Hi guys! It's that time of the year again; I've officially been an author on FanFiction for two years now!
So, here's my second anniversary fic! The first went over well enough- I hope you enjoy this one!
Oh, and I'm trying first person point of view in this one again. I tried to write it the other way, but it just didn't feel right.
Warning! Character death(s)! Do not read any further unless you have a box of tissues on hand! And I demand you put all explosives, blunt objects, or anything that can be used as a weapon away before coming after me.
Uh… please enjoy.
Italics are thoughts and flashbacks, which are written in the third person.
Disclaimer: Somewhere out there, there must be an alternate dimension where I do own the TMNT. But for now, I'm stuck in the one where they aren't mine.
Every time the doorknob turns, somebody dies.
It's something I've figured out in however long I've been here. It took too much time to realize it. Maybe if I'd figured it out sooner, back when all five of us were together, it would be different.
I hear steady footsteps, far, far away. I take a deep breath and my back straightens just a little, by habit, because I know that they'll eventually stop in front of the door. They've never gone anywhere else. Sometimes, the owner of the feet will slip food through the slit under the guarded entrance.
Other times, the doorknob turns, and they take someone away, only to bring them back later… just not the way you wished they would.
Don would've figured this out. He was always the smart one. His intelligence was a gift, one that in other people, I've seen turn into a curse. But it never was like that with him. My brother always did good. He was good.
I think that's why they killed him first.
His body is somewhere in this room. I often look at him, try to make out his features in the darkness, a hard knot of pain tightening just a little in my stomach every time I do.
"How long have we been here?" Mikey had asked, picking up the plate of food that had appeared. It seemed to be less and less each time.
Don shrugged. "I don't know," His voice was quiet; "The way they feed us is so sporadic, it's difficult to get an idea. If I had to guess, though, I think it'd be safe to say five weeks, at least."
Raphael punched a wall. "What the hell do they want with us? You think they'd have done something by now."
"For all we know, Raph, they are doing something." Leo responded.
It was just too strange. After all, why would someone bother to take them if they didn't have plans to do anything with them?
"As a wise master once said, my sons," Splinter began, "'Curiosity kills the cat.' I fear we shall find out the answer to this enigma soon enough."
It was as if that had been the cue they'd been waiting for.
An hour later, they'd heard footsteps coming down the hall. That was nothing special- every once in a while, someone came to provide some sort of food.
But they'd just given them food. They were lucky to get meals once a day, never twice in the same one.
His paranoia proved to be more than just a feeling. Instead of a meal slipped in to them, the doorknob had turned- a key unlocking it and the low squeak of metal rubbing against metal unmistakable, even there.
A long beam of light spread out into the cell, revealing their naked bodies. Whoever these people were, they'd taken everything off of them upon capturing them. Not even Master Splinter's robe had been spared.
So long had it been since they'd glimpsed any light other than that of the narrow slit under the door, this had practically blinded them.
Between spots in his vision, Leo had been able to make out a dark figure in a uniform. Nothing like any kind they'd seen before.
Clearly confident, the person, a man, judging by the way that he carried himself, walked in. Suddenly, Leo's wrist, wrapped in metal bands, struck together, as did the ones around his ankles. He was unable to separate them. It was the same story for the rest of his family.
Sure of his safety, the man moved amongst them, finally grabbing one turtle by the carapace.
"Donny!" Raph shouted out.
Amidst the screams- the threats and the questions, the man took Donatello away.
The entire time he was gone, they went unfed. The only food they had was the meager dish that had been brought in just before they'd taken their brother.
Despite the enclosing darkness, they slept little, vicious imaginings of what might be happening haunting every corner of their minds, spawned of an aptitude for wrongdoing that frightened them, for until now, none had known they'd possessed it.
The words exchanged between them were few and far between- no one knew what to say. 'It'll be all right' didn't appear to be a statement that was going to fit the situation this time.
Splinter had been meditating when it happened. After everything that had happened, they were exhausted with worry and hunger, but only he and Mikey just now seemed to be able to get some rest. Leo felt he would soon black out himself, if he continued on refusing what limited recuperation they were offered. Raph looked no better, but both had known that neither would be giving in until Don was back.
