

His smile fell, but just a bit; undefeated, he smiled and looked into his tunnel, thinking.

"You still wanna do this, bro?" I asked, a bit warning, I didn't want him getting himself in trouble.

"Yes," he simply answered, "now we go in, and meet back here in thirty minutes, okay?" he suggested.

I looked into my tunnel and inhaled the scent of dust and cobwebs, "Ugh, sure."

For some reason, Don chuckled, "What? Are you scared Raph?"

I rolled my eyes, "No, it's just damn dusty, it prickles my nose!" I grumped.

"Uh huh, and the spiders?" he teased.

I sent him a glare, and he merrily chuckled.

"Fine, see you in thirty minutes, Raph." He laughed, walking into the tunnel.

"Whatever." I snorted, hiding a grin, walking into my tunnel.

Okay, I admit I'm not in all honestly, too overly afraid of something alien, unexpectedly popping out of the dark, grabbing my by the ankles, claws lashing out and slashing me everywhere, my blood gushing out and splattering everywhere, staining the floor and walls, being dragged by my lifeless, blood soaked body into a bottomless pit, where I get devoured by a three headed, multi-eyes, long tentacle-armed creature that had green blood and spits acid everywhere- and no, that's just one description from Mike's nightmare world, it's pretty creative after a 'horror movie marathon' and trust me, when he first wakes up shivering and whimpering, he tend to skip a lot of details, fortunately.

Unfortunately, I always end up spending the night in his room, I don't know why he even likes me so damn much, or maybe he actually doesn't like me at all, and he always picks me, because he likes to make my life miserable.

Ah heck; I guess I'll never know.

I do admit I'm not too afraid of spiders, even if they're not considered bugs; just thinking of their twitchy, hairy little multiple legs makes me shudder, my skin prickles and I feel so panicky, I just want to squash them or kick them away!

Urgh! Anything with more than four legs is a creepy little bugger, I hate them!

With a negative shake, I listened to my breath in my throat, then at the beating of my heart in my chest, slamming not too harshly against my plastron, so I take a few calming breathes and reach my mind, mentally linking with Don, and oddly, he responds with an assuring warm aura, signaling that he's just fine, and I cant help but chuckle, his aura is so damn warm.

'Gees, I guess even Don becomes hyper when he's excited, huh?' I continued down the tunnel.

I sent the glaring light of my flashlight to the tunnel, keeping count of the few window-like shafts on either sides of the wall, and trying to measure the length of the tunnel, and so far, I've seen three sets of three shafts on each wall for ever twenty feet, three shafts to the left and three to the right, and each shaft is as big as Don's computer screen, and- how big was it? 21 inches? 24 inches? I'm not sure.

I stopped to pull out my shell cell and se how much time was spent, and saw that it had already been twenty minutes, so with a grunt, I decided to head back, because I think Donny might be there waiting by the time I get there.

I stopped to see if I was anywhere near the end of my tunnel, and saw that I still have a long way to go, so with a soft sigh, I turned around and back where I came from; thankfully, by the time I got there, I didn't have to wait for more than a minute when Don's footsteps were heard, soon following by the flashlight when it glared out at me, and I greeted him with a small wave of a hand.

"Hey!" he smiled cheerfully, "Did you find anything?"

"No, I didn't reach the end of my tunnel yet," I replied, rubbing the dust off my snout, "you?"

He beamed out like a sugar-high Mikey on a hot sunny day, "Oh you have no idea what I found!" he suppressed a happy giggle, "Come on! I'll show you!" he ushered excitedly and almost ran back into the tunnel.

I smirked, and then chuckled again; Donny sure is having fun, ain't he?

I followed him quietly through the tunnel, only to realize that there were only two pairs of shaft, one on each wall, and they were every ten feet apart, much closer than the second tunnel, and less number of shafts, how strange. I figured that maybe since this tunnel leads elsewhere, whatever purpose it serves needs a less number of shafts that are closer than the other tunnel.

Oddly, I noticed that while the tunnel I took went straight forward, this tunnel slightly arched towards the right, and I had the strange feeling we were walking in a circle, and even though it felt shorter in length than the tunnel I took, it was- odd; I can't exactly put my finger on it. I shook my head and followed Don, musing on how big his grin was, he was really happy.

