"Enter the Black Ghost"

By Donny's Boy

Disclaimer: I own neither the characters nor the plot relating to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and I am making no money from this story. I mean no harm.

Warnings: Mature language, violence (no blood or gore, however), and depictions and themes surrounding the issue of euthanasia.

Prologue

It happened ten years ago.

The air in the room was hot and still. Stifling, really. It was the middle of summer, and the asphalt above held the sun's heat like an oven. Even though he was sweating, great big drops of perspiration dripping down his arms, Donatello felt cold.

He sat down in the plain wood chair next to the bed. He reached out and, with his large green hand, covered his master's small frail paw. Don looked down and felt like a giant ogre, seeing their hands in contrast.

"It's time," he told Splinter, though he knew the old rat couldn't hear. The ninja master hadn't heard anything for a while now. They got liquids down his throat, they cleaned out his bedpan, and they talked to him near constantly. But through it all, he remained as motionless and unresponsive as the first day of his unconsciousness.

Standing up again, Don stretched his stiff limbs. He glanced at the clock on the bedside table and sighed. He only had ten more minutes before his brothers came back from topside. No more time to put it off. If it was going to be done, it had to be now.

Don fetched a small box he'd brought into Splinter's bedroom. He opened it and took out a syringe. Grimly he smiled, remembering how hard it had been to get hold of such a medical luxury. It had been years ago, and he'd hidden it away for a time of absolute need. But he'd never thought he'd be using it for this.

Next from the box he removed a small vial. He held it up to the candlelight, and the liquid inside the bottle glowed. He plunged in the syringe and filled it, carefully tapping out the air bubbles.

When he reached Splinter's side, he knelt reverently and bowed his head. Then he looked up, at the calm face of his father, who looked peacefully asleep, and he began trembling. He shook so hard, he had to set down the syringe for fear of dropping it. Deep breaths. In, and out. In, and out. He couldn't afford to hyperventilate. He had to control himself.

"You know why I'm doing this, don't you?" he asked Splinter, almost expecting a response. He pushed back the rat's sleeve to reveal a thin arm covered in patchy fur. "I have to, Sensei. I know you don't want to live like this. And we're so low on food right now, and … " No. No more excuses.

He picked the syringe back up and gripped it tightly, knuckles white.

"I love you, Father."

He gently, tenderly, slipped the needle in. As soon as it was in, his hands stopped shaking. He felt oddly calm as he injected poison into his master's withered veins.

"Donny? What're you doing?"

Damn. He'd taken too long. They were back.