They hadn't had long to wait. And when their brother was returned, all thoughts of weariness were lost in shock.
Again, the footsteps. Again, their cuffs were bond together. Again, the bright light as the doorknob turned.
It didn't last as long as before- only a few seconds. There was barely time to see the two figures before the door was shut and darkness reclaimed its territory.
Raph had turned to him. "What was that?"
Leo shrugged, though he knew his brother wouldn't be able to see it. As his eyes readjusted, a still lump took shape on the floor. "Oh God, no…" The words were said in a breath that left his lungs longing for air.
Seeing it too, Raph was beside the form almost as quickly as Leonardo. "No, no, no, no, no…" He kept muttering, the word growing louder each time.
The eldest held the body in his arms, with Raph mere inches away, touching it in the same manner.
They'd grown up with this person, this gentle soul, now lifeless before him. Leo could tell it was Don by the feel of his skin, the smoothness of his shell. He could find no life in him- no breath, no heartbeat.
His cries turned into anguished screams, blending with Raph's into an unmusical, broken melody that stirred Mike and Splinter out of their reposes. It wasn't long before there voices were joined with the other two, mourning the loss of a brother; a son.
A dear friend.
The steps are taking longer to get here. They seem to drop slowly, one every minute.
I swallow reflexively. The loss of Donatello cut at my soul hard. I've never known such a sense of failure- one that, were you to go back to the fork in the road and stare at those paths, you could suddenly see why the one you hadn't chosen was so much more appealing then the one you traveled down on.
For I could find no fork this time; no second path. It had been a mistake, one which could not rest on any of our shoulders, not even mine.
Yet the sense of failure persists. With each death, it moved on.
After their deaths, it continues to move on.
Master Splinter was next. Like before, they brought food. Like before, they came once more than usual. And like before…
The doorknob turned. Their hands and ankles once more were magically welded together as they were blinded when the door was opened.
They knew what was happening then.
"No!" Raph shouted at one of their captors as he entered the room, a thin silhouette against the intense light filtering into the room. His profanity was colorful, and for a short time, it kept the person at bay.
But then he must've remembered that this snapping animal was unable to move an inch to harm him for he came closer. Leo would always remember that first time he'd felt the feel of his clothing against his skin.
Clothing was clothing, and it made no difference who wore it. It would always be nothing more than cloth; a covering for humans who'd be humiliated without it, as exposed as they were now.
But it sent shivers through his body like it were the blood of Satan himself.
This devil took the only one that had been to the eldest turtle's left. "Sensei- no!" Leo cried out.
"Master Splinter!" Mikey yelled. "Please, don't… don't take him-" He broke down crying, the death of their brother too fresh in his mind.
"I swear to God," Raph began, "you touch one hair on him-"
Though the captor did not respond, their Sensei did speak, his form somewhat visible as he was being taken towards the door. The rat wasn't as heavy as they were- there last few moments with him would be short.
"My sons," He said, wincing as he was moved. They were not being gentle with him. "It is better that I go than you. Know that you have made a father proud. So very proud."
And then he was yanked through the door. They didn't see him until his corpse was returned to them like Donatello's had been.
Not until the blood-sucking fairy left his body under their pillows for them to find in the middle of the night.
Hot tears sting my eyes, run down my face, but I don't even bother to wipe them away.
I remember, when I was small, I had nightmares. I never got out of my bed to see Splinter like my brothers, but somehow, he always knew. He'd come to me, and wait with me, until I fell asleep.
He's not here now. And this is the real nightmare. This is the one, were I that little kid again, I'd get up out of bed for.
But he won't be there.
The footsteps still echo- echoing towards this room, towards me. Almost cautiously. Why is it that in the face of doom, everything moves so slowly, yet you still have enough time to relive all of the most painful and tragic events you've faced thus far?
Why can't it just end?
"Why don't they take their bodies away?" Mikey asked through tears.
