"So it's not like I meant to run into him. I just kinda did. And I was like, 'How are you?' and he was all, 'Grr, I can use you in my plans against the turtles,' except, well, not exactly—"

"Renet," Mikey pronounced the name deliberately, "make sense."

The Timestress shrugged. "There's not a lot about it that makes sense. Oroku Saki got his goons to tie me up and bring me back here, and omigod, I totally scuffed my elbow, and he told me if I didn't make a portal to your lair he would, like, do bad stuff. And I'm like, no way am I giving you guys away, but I don't think I really need to miss any classes 'cause I was getting tortured, so I thought, hey! I'll set it up so he can get in, but no one can get out!"

"And you make it actually lead to our lair?" growled Raph.

"Well, duh. I mean, like…well…now that you mention it, I probably shouldn't've. But anyway, when he went in, he grabbed me and pulled me in, too, like all of a sudden I was a hostage! I mean, that really freaked me out, and ugh, it was like, get a breath mint. I mean, that guy like never brushes his teeth or something. But anyways, we ended up stuck in there, and he is totally dull, by the way, he just kinda kept looking at me threateningly, it's like, dude, get some other facial expressions."

"And what was happening to Mikey?" Don asked before she continued that tangent.

"Well, the wormhole has, like, wormy things at the ends, and Mikey got caught in one. It happens when you stand in front of it too long. But now that you turned the whole thing inside out, it's all collapsed and stuff, and you don't have to worry about it anymore."

"And to us?" prompted Don, indicating the rest of his family.

"You went right in and got stuck."


"If we are here," Splinter murmured, eyes sliding about the room, "where is Oroku Saki?"

"I dunno, he like, disappeared at one point. Remember?"

"He's in the lair," Mikey said in sudden realization. "I—" All eyes turned to him. He swallowed. "I was trying to free you guys," he said apologetically. "I tried putting a chair leg in, and he grabbed on and came out. He…he said he'd wait there for…"

"Leonardo," Splinter whispered in restrained horror.

Don snatched his bo staff from his shell and twirled it in his hands. "Let's go."

Raph, Splinter, and Don raced for the window. Mikey grasped Renet's arm urgently. "Stay here," he said.

Renet blinked. "Oh, no!" she protested. "I'm not staying in The Harem while you guys do all the cool stuff!"

"Shut up and listen," Mikey hissed, growing more and more tired of this day, or whatever it had been. "You stay here, and you make the wormhole again. Make it exactly like you made the last one. No modifications. This may be our one chance to get rid of the Shredder for good."

They approached the lair swiftly but quietly. Michelangelo could hear sounds of conversation and a clash of weapons. Oh god, we can't be too late already. Splinter, ahead of the rest, reached the door and signaled for stillness and silence. The door was cracked open, and the rat peered through.

He didn't say what he saw, but he motioned for them to come closer. He held them with his eyes. Mikey hung back behind his brothers. They were armed. He was not. This meant something.

With a quick hand motion, Splinter signaled, and—


Through the door.

By the time Mikey cleared the door, all he could see was his brother Leonardo kneeling on the floor, head tilted far to one side, teeth gritted, with a long knife pointed at his carotid artery.

Behind him, Oroku Saki.

"Do not move," warned the Shredder.

The room was frozen.

"Drop your weapons."

They were dropped.

Mikey got the craziest idea.

The Shredder stood coolly over them all. "You five have been too much trouble for too long," he said softly, and his words could have laced the room with frost.

No time to think about how crazy it was. No time to ponder the end of his life. No time, because regardless of anything else, it would work. If he did it now.

"This is your last hour."


Mikey broke into a sprint, straight for the wormhole.

Saki did not lose an instant. His blade raked across Leo's throat. Mikey almost lost it, but this was all-important now. He broke past Saki and slid to his knees before the wormhole, just inches away, just seconds away…

He froze.

He knew behind him, one of his brothers was dead because he'd moved. This had better work. Renet had better have followed through, or…

Cold despair.

It wasn't working.

Leo was dead. And Saki was moving, probably killing the others, probably…


Tingling in his face, hands, feet.


But not too far.

Just far enough.

Blurring, no pain, floating like he was on a cloud, back, but not too far, just far enough.


And he rose to his feet, directly behind Oroku Saki, twenty seconds before.

"Do not move," warned the Shredder.

The room was frozen.

"Drop your weapons."

They were dropped.

And Michelangelo pitched forward two feet, seizing Saki from behind, jerking his knife hand upward, away from Leo's skin, and he tumbled backwards with him, their limbs in a tangle, until Mikey's shell his the floor and his legs flew up, pitching Saki backward. With a startled gasp, Saki crashed into the entrance of the wormhole, and disappeared.


Mikey shakily got to his feet and glanced upward. His vision blurred, then cleared, and he saw his family staring at him in pure shock.

Except for one.

The other Michelangelo bore a growing smile, a smile that said, "Cool!"

Mikey nodded to him.

Mikey nodded back.

And Mikey stepped back and dissipated into nothing.

Leonardo slid into a chair by Michelangelo at the kitchen table, placing a plate of reheated pizza in front of him. Mikey had been sitting at the table and staring into space for half an hour now, and this was the second time Leo had reheated his pizza for him. Don and Raph were distracting Renet with a video game and Splinter was putting in some long-needed meditation. Leo sat his elbow on the table and propped his cheek against the heel of his hand, watching his oddly solemn brother.

"Not hungry?" he asked softly.

Mikey shook his head. "Not really."

"What are you thinking about?"

Mikey smirked. "Me." He sighed and settled further into his slump, burying his face in his arms on the table. "The other me."

Leo clapped a hand to his shoulder. "Don't think about it too much. You did well."

"'Cept it wasn't me. It was him."

"He was you, Mikey."

"But I didn't do that. The whole heroic self-sacrifice thing—"

"That was you."

"All I did was think about it—"

"And you would have done it." Leo shook him gently. "Look at me."

Mikey turned his face to the side and met his brother's eyes.

"What he did, you did, as far as I'm concerned. It came from the same place. You got us all out of this, and that…" He smiled a little. "Mikey, that means you're everybody's hero. You realize you didn't have Don, you didn't have Master Splinter, you barely had Raph and me…"

"I got lucky."

Leo raised an eye ridge. "Like it or not, you're smart."

That got a single laugh from Mikey, and his eyes dropped.

Leo pulled him into a half-hug. "You're gonna be fine. You're the hero."

"Maybe," Mikey sighed, a smile toying with his lips. After a pause, he said, "You think we could talk about that monument now?"

Leo paused.


"Take it up with Sensei."

"How come? You're the oldest now."

"Am I?"

"Yeah, 'cause it's June now, and we were here last in May, so you're technically the oldest for real."

Leo paused again. "Seriously, Mike, I'm not touching that one."


"Not touching it."


Leo stood up. "I'm going to watch Renet give Raph tactical advise."

Mikey's eyes followed Leo to the living area and he settled back into his comfortable slump, with a lighter heart this time. It was good to have his family back and on his side. It was good to be alive. Awesome, even.

Very awesome.

Author's Notes: Thank you, all who have read this and reviewed. Thank you for your patience. This was a blast to work on, and I hope you enjoyed it! Remember to review!