Slowly, I noticed the tunnel was illuminating, and I knew it wasn't the flashlight, because soon enough, the end of the tunnel appeared, and I squint my eyes for protection, it was a bit too bright. I blinked a few times to clear my blinded eyes, and once my vision cleared I gawked, wide eyed and speechless, because sight before my eyes, was the other side of the elevator, plus the control panels.

It seems that while the right side tunnel directly shows the backside of the elevator, for some reason or another, the left tunnel goes in a circle and rounds the whole lair, it sure felt long enough; before coming back to the other side of the elevator's chamber, and from this side, with the crystals decorating the walls and the big purple crystal embedded in a panel nearby, I'm guessing it's the main power switch or something.

"This looks like the main power room." I murmured.

"Yeah, I'm guessing that, too." Don beamed happily, his hand hovering over the many levers and buttons decorating the colorful control panel, not yet daring to touch anything in fear of ruining it.

"A work of art, ain't it." I grinned for the umpteenth time today, gazing at the elevator's other side.

"Yeah," Don began, "Wow! I mean, just look at all these crystals! I don't think I've seen so many in one place before!" he tuned to face me, "And this panel! Woo I feel like I'm in Deedee mode when I see so many buttons!" he laughed.

I stifled a snort of laughter, "D- Deedee mode?" I choked, gawking at him, "Don't tell me you watch Dexter's laboratory with Mikey!"

The blush on his face almost matched the color of my mask, and he sputtered, "Well, just a few episodes." He murmured embarrassedly.

I had a really hard time breathing, I slapped my thigh and choked as much laughter as I could, before some dust picked up and I end up in a coughing fit, but seriously? I was tempted to literally drop and roll on the floor laughing my ass off!

"It's Not Funny, Raph!" he whined, though the laughter and embarrassment were clear on his features, "Besides! You're never too old to watch cartoons!" he muttered uncomfortably, "Then again, you watch cartoons, too!"

I stifled my laughter, "Oh yeah? Name One!" I dared.

He paused, thinking, "Well- there was- um, that- that show, what was the name?" he raked his brain, blinked and snapped his fingers, "Hellsing!"

I rolled my eyes and the stagger in my stomach subdued, but a few giggles escaped my throat, so I cleared my voice, "First of all, braniac, Hellsing is an Anime! Not a cartoon! Secondly, it's rated R for violence, blood and gore!"

He pouts, crossing his arms over his chest, "But it's still a cartoon!" he argued.

I rolled my eyes, "Okay, so it's considered a Japanese cartoon," I added, "but it's still rated R while Dexter's lab is just PG-something!" I argued playfully, fully knowing he's not the least bit upset.

His lips twitch, smothering a smile, he faked being upset, all too obviously and goes about the control panel.

I inhaled slowly and tried to remove any possibility of losing control and laughing again, I didn't want to ruin Don's happy mood by pushing his buttons- no pun intended- in Deedee mode? Oh God! I don't think he can live this down if Mike found out! HAHAHA!

"Would you Stop laughing!" he shouted, the blush on his face turning his olive green skin into a soft shade of brown.

I staggered for an apology, but my eyes were tearing rivers and I couldn't breathe! God, I had to get out of there! "I- I'm j- just gonna go check that tunnel again!" I sputtered between chuckles and escaped.

Oh God! If I knew laughing so hard would give me such a headache, I would have tried to gain more self control, but man! I feel my heart throbbing in my head, I couldn't help it! Poor Don, I bet he's thinking of a good comeback, either that or he's already too engrossed into what he's doing, he tends to anchor himself into a lot of work to get away from what bothers him.

Hah! And to think it all started with me feeling so damn bored.

Not to mention a bunch of lost microchips.

I perked, 'Oh yeah, I need to go see where that thing fell.' I grinned and easily made my way back through the tunnel.

Half way through the tunnel, I slowly realizing that now, here was- a faint sound of- of- humming? I stopped to listen more closely, and realized that the humming was echoing from the other side of the tunnel, so I hastily hurried across the single road and back to the ladder, and once reaching the junction, I realized the humming had come from the elevator's chamber!