None of them really wanted their bodies taken away from them, but after sitting for so long among the two corpses, waking every morning to the smell of rotting flesh; how could you not wonder? If they were done studying them, then why didn't they let them go?
Raph snorted. "They even try, I'll take 'em apart," He said viciously.
Sighing, Leo shook his head. He knew that was next to impossible. These people, whoever they were, knew what they were doing. But why tell Raphael otherwise?
Besides, the same thoughts had gone through Leo's head at those words.
In the dark, it was hard to tell who was where. But the elder turtle knew Mike was by Donny. The youngest turtle sniffed. Sometimes, in the middle of the night, when they were all supposed to be sleeping, he heard Mike talk to Don and Splinter.
It broke his heart.
Simultaneously, they eased their bodies to the floor. Mike was asleep fast- there would be no chatting tonight. Leo had always been a light sleeper, however, and as such, he remained awake for awhile. He actually hadn't slept in days.
He could hear Raph breathing. They'd been fed today, so they were somewhat content. In body, at least. The soul would not be healed for a long while. The breath of his brother was pained in the same way his was- Raph was still awake and reflecting.
What else could they do in this prison?
His brother must've been aware that Leo was awake as well for he spoke. "I miss 'em," He said.
Leo nodded. It didn't matter that no one could see- the movement was natural. "Me too."
There was silence for a long time. Then Raph spoke again. "I had a dream last night."
"Yeah. It was a night like tonight."
"Every night in here is a night like tonight," Leo told him.
Raph chuckled. "Yeah. But I mean, what we were talkin' about. That déjà vu crap, or whatever."
As always, Leo looked up at the ceiling, trying to make something out. As always, he never did. "So… what happened?"
"… They came."
His words made Leo's blood run cold.
"They came, bro. They came for you." From the sounds, Leo could tell Raph had turned his head in his direction and had gotten up to his knees. "I ain't gonna let them."
Almost as if on cue, the footsteps came. Their cuffs locked together.
In a horrible position, Leo tried to roll over onto his stomach. "Raph, no!" He shouted. "If they're here for me than let them take me!"
Between the sudden movement of his limbs slamming together and the shouting, Michelangelo woke up. "Huh…? What's goin' on?"
The doorknob turned, and Leo bowed his head, avoiding the light. The next thing he knew, two men were in front of him, their hands on his shoulders, ready to drag him away.
Pushing himself forward, Raph head-butted one man in the knees, knocking him over. Leo had no idea how his brother had known he was there- his vision must've had cleared quickly.
Grunting as he went down, the man knocked over his companion in a domino effect. They got back to their feet, kicking him back, but Raph fought on fiercely.
"Knock it off, Raph!" Leo reprimanded him.
His brother spoke to the men, sounding as if he hadn't heard a word Leo had said. "C'mon, ya shitheads! I can keep this up all night! Ya ain't gettin' him- take me and I'll go quietly."
Wide awake now, Mikey also rolled over onto his plastron. "What? Wait- Raph! No, no, no," He mumbled over and over.
"You leave him alone!" Leo shouted. "You came for me, so take me. Leave my brothers."
The men looked at each other. "We'll never get him calm again."
They'd been talking about Raph.
Before he knew it, they had their hands on the young ninja, dragging him away as they had the family before him. True to his word, Raph went without a struggle.
Leo leapt forward but failed. He wasn't in position to fight. "Raph!" He and Mike cried out at the same time.
The turtle looked at him. "I told ya, bro. I wasn't about to sit by and let them take you." He looked at Mikey, who was crying. "Hey, take care of yourself, Mike. I love you guys."
It wasn't until he was gone that Leo could speak. It wasn't until then that he could say; "I love you, too."
Not that that mattered when, just as he'd expected but had been praying against, Raph was returned to them- as cold and dead as the doorknob itself.
There were so many fights I got into with Raph. But no one could ever understand all that he did for me. I don't even know half of the things myself. He was always loyal, and in the end, more in tune with himself than I've ever known him to be.
By my feet, I can still feel Raph's body. We kept them close, Mike and me. They provided no warmth, no comfort… but they were there. And we couldn't let them go.
