A/N: Please enjoy!


This was a horrible idea.

Raphael carefully lowered himself onto the slimy filthy brickwork of the ledge without a second thought. It was disgusting, yes... tainted and deserving of not only no contact, but immediate destruction too. Much like the nearly-condemmed tenement that was beneath it. So of course he liked it, it suited him. The same way the bruised-orange sky and the desperate screams of distant sirens reflected what he was so much better than any mere mirror could.

He had told that startled and terribly ernest kid several days ago now that he could be found up on this very rooftop if someone wished to find him. Hell, he even listed a date and a very specific range of time. He did this even as the child-- What was her name? Shadow? He idly wondered how in the world Casey had managed to convince April to go with that name. Heck, where did all that blond hair come from, come to think of it?

His mind was wandering again. He shook his head and tried to keep his hands from shaking. It wouldn't be good if they saw it. It wasn't how he wanted it--

Raph shook his head again, this time enough force to nearly make himself ill, and quickly cleared his mind with ease that took ten years of practice and and no small amount of heavy drinking. Then, carefully, he crept his mental way back to where he last left his train of thought idling and smoking. Yeah, even as that Shadow kid had looked at him like he was the second freakin' coming of Christ or something and he promised to be here-- just out of curiosity, mind you-- he had been planning to not show up. The mere thought of it--

It had been ten years.

That was a very long time, even when your last words with your family didn't include screaming, insults, rejection, and the promise-- deep in your heart-- to never face them again. Hell, he wasn't even going to look at this damn city on a map-- if it wasn't for that criminal asshole and his city-hopping-- well, it would have worked too. He had just come here to catch the jerk and stop him once and for all. That's what he did, that's what he had been doing for most of these past few years. He didn't come back here to open a can of worms and then stick his face in it and breathe in deeply. He was going to catch the guy at long last and then book it.

...So why was he here?


The little girl-- didn't look much older than eight, a dark blue backpack decorated with white-out doodles dangling limply off one shoulder as she walked down the street-- caught his eye as he jumped roof to roof. He didn't have a good lead on his guy just yet, and was patroling the city just in case. He knew his man, knew he wouldn't come up here and stay silent and good. Creeps like him never did, and their bosses most definately would not allow it anyways.

It was nearing twilight now, and that was his perfect time to strike... that strange interlude between dangerous night and cheerful day.

Apparently it was a couple of sickos' favorite time to play as well, which Raphael noticed as the child down on the street suddenly let out a startled scream, throwing her bag at them and attempting, a terrified look on her young face, to move away from her attackers. Distantly, he noticed that rather than just -run- in utter panic, like a normal kid would have done, she kept herself in something of a ready stance, the corner of her eye on the two men behind her.

Not that it helped her much, they had about 150 pounds apiece on the blonde elementary schooler, and seemed ready to use that fact to their violent advantage, so Raph used his own advantage-- his two fists right under their chins. There was a satisfying cracking noise, and then-- boom-- two more assholes that weren't going to be chasing anyone's dear little daughters around. Raph had smiled grimly then, satisified with a job well done and ready to get back on his rounds. He didn't like being on the streets, made him nervous. Especially in this town, the one he left so long ago.

"T-- turtle..." the kid was staring him, mouth slightly open and blue eyes wider than dinner plates. Shit, how had she noticed? He had a pretty good disguise on, you had to look very carefully to even begin to notice something was... unusual... with him.

Plus, yeah, The last thing he had wanted was the wrong kind of attention. That sort of thing had worried him throughout most of his life, ever since he discovered what a freak he was and how interested in freaks the humans were. For that way layed horrible experiments, operating tables, and scientists. The stuff Mikey used to see on his old Sci Fi movies and freak out about. As for now...

Well, the last thing he wanted after the last thing he wanted was for -them- to find him. Not now, not after years of hiding and carefulness and so much suffering...

Luck, however, wasn't on his side.

Startingly, a slow smile spread upon the newly-rescued's face, in spite of the fact that a mere moment ago she was shouting and running for her life. Despite the fact that apparently she had figured out her savior wasn't human too, come to think of it. Instead the kid's smile widened even further, a look of pure surprise-- and delight-- seeping onto her face. "You... you're -him- aren't you? The one who's been gone?" She stepped forward, a tiny hand reaching out...

Raphael, however, was taking a step back and preparing to leap back onto the nice quiet child-free roofways while he was at it. He didn't know what was up with this kid, but he wasn't exactly ready to start up a conversation about whatever bug just crawled up her non-existant skirt. He'd make sure she'd get to the nearest police-station a soon as possible, away from the creepos, and that was it.

"Are you 'Raphael'? My name is Shadow... Shadow Jones. I think you know my Daddy..."

And with that, his world once more spun around with dizzing vertigo-- crashing into his life like a semi-truck on it's merry freaking way. It was like that sometimes. Well, most the time. And somehow, despite every nerve screaming at him to run the hell away and save himself from what would inevitably be some more pain... he stopped, and turned around to face her.


He should run. This was such a mistake...

It wasn't that he was scared that they were still mad and severely disapointed with him-- not that he blamed them, of course-- it was more than that. A lot more. Them being pissed about what had happened before he left... or his long absence... he could deal with those. Eventually. Somehow.

...What he dreaded was them not being mad. Tears, joy, forgiveness-- he craved those things more than anything else in the world and they scared him shitless too. For those things... those would mean that he just wasted a decade of his life. That he had spent that time utterly alone, suffering and without his family for no damn good reason.

He was still such a coward.

Then he heard the faint noise behind him-- after years of living and fighting by himself in that distant city, he had gotten sharp-- damn sharp, like a razor's edge-- the kind that would probably still give you a nasty infection if you touched it despite it's apparent clean state.

Thus, even before he saw the movement out of the corner of his eye-- that disturbingly familiar glimpse of green, brown, blue, and gleaming silver-- Raph knew he was here. Before the rooftop vibrated ever so slightly, he heard the faint whoosh of displaced air and the faint chime of rattling metal and knew that not only did he have his expected and dreaded visitor, but that he knew exactly who it was too. Some things, it seemed, couldn't be forgotten after so long, even when you tried really really hard.

The figure warily settled next to him on the dark ledge, sitting down the same as Raphel was. Nothing was said-- what could be said, after so many years? But Raph found himself turning all the same-- his heart in his throat and dancing that stupid line dance he saw on a shop window TV just before he left the city he was in before-- to face his oldest brother.