I stepped out of the left tunnel and did a beeline into the right tunnel, and to my surprise, at the other side of the open space, the chamber was gone and Don, at the control panel, was gawking and staring upwards, so I blinked and followed his gaze. I saw the elevator's chamber to up and farther rather slowly, no cords, unquestionably an antigravity device; and I wondered if he was the one who activated it, or perhaps someone was in there.

"Well I was wondering what this was for." Don murmured, paused and then saw me, "Oh?"

"Yo." I greeted simply, "Looks like this tunnel goes in a loop." I informed, "I wonder why."

"Um, probably has an escape rout there, you know?" he began, and at my puzzled gaze, he smiled and continued, "In some elevators, there is a shaft on the top to help people escape incase the elevator stopped, and since this elevator doesn't have a top exit, I'm guessing there must be one at the bottom or the sides, though I'm strongly thinking it must be at your side."

I furrowed, "Wouldn't it be easier if the opening was at your side? After all, it's where the control panel is at." I reasoned.

He mused and looked back at the buttons, "Hmm, perhaps there are two exits?"

"Maybe this shorter tunnel is for a whole other reason?" I asked, and then looked around me.

I paused as my foot scratched something, and I saw that I've stepped on the microchip, with a 'Oops!' feeling, I picked up the now useless and cracked item, and then sighed; ah well, it's not like one lost chip would matter, I mean Donny did find a bigger toy to play with, right?

I was about to stand upright when I saw another arch-shaped handle. I grinned.

Without a word, I stashed the broken microchip into my belt pocket, squatted down and gripped the handle, carefully tugging and readying my muscles to the massive weight; and to my surprise, this one was a hell lot lighter than the fist door, so once it was propped open, I realized that by opening the cover, I'm blocking half the tunnel, preventing anyone from passing through.

Looking down, I saw that the tunnel was pitch back and much darker! It looked bottomless as well, so I directed my flashlight to the bottomless pit, only to blink at the sight of a jade-bluish-grey hue, a dusty old floor, barely twenty feet away!

With an indifferent shrug, I glanced over at Don, he was too preoccupied with the control panel to have paid attention to me. Glancing back up at the elevator, I realized that the bottom of the contraption was a huge plate-like- thing! I don't know what it is, but it looked like an enlarged copy of the Utrom's hover craft, not too flashy, just- hums and rotates, interesting.

"Hey, Donny!" I called, gaining his obviously half divided attention, "I'm going down, if I'm not back in twenty minutes, you can panic!" I laughed and made my way down the ladder.

"Raph!" I heard his scolding tone, but whatever else he said was lost to my ears.

I grinned and slowly went down the very few metal ringed ladder steps, and oddly, this ladder was more durable and less ancient than the first one, so I'm guessing it's still in good condition because it's been used less, or because it was taken care of more often, either way, with my trusty flashlight, I carefully made my way into the deep darkness of the abyss.

I stopped and my feet touched the- oddly cool floor, it felt a little too cool. I moved my flashlight to the floor and realized it was actually an enormous chamber full with growing fungi down here! If this stuff is edible, then there was a whole year-worth of fungi in here! I was partly mesmerized by the various sizes and amount of fungi, it was- a breathtakingly beautiful sight! I mean- Gosh golly! I've never seen anything like it!

"Raphie? Are you okay?" Don's panicky voice called out.

I grinned for what felt another umpteenth time, "Yeah, but you'd better come down here Don! It's really- really- I don't know, I can't put it in words!" I exclaimed, gazing at the chamber.

My flashlight now, redirected to the top of the ladder, Don yelped at the glare and growled again, and again, I sheepishly apologized. He grumbled something about me deliberately trying to turn him blind, and I just chuckled.

Once Don was down the last step and standing next to me, I grinned and took his flashlight, I turned them both off. At first he panicked, not wanting to stay in the dark without his night vision goggles, but then he froze.

The room was softly and gently illuminated in the soft, ever so faint glow of yellow, blue and green mushrooms, the fungi growing down here had a few crystals embedded into the body of a giant rock, and clearly, the fungi had somehow absorbed the crystals radiating energy, and you don't need a rocket scientist to know that these fungi would make a wonderful research project to your already genius brother.

"The deeper we dwell the more toys I find for you to play with." I teased, looking at him.

