Author Note: And here it is, the epilogue. Hope you have enjoyed reading this tale and thank you for being understanding of my occasionally infrequent updating! Also, thanks to everyone who left their reviews and let me know how they felt abou the fic, both here and on SS. There may well be a sequel to this tale too (I never intended for it to become a series, it just seems to have turned out that way!) but won't be up until about Christmas. Enjoy!
Leonardo and Donatello were almost back at the lair when Michelangelo awoke. He stirred groggily and Leo set him on his feet, supporting him until he came to fully.
"Ug..." Mikey rubbed his eyes and tried to regain his bearings. "What the hell happened?"
"Sleep dart," said Leo in what he hoped was a calming voice. "Karai got the drop on you somehow."
"Karai..." Mikey opened his eyes wide and whipped his head around wildly, seeing Donnie on one side but missing someone else. "Where's Raph? And Splinter?"
Leo lowered his head. "We don't know. When we got to the helipad, you were the only one there. Did you see them before you got knocked out?"
"I – no, I don't think so. I didn't even get to the bottom of the rope. I was nearly there, then nothing." Mikey stopped leaning on Leo and scowled. "Didn't you try looking for them?"
"We were in no shape to fight any of the Foot," pointed out Donnie. "And there were police everywhere. The copter was gone. Seems like Karai took them in the copter."
"She took them?"
"We think so."
"So they were alive?"
"Um..." Don shrugged helplessly. "There's no way we can know that."
Mikey clenched his fists. "That bitch. That evil fucking bitch!"
Leo rested a hand on his shoulder. "We'll find them Mikey."
Mikey turned to give Leo a contemptuous look. "How?"
Leo shook his head. He had no answer.
Mikey stalked on ahead, entering the lair before the other turtles. Leo and Don exchanged glances before following.
April was on her feet the moment Mikey entered, racing across the lair to him. "What happened?We lost contact, you didn't get back in touch – we were afraid."
Mikey ignored her, going directly to his own room and shutting himself off from the rest of the lair.
Donnie and Leo entered the lair and April turned to them, a frown creasing her face. Casey hovered in the background, looking unusually worried. "What's happening? What – wait. Where's Raph and Splinter?"
Donnie shook his head. "We don't know."
Leo left Don to explain, walking away from the humans and further into the lair, deep in thought. Raph was gone. Splinter was gone. And he had no idea where, no way to track them down. He didn't even know if they were alive or dead.
He had failed.
They had defeated the Shredder, but it was a pyrrhic victory. Hollow. Leo had anticipated the five of them finally free of the Shredder's tyranny. Instead, they had lost their brother. Not to mention the rat who had given up everything for them, perhaps even ultimately his life, who had united them as a family.
Mikey had shut himself away from them. Again. It was as if the time at the farmhouse hadn't happened, like Mikey had been when they had first left the Foot. Maybe all he needed was time to recover, come to terms with what had had happened.
But Leo had seen the look in his eyes. He didn't think so.
And he couldn't speak to Donnie. He could see the grief that the turtle was feeling and couldn't help feeling responsible. Like it was all his fault. He had led them to the skyscraper, conceived the entire plan. It was because of him that they had needed revenge in the first place, because the Foot had injured him, beaten him nearly half to death.
It had taken Mikey's imprisonment at the hands of the Shredder to force his brothers to trust him. They'd had no choice.
Obviously, they had been wrong to do so.
Leo's shoulders sagged and he put his head in his hands. He had let this happen. It was all his fault. He hadn't been able to protect his brother and because of that, he had no idea if he was even alive.
I swear to you Raph, I'll make Karai pay for what she's done, he thought to himself.
He was going to spend every moment he had from now on searching for her. He would find Raphael and Splinter, no matter what it took. And protect the rest of his family, no matter what. He would not fail again. He couldn't.
And he would exact revenge for them on Karai.
If it's the last thing I do, you WILL pay.