God, I've smelled death before. It's never been as bad as this. Even with the accumulating mass of our urine and fecal matter. I still have no idea how long I've been here… but I don't think it should smell this bad. Not even rotting fish smells this bad.
I can't believe I'm saying that. They're my family. But sometimes, it's so bad, I nearly pass out. Maybe then I'd get some rest.
I haven't since they took Mikey from me.
Quietly, Michelangelo ate the sloppy mess with his fingers, passing the plate to Leo when he was done. They never knew quite what it was that they were eating. It was mushy and bland; unlike anything else they'd ever tried. But food was food.
Since Raphael's death, Leo had kept his last remaining brother close to him. Even when he slept, he kept Mikey as close as possible.
He'd finally started sleeping again, willing himself to, despite the circumstances, hoping for a sign that would get them out of this. Had he rested more before, maybe he would've received one and maybe Raph wouldn't have died.
None had come so far.
"What're we gonna do when we get out of here, Leo?" Mike asked him.
It was his favorite question. It kept him in high spirits. You didn't tell him 'get revenge'. You said something nice.
Leo thought about it. He wasn't that hungry. "Travel maybe. Go to Connecticut or Florida."
Mike leaned against him. "That sounds nice."
"Yeah. It does," Leo said to himself. It did sound nice. Especially in the sense that, even were they to get out of here, he was sure they'd never enjoy it.
That was a bit depressing.
Footsteps sounded so far away. Instantly alert, not bothering to wonder if he heard wrong, Leo sat straight up. "Mikey, turn around and press your shell against me."
Hearing the steps too, rigid, Mike did what he was told. Turning around, he sat with his shell against Leo's plastron. On his knees, the older turtle locked his hands across his brother's chest. Just in time, too- for the moment he did so, the cuffs locked.
He had no idea who they wanted. Probably him, since they had come for him last time. But in the case they'd changed their mind… they weren't getting his brother.
The sound of the key could be heard, unlocking the door. And then they could hear the doorknob turn. Two men entered- in front of them in seconds. Leo vaguely wondered if they were the same ones who'd taken Raph away. Did they send the same ones every time?
"Damn it," One cursed. "Which one's which?"
"They ain't that hard to tell apart," The other said. "And it doesn't matter. Just separate them and take one."
So they just picked them at random? They didn't even recognize what was special about them at all? They were just… guinea pigs?
Lab mice, running through a maze.
Soon, both were down beside them, auditing the situation. Leo's hopes had been that their shackles would temporarily be removed and, in that time period, maybe they could escape.
But no, that wasn't what they did. Instead, they each grabbed one of Leo's wrists with both their hands and shoved down. Biting his lip, he pulled his brother closer. "Please… no."
He tried fighting them… but so much time here in this prison had worn him down. They were very strong, and eventually, began to ease his hands down the curves of Mike's plastron. Seeing this, the younger turtle even puffed out his plastron. But that obstacle was also over come.
Getting his hands around his brother's legs was very difficult. It must've taken them an hour. But they were dedicated.
Leo broke down crying as his hands slipped beyond Mike's feet. "Please… don't take him from me."
He couldn't remember the last time he'd begged like that. Or the last time he'd been ignored like that.
Once that was done, one man pushed Leo away, fully separating them. They were both crying then. Leo wriggled around in his restraints, but one man hit him, sending him to the ground. He was disoriented.
They'd obviously decided on Mikey. They weren't around him anymore. Dizzy, Leo watched their silhouettes pull his brother to his feet. Michelangelo spit in their faces, but they did nothing but wipe the saliva away.
"Leo…" Mikey said, trying to dig his heels into the ground as they pulled him away. He let out a sob when they got him to the door. "I'll… I'll see you in Florida, okay, bro?"
Leo nodded, crying too. He couldn't even get up. "Yeah, Mikey. I'll see you there."
The door shut.
Rarely had Leonardo cried uncontrollably. The deaths of each of his family members were exceptions, of course.