Don eyed me briefly before turning back to the sight of black room, illuminated by soft yellow, blue and green lamps, "It's- it's- !"

"Beautiful." I breathed out softly, offering a word, "Absolutely beautiful."

"Yeah…" he whispered softly.

I think we were partly stupefied at the sight. I mean- yeah, I'm not usually awestricken by anything but- seriously! This sight is amazing! I've never seen anything like it! It- the soft lights, the cold air, the smell of dirt, water and- and- something sweet and- I cant put my finger on it, but the scent is soft, calming, it smells really- nostalgic in a way, I cant explain it.

Like- catnip? Yeah, it pretty much felt like catnip.

Startlingly, I heard a sniffle, and I was snapped out of my trance.

I slowly turned my head and looked at Don, and even in the faint illuminate light, I can see him sniffling, his eyes all glassy and tears filling them to the brims, overflowing and trickling down his face.

"Donny?" I asked in worry, I wondered if maybe the smell was too strong, that it made him uncomfortable or something, "Are you okay? Why are you crying?" I hastily put a hand on his shoulder.

He laughed, joyously too, he moved his hands and rubbed his eyes with the balls of his balms, "I- uh, I'm just- overwhelmed, I guess," he sniffled, still smiling contently, a small chuckle emit from his throat, "Raph, thank you." he whispered.

I furrowed, confused, "For what?"

At that he laughed a little more, as if I'd just told a funny joke, "If- if you hadn't shown up when you did, to have encouraged me to keep looking, I think I would have just given up, to just- to missed discovering all this!" he extended his arms, gesturing to the glowing fungi filled room, "I- I would have missed all of this, the thrill! Heck! I would have been still stuck scrubbing Mike's chocolate stains off the truck's control panel!"

I gave his shoulder a small squeeze, "Hey, don't forget we've still got another tunnel to check, plus all them shafts in the wall!" I then moved my hand to grab him in a headlock and noogie his skull.

"Raph!" Donny gave a small childish squeal of laughter, before trying himself from my grasp, laughing contently, rubbing more tears away, "Gees, sometimes I just don't know if I can live with you, or without you!"

I chuckled, "Neither, trust me on this one."

He rubbed his remaining tears and looked at me with a soft, shy little smile; the soft green-blue glow of the fungi was enough to show how wet his eyes were, and though Don and I may not really be all that close, sometimes, I find myself in his shoes, and it makes understanding him a lot easier. Like now, with the smile and the stare and- I arched a brow, wondering why he was still looking at me so oddly like that.

He stepped closer, and before I knew it, his arms were wrapped around my neck in a tight hug, "Thank you." he murmured softly, nuzzling my neck, "You have no idea how much this means to me." he sniffled burying his face in my neck.

I was about to give a teasing, sarcastic comment when the rapid throbbing of his heart echoed in my chest, and somehow, whatever comment I wanted to say was instantly forgotten. I smiled and hugged back, nuzzling his head, "Don't mention it."

I don't know how long we stayed like that, but it was very- pleasant, I liked it. It felt really nice.

Once Don's heart stopped slamming violently against his plastron, and the throbbing stopped echoing in my chest, and though we were both comfortable in that position, he eased off me and embarrassedly looked away, probably expecting a sarcastic remark on how sappy it was, but all I did was shrug and give him a small pat on the shoulder, in which he silently appreciated.

No words were said, and we quietly watched the marvelous glowing chamber for a few more minutes, treasuring the memory, the view and the discovery. Soon, we made our way out of the small illuminated room.

Don went up first, and I followed close by, once we reached the top, I closed the hatchet cover and we shared a small, happy smile. It was a little moment that we shared, just the two of us, no one else, and somehow, that meant the world to me.

With no more words spoken, I saw that the elevator was back down and there was no way for us to reach the controls quickly, we have to go all the way around the tunnel on the left to get to it, but that will have to wait for another day.

Picking up my flashlight, Don and I in tow walked into the center tunnel, and half way through, I realized there was the sound of humming again. Don asked about it and I told him it was probably the elevator being used, we both wondered if it was either Leo or Mike, if not both, so I checked my shell cell for the time, and we discovered that we've been down here for a good two to three hours!

"It's my turn to cook today, right?" I questioned, already knowing the answer.

