A/N: Er well apologies for the long update wait, I got hit with a hefty dose of real life in the past week or so. Plus this chapter gave me unexpected issues. Again with the language and violence warnings.
I don't own any of the following characters etc.
Raphael had limited vision in the darkness, and the swirling snow was stinging his eyes and face, but he was loathe to get up and leave Donatello alone in his icy puddle. So he made do with simply staggering to his feet, letting his brother rest against his legs, and squinting at his surroundings in earnest.
There simply was no cover. There were the trees, but he knew they wouldn't offer much protection from the wind or the cold. He'd been hoping to spot a cave in the rock ledge nearby, but he could see nothing but a sheer rock wall on their level, and he was hardly going to risk scaling the cliff beyond the Battle shell.
Which left… the Battle shell. He deflated a little, knowing that holding up in there was not going to keep them warm in the slightest; not with the gaping hole in the side, and metal interior.
He sighed. At least it was more or less dry in there. Maybe Don had stashed some form of cloth in there that he could use to block the wind. He looked down at his brother, flagging and limp against him.
"Guess that's that then, huh Donnie?"
Don just shivered and tilted his head, gazing up drowsily.
Raph smiled weakly down at him, growing more concerned by the minute. It was beyond strange for Don to be so inattentive and groggy, and he had to fight down a brief spell of panic.
Cut it out, he growled internally. Get a grip, and try and be helpful for a change.
"We're gonna head back to the Battle shell," he explained, raising his voice to carry over the gusty wind. "Short of abseiling down the cliff and curling up in the ashes of that other car, it's the warmest option. Unless you got any ideas?"
Don closed his eyes, taking a few moments to process the words, before nodding slightly.
Raph swallowed and crouched down, taking a gentle hold of his brother and lifting him cautiously to his feet.
"Up we go."
Don staggered almost instantly and Raph caught him, tugging him against his plastron and holding him up. Donatello reached out instinctively for him, and groaned softly, sounding frustrated at his inability to support himself. Raph chuckled softly, holding him close for a few moments; hating the way he shivered beneath his grip.
"You ain't invincible bro, you just got tossed outta a movin' vehicle. Give it some time, ay? Jeez I'm sounding just like you or Leo. C'mon, I'll help."
Inch by inch they moved back to the Battle shell; at least a dozen times Don stumbled and clutched at his head, and Raph very nearly gave in and carried him there bodily, but he had the idea that activity was probably what his brother needed there and then. Raph was more than half supporting him anyway, but what motion he was managing was probably helping to get his blood flowing.
"Legs feel okay?" he asked presently, pausing momentarily about half way there, letting Donatello catch his breath. Don shook his head, breathing raggedly out of both cold and pain.
"Can't f-feel 'em at all," he mumbled, and Raph smirked grimly.
"Well I guess at least they don't hurt."
He let Don rest his full weight against him for a long moment; holding him up as he peered around in a last ditch attempt to locate some real shelter. Or a payphone, or a box of matches. Realizing he was clutching at straws he sighed, making a mental note to listen next time Splinter lectured them all on being prepared. Save anything they could salvage from the ruins of the Battle shell, they had nothing to utilize to create fire, or chase away hypothermia, or even call for help.
"Shell cell," he muttered, brightening hopefully. Don shifted, humming faintly in question. "There's a Shell cell in there somewhere. Remember? Mikey kept ringing Leo on the way up here to piss him off, and Leo stashed it under your seat. Man, if it's still there, I'm gonna give Mikey a hug the next time he's an annoying pain in the ass. Shouldn't be a long wait. C'mon, let's get you in there."
"… Yours," croaked Don, inhaling weakly as Raph gently pushed him back into motion. He shook his head, silently berating himself for being so careless. Donatello had simply left his back at the cabin. The whole purpose of the week away after all had been to relax and recuperate after a long few months of fighting and tension and fear. The very last thing any of them wanted, and in fact it had been the first thing on the list of banned items, was a ringing cell phone. They had of course bought them along in case Splinter or the April/Casey household needed them urgently, but they had no other intention of using them.
Except for Mikey, who liked to have as many forms of being an irritation to work with as possible.
Raphael had even tucked his into his belt when getting into the vehicle with Don; not expecting to need it whilst gathering firewood, but deciding to err on the side of caution while it was snowing and at times storming out. Still, upon wakening, he'd discovered soon enough that keeping it on his body hadn't been a wonderful idea. It had been smashed against the metal interior during the crash, and discarded with little thought whilst he searched for his brother.