But this time… this time, he wept like a baby. With the tears running down his face, he couldn't breathe. He knew he was alone now. He knew it was only a matter of time before his little brother was dead.
He knew that now he had truly failed.
The last remaining turtle didn't even move when they brought Mikey back to him- when they gently lay him down beside him. He cried, but he didn't move. He saw his baby brother's limp form.
His family was his hope. They were gone. There was no reason to hope.
I find Mikey's cold hand in the dark. It's not hard- I've barely moved. Waiting, I squeeze his fingers. Rigor mortis has come and gone; he's flexible again.
We were getting ice cream when it happened. Splinter had a chocolate sundae, Raph a vanilla milkshake, Don a mint chocolate chip cone and Mikey the same… but with fudge topping and sprinkles. I don't remember what I had.
I've debated, since I've been alone, if that was worth everything we went through. If, had we known, would we have gone.
If I can't remember what I had that day, than it wasn't even worth a damn paper cut.
Another thing I've figured out, and I wish I'd known it sooner; they only came on days they fed us. Every time. Had I known that, I might've been more careful. I don't know why they did that… I don't think they'll tell.
I sit here, waiting. I can still hear the footsteps. Why aren't they here? I'm ready to die.
I wonder if they'll drag my body back here. And just let us rot. I almost don't care- if they leave us be, leave me with them and don't take me away from my brothers and my father, I don't care anymore.
Just don't make me see how I failed them anymore.
Finally, the footsteps stop. The key… I can hear it.
The doorknob turns. Somebody's going to die.
I bow my head as the door opens, the light spilling over my nude form and those of the deceased in the room.
I say nothing. Just wait for it.
But… something's wrong. Always before, the cuffs have locked. I look at my wrists, separated and movable. Do they realize I'm not a threat?
Then I hear her.
"Oh my god…"
"…April?" I ask, slowly lifting my head.
"Leo?" She asks, voice unmistakable, light filtering through her red hair. She rushes in to me, careful of the corpses. "Oh, Leo…" She whispers, wiping tears from my face. I can see a few falling from here eyes as well. "It's okay, now. I've come to take you all home. It's all going to be okay."
Letting out one sob, I let my head sink into her shoulder. Doesn't she understand? "They're all dead, April. Look at them. They're gone…"
"Shh…" She soothes, patting my shell. "Leo… you don't understand. It's all going to be all right, really, it is. Trust me."
"…I just wanna die."
"Shh… You'll understand later. Now come with me. There isn't much time. Casey will get the others."
Half-heartedly, I manage to get to my feet. I don't feel good- in fact, I want to throw up. Patting my shell, April guides me to the door. The light in the hallway nearly blinds me but I put one foot in front of the other, all the while trying to remember what the way to hell looks like.
Soon, I'm in April's van. It's just the same as it's always looked. She sits me in and hands me a blanket. I notice she's wearing dark clothing… and her hair's down, instead of up, like usual.
"It's okay," She assures me once more, eyes never leaving mine. "Now stay here. I'll be right back."
I make no move as she leaves. Not even when she and Casey come back, gently loading the bodies of my family into the van. As Casey climbs into the driver's seat, he grins, but it's a sad one. "Hey, Leo. Long time no see."
Nodding, I tuck my head down into the blanket and look out the window. It's nighttime. Casey drives fast… eventually, the route finally becomes familiar. We're going to April's place.
There's a bank on the way there that always displays the date. In bright letters, it says SEPTEMBER 25, 2007.
We were in that place for five months.
The van arrives around the back and April and Casey carry my brothers and Sensei one by one upstairs. I stay inside. When Raph is in her apartment, they both come out for me.
"Leo?" Casey asks cautiously. "You comin' out?"
I stare into space. They're not with me, but that smell… it just won't leave. And everything's so bright. My head hurts… I just want to sit still.
April gently touches my shoulder. "Leo, let's go inside. Come on. It's all right," She urges.
Very slowly, I bend to their will and climb out of the van. I often lose my balance, but Casey helps me upstairs, where I'm guided to the couch.
There, April wraps another blanket around me. "Just sleep, Leo. It's all okay now." Sitting beside me, she strokes my forehead.