"Yeah, I think it is." He smiled softly, eyeing the seemingly endless tunnel.

I put a hand on his shoulder and guided him back towards the exit, "Guess this will have to wait till later, huh."

"Aww, do we have to?" he whined rather too childishly, "I really want to see what's behind door number two!" he smiled.

I chuckled and rubbed his head, almost as if ruffling hair, "Maybe next time, bro."

He pouts, and stretched out his arms, clasping them behind his head, "That's no fun."

"You get used to it." I shrugged, pointing my flashlight to where we're going.

He sent me an annoyed lopsided smile and then rolled his eyes, "Whatever."

I smirked wickedly at his position, watching him walk a little further in front of me, and carefully moved my hand swiftly to deliver a sharp smack to his tail, before hightailing out of his reach! Not disappointed, he jumped and yelped, grumbling and rubbing his offended rear end, he cried and swore revenge; after turning his flashlight on, he dashed after me in a mad rush.

I laughed like a maniac, and by the time I reached the ladder, I've made a mad run up the ringed ladder and half climbed using the ladder that, obviously, Donny had secured it into something in case one of the ladder's steps gave in on us while going up or down, and you have no idea how loud my voice sounded, echoing even louder in the tunnel.

Of course, you can not imagine my amusement when I popped my head out, I blinked bemusedly at the sight of Mike rattling his teeth and latching to a rather annoyed Leo, screaming about the scary bottomless tunnel, that some monster that ate me or Don and was torturing us, and Leo groaned and tried to push him off and out of his lap.

Unfortunately, I never got the chance to laugh or make a remark about how ridiculer Mike looked in Leo's lap, simply because a sudden painful pinch found it's way down my butt! All I could do was yelp with a chain of 'Ow ow ow!' and scuffle out of the opening, I rubbed my sore tingling spot and force myself not to kick Don in the face when he stepped out, because when I glared at him, he had the biggest evil grin on his face!

Well, as much as his eyes looked a little rimmed in red from his previous tears, I knew it wasn't clear enough for either Mike or Leo to notice, and to get back to him for pinching my ass, I tackled him to the floor, the two of us laughing all the way.

Once we were physically spent, drained and exhausted, we had the wind knocked out of us, sprawled on the floor, lost between childishly pinching each other's cheeks, and laughing!

God! I don't remember the last time I've laughed this hard.

'Raphie,' Don whispered softly, tiredly, sleepily, 'Thank you.'

Blinking tiredly as well, I smiled and poked his snout, 'Don't mention it… literally!'

He chuckled one more time before resting back, closing his eyes, collecting his breath.

I did the same, panting and staggering to get up, and only then realized just how exhausted I was!

Now that I think about it, Don and I have been up since late last night, and I've been awful insomniac all day, I think he was having trouble sleeping, too; so did he ever get any rest before now? I wondered to myself, and strained my sleepy senses to turn and glanced at Don through the corner of my eye, and with a smile, I saw he was already fast asleep.

"Raphie?" Mike curiously poked my plastron, "Dude, are you dead?"

I chuckled, mildly tickled with his poking, "I'm- fine."

I saw him glance up at Leo, pause and then look back down at me, "You sure?" he asked doubtfully.

I closed my eyes and held on to the wide smile, "It was great," I murmured tiredly, "you guys missed all the fun." I laughed again.

"Come again?" Leo questioned, "What was down there? Was it safe?" he asked worriedly.

I involuntarily laughed, "Oh, you have no idea." I sleepily commented.

I don't know when I finally drifted into deep slumber, but whenever it was, if felt really great. I think I slept for hours, and when I woke up, Donny was still sleeping next to me, and I realized we were in the infirmary.

Again, I laughed despite myself, poor, poor Leo! He probably thought there was something wrong with us, the worry wart, Hah!

Too sleepy and tired, I snuggled into the nice, warm bed sheets, looking at Don, I grinned.

'Sweet dream, bro.'

Sweet dreams.


A/N: Awful sappy? Sorry, just felt like writing this… and to be honest? I was going to let them explore the third tunnel, (I won't spoil what they find) but felt that then the story would be too darn long for a one shot! I could always go back and rewrite the thing, but I don't know, I'll think about it.