But he supposed there was a chance that Mikey's one survived the crash. Don had built them to be fairly sturdy, and Leo had stuffed it into the fabric fairly securely, trying to muffle the noise.
"Mine met with an accident. If Mikey's is still there, do you wanna call Leo, or should I," asked Raph aloud, watching Don's reaction time unhappily. Too slow. His brother blinked at him, eventually mustering up a soft laugh.
Raphael decided to worry about dealing with Leo when and if the time came, and shouldered more of Don's weight; coming finally to the wreckage. His adjusted eyes now took in the damage to the exterior of the Battle shell; the armored side was torn and bent irreversibly; scorch marks covering the metal and drawing attention to the fragments of steel that had simply melted into the paint.
Don stumbled against him again, and he tugged him up, trying to ignore the fear tightening in his gut. Don would be fine, he always was.
Reaching the gaping hole that was now the entrance point he swept an arm across the cluttered floor before him, clearing a space, and lifted Don quickly; choosing to simply not give him the option of protesting. His brother gave a weak utterance of surprise but by then he was already airborne, before he was carefully set down by the mangled driver's seat.
He curled against the torn fabric promptly, hugging his good arm to his chest. Raph winced, glancing at the obviously broken appendage, but wasn't prepared to attempt to help that quite yet. He stepped up and pulled himself into the Battle shell, dropping down heavily at his brother's side.
"Okay," he panted, hugging his arms to his own chest. "That's that. Now to start feeling warm."
"Luck of the Turtles," Raph muttered darkly.
He heard Don chuckle distractedly, though the sound was muffled by the screeching of tires and scattered blasts of gunfire. Whoever these guys were, they were prepared, and they were angry. What they were doing in the mountains was anybody's guess, but Raph was starting to think that his family had picked a bad time to spend a quiet week away in the cabin.
"You sure this'll be enough to put a stop to them?" he ground out, grunting as the Battle shell swerved sharply and he slammed into the wall.
"It's enough to put a stop to a tank," assured Don from the driver's seat, eyes glued to the road ahead. "You sure you really want to blast them into smithereens though?"
Raph nodded, glaring at the control panel above his head that he had been trying to power up for the last two chaos packed minutes.
"They attacked us first, and I get the idea they ain't just gonna slow to speed limit once they hit the highway. 'Sides, you saw what they had in that truck of theres, and there's only so much they can blow up here in the middle o' nowhere, even with all that fire power. They're headed back to the city, mark my words, and fuck, Donnie, does this thing have any functions other than beeping and flashing red lights at me?"
"I told you you should drive," reminded Don, muttering under his breath as a bullet bounced off the (thankfully) thick glass windscreen, aimed directly at his head. "Raph-"
"Just keep up with 'em, you've said bullets can't hurt us here."
"I know, but all those explosives will, if we're too close when you hit them. When the light goes green, tell me before you activate the missiles."
"Yeah, one day when it turns green I'll be sure to let you know," he grumbled, struggling against the inclination to put his fist through the panel. For all Don's genius, he was yet to perfect the concept of simplicity. Where oh where was the big shiny red button that universally meant 'goes boom'?
His brother swore unexpectedly as the vehicle gave yet another upsetting lurch, and Raph clutched at the closest seat, nearly thrown from his feet.
"Jesus, Don, let's go back, I think you missed a snow bank," he growled, thumping his shoulder against a storage container with an audible thump. "How do you expect me to get this thing up 'n running if you don't…"
Donatello cleared his throat suddenly and Raph paused, glancing down at his brother quizzically and tightening his grip on the seat as they swerved.
"I don't want to alarm you, but…"
Don inclined his head and Raph followed his gaze; hissing through his teeth as he finally realized what the reason for the reckless driving had been. The wide doors to the rear of the truck had been thrown open, and he could make out the forms of several men; steadying what looked like one hell of a missile launcher, aimed right at the Battleshell.
With a deafening blast the world slowed to a sickening crawl. He launched himself towards his brother, already tugging desperately at the wheel, but they both realized at around the same instant that it was too late for evasive action by now. He heard their own missile panel beep happily at them, the rumble of machinery whirring above his head, his brother's startled intake of breath.