"Unn…" I mumble, trying to speak. I end up crying again. "No… They're gone. They're gone…"
She continues to stroke my forehead. "They're not, Leo."
"I saw them die."
Sighing, she just goes on. "You'll understand later. It'll be awhile, but you will. Just trust me." Placing her hands down, she takes out something that looks like a white baby carrot. "Here, can you eat this?"
After several seconds, I finally take it into my hands and bite out of it. It's just as bland as the stuff I've lived on for the past five months. But I eat it all. When you're starving, you're not picky.
I close my eyes… so tired. As thankful as I am to April and Casey, life will never be the same. I'd have been better off dead. Why can't she understand that?
April takes my hand. "You'll feel better tomorrow," She says, voice fading out. "And it will all be okay."
Maybe it will… maybe it won't. But right now, I still wish I'd gone; suffered as my family suffered.
But even more so, I wish the people who did this to us were dead.
I stay with Leo just a little after he falls asleep, but not for too long. There's many things to be taken care of. I give his hand a pat and tuck the blanket I gave him tighter around him. After the place he's lived in for the past five months, he could use the warmth.
Getting to my feet, I turn to Casey. We brought in the guys and Master Splinter here as well, but allowed Leo the couch. I honestly don't think the others will mind. It'll probably be awhile before they're even up.
They're still all right. Nodding to Casey, I go into the kitchen and take out four more of the white carrot-like things I'd given to Leo. Setting those aside, I take out four purple ones.
Finding my blender, I put them in one at a time until each is more like a thin paste in its own separate cup. I take these to Casey and together, holding up our friends' heads, careful so they don't choke, we pour the paste down their throats.
This is the antidote. It took us a week to find out the guys had been taken, then three more months to figure out where to. We tried getting in… but the facility was highly guarded. And they weren't pleasant.
Casey and I spent the rest of our time trying to figure out what they were doing and planning how to get our friends out. It took time- far more than we wished.
The worse thing is… we still don't quite know who these people are. All we found is the name of the facility- nothing else. We had to pay a guy from the inside to tell us where they were, and how to get in and out.
The name Omega. That's all we have.
One thing I did find out when we went in tonight- the guys were being used for test subjects. New ones, it seemed, and only two. The first was a powerful hallucinogen slipped into their food. It seemed they were trying to get a more controlled effect- to make it positively believable. Things like smells and lights even were hallucinated- or exaggerated, really.
I gave Leo the antidote to that already. These people had antidotes for all of their drugs it seemed. Probably in the case that one of their staff somehow got it into their system.
The other drug was tested on them one at a time. Casey found the file on it. It puts the subject into a coma for months at a time, all the while developing nutrients within to sustain the host, but also a virus to kill it. And then, at four months, the virus is unleashed and the subject dead in two hours.
We got the guys just in time. Donatello only had a week left.
I finish pouring the paste into Mikey's mouth and sit back, massaging my skull. "no one saw you, right?" I ask Casey tiredly.
"Nah. And you took out the cameras, right?"
I nod. "God, that's a miracle if I ever saw one."
He looks at me with a small grin. "Don't worry about it, babe. We did good tonight."
I smile back. "Yeah," The look fades. "But it's not over yet."
An hour later, we give them the antidote to the hallucinogen. I had to find out from the little information we'd gathered that told us when each of our friends were subjected to the virus. Because of the nutrients that developed inside them, they didn't need any food- thus no more drugs.
For this reason, Leo got all of the first stick of the antidote, while I gave smaller measures to the others to fit the dosages of the drug they received. The antidote, which, like the hallucinogen, must be taken orally, can also make the host sick.
Once this is done, I hear Leo stirring about. I walk over to him and crouch down, listening as he mumbles things in his sleep.
His eyes open in slits, and he looks at me. "Are they here to kill me?"
I shake my head. It'll take a while, unfortunately for the antidote to fully kick in. "No, Leo. You never have to see them again."
"…They killed my brothers… and Master Splinter-"
"No," I try to explain to him again. "They made them sick. You too. It's going to be okay soon. Just wait- you'll see."
He looks at me sadly. What Leo thinks he saw must undeniable in his mind right now for I see such a crushed soul and disbelief there. Shaking his head, he closes his eyes.
A single tear running down my cheek, I pat his hand again and leave him be.
The ceiling looks familiar. It takes me awhile to place it, for I haven't seen much besides darkness in a while. In fact, it's pretty damn bright. Not blindingly so, but still.
"April's apartment?" I come to realize where I am out loud. Painfully I sit up. To my right, I see Casey and April, dozing against each other.
Closer to my left is Mikey, and in front of me are Splinter and Don, my brother getting up as well.
And that's when it all comes back to me.
That room, that smell, Don and Splinter being taken away from us, then brought back dead…
I back against the wall and the sounds wakes up April, Casey, and Mikey- and to my shock, Splinter too.
"No way," I mutter, looking at them in disbelief. "This can't be real. You two were dead," I say, pointing at them.
But I'm not done. There's more to my memories.
Me, going away with those assholes next- to protect Leo. And those scientists, their probes, that nasty thing they made me eat.
And all the pain that followed when I did so. Like burning from the inside out while drowning.
I think I died too.
I glance down at my hands. I feel too alive to be dead.
Mikey's looking at all of us with wide eyes. "You were dead…" He whispers, "I remember."
Confused, Don looks at us. "What are you guys talking about? You all look alive to me. The only thing I remember was being taken away… and forced to eat this horrible thing." He shook his head. "There must've been something in it."
April chose to speak then. "There was. It was a form of virus. And the food you were given in your cell was a hallucinogen- that's why you think that, Raph. They were brought back, but not dead."
We all looked at her confused.
She smiles. "You'll understand later. It's a lot to take in. I'll explain it later- the antidote is still doing its job and"
Splinter sat up. "So I take it that we have you and Mr. Jones to thank for our rescue?"
Casey grinned. "Yep." Seeing a look from the redhead, he finished, "And no thanks needed."
And then I realize something. Taking a body count, I realize that someone's not here.
Mikey gets to it before me. "Where's Leo?"
April crosses her legs. "I let him sleep on the couch."
Craning his neck, Don looks back at us. "No he isn't," He says slowly.
Turning their heads around, they see this is in fact true. Immediately, they're up on their feet, faster than us. So much for being a ninja.
"Where is he?" Mike asks.
April comes back from the bathroom. "He's not in there, or my bedroom. But he was there- the people who took you threw your weapons in the dumpster instead of taking them with you. We found them and I was keeping them in my room."
"Let me guess," I say, "The katanas are gone?"
"Guys!" Casey shouts from downstairs.
We follow his voice. I'm breathing heavily by the time we're down there- guess we haven't worked out in a while. I wonder exactly how long.
When we get to Casey, I see the problem.
The backdoor is open, letting in the rain from outside.
My katanas scrape against concrete as I walk in the alleyways- sometimes across rooftops. My sheathes were taken from me, as were my belt, so I have no choice but to carry them in my hands.
I stare onwards, mouth set, determined as I haven't been in ages.
Back in the van, I not only memorized the path to hell, I recalled the route we'd taken to escape from it and to the solace of April's home. It's forever engraved inside me, and I've decided to put I to use.
Eventually, I find it. The facility had only one word emblazoned on its side: OMEGA. It means nothing to me.
Neither do the men outside. They shoot at me, but in the end, they're the ones dead.
Soon, I'm inside the building, retracing my steps. As I come to the hallway that led to the cell my family died in, I can hear people on the other side, talking. Two of their voices are familiar- the ones who took my brothers away.
Holding both of my katanas together in one hand, I plan my strike.
In the palm of my hand, the doorknob turns. Somebody's going to die.
All done! Wahoo! So what did you think?
Man, I gotta write a one-shot where Leo doesn't die one of these days. I will.
Oh, I gotta go. I'm taking care of this real sweet electronic baby (my son!) for my parent/child development class, and he's crying again.
So please review!