A/N - Thank you all for reading this story. I found it a thrill to write and am quite pleased with the reviews that people gave and what they thought of my portrayals. The idea was to see the four of them as cold and monstrous, but still leave that hint of humanity in them, despite them not being, well, human. I hope I portrayed that well enough.
To answer a couple questions from reviews, what makes this a parody is that the format of the writing (i.e. the backwards story with the ending scene intro to each chapter) was originally inspired from a movie called "Memento" which portrayed a story developing backwards. As for how Don ended up with the FBI, unfortunately, I did not think that a necessary part of the story, so there is no mention of that here in the epilogue. The point of this epilogue was to end the story on a slightly lighter note, which is a bit of a change from my usual writing as of late, and to also give a little more insight into how Don saw everything. I may, MAY consider a sequal to this that will have details of how Don got in with the FBI, but that will only happen if I get a REALLY GOOD idea for a sequal.
And one more quick clarification, it was mentioned that Raph may have been better suited for a physical job over a drug dealer. Maybe I did not portray him the right way then, as the idea was that Raphael was actually the MAJOR crime lord of the city now. So basically, he controlled everything in the underworld of New York. Does that seem more fitting for him?
Again, thanks to all who reviewed. Enjoy the epilogue.
DISCLAIMER - TMNT belongs to Kevin Eastman, Peter Laird, Mirage Studies and 4Kids Entertainment.
He stood, silhouetted in the moonlight with the bouquet of flowers in his hands, staring downward, a peaceful look on his face. His stillness was what masked his presence, making him easily perceived as one of the many marble and granite effigies that surrounded him. The only thing that proved he was not one was the way his clothes and the flowers in his hands swayed slightly in the nightly breeze.
He stooped for a brief moment, gingerly placing the flowers down on the earth in front of the tablet in before him. He straightened and again took up his vigil over the polished masonry, absorbing every detail of the text etched into the immortal stone.
April O'Neil Jones
Apr 21, 1980 - December 1, 2009
Beloved wife and mother
Found friends in the oddest places
Donatello smiled briefly at the phrase at the bottom, thinking back to that fateful day when they rescued her from the mousers in that dead end sewer tunnel. "I'm sorry I let it happen," he whispered to the night air and all those listening. Silently, he zipped up his coat and buried his hands into his pockets as he meandered through the cemetery maze and headed back home.
- - -
Don rechecked everything in his suitcase and then stuffed away an extra everything in the minor remaining crevices before deciding that he was finished. He then noticed the footsteps on the stairs just outside his room, and he turned around just as Casey was reaching the top of the landing. Don turned back and sealed the suitcase up, allowing Casey to enter the spare room and examine things.
"Tha' was the DA on the phone," Casey announced. "Mikey and Leo pled guilty. Mikey should be out in a couple o' years, and Leo was put inta a maximum-security psychiatric ward. Splinter and Raph put up a bit more of a fight, but ended up gettin' convicted for a life sentence each."
Don merely made a soft "hmm" in reply as he attached a tag to the handle of the case that had all the details of his identity on it. He could feel Casey's eyes bore into his back as his old friend waited for a slightly more in depth response. Unfortunately, Don had no intention of obliging him, and instead, busied himself with some mundane preparations that were relatively insignificant, hoping Casey would drop it.
Casey, however, was not interested in dropping it, and his heavy sigh told Don so. "I thought you would at least be somewhat interested, Don," Casey stated.
"Sorry to disappoint you," Don stated rather flatly. He turned around to give Casey a casual glance, his face an expressionless mask. "I think I just want to leave this all behind me, for now at least."
"What about when Mikey gets out?" Casey asked.
Don just shrugged. "We'll see when that comes to pass."
Casey nodded and went silent, so Don turned back around and locked the suitcase. Gripping the leather handle, he hoisted it off the bed and dropped it onto the ground, letting it rest on its wheels. "Thanks for letting me use your spare room," he said. "I should be able to find my own place soon, and then I'll be out of your hair."
Casey shook his head. "Not a problem man. It's been great havin' ya back." He gave a quick thumbs up and winked, forcing out a small chuckle and grin from Don.
Casey pulled his hand back and stuffed both of his into his pockets. "So you're really gonna be stayin' back here in New York?" He asked.
Don nodded. "Yeah, I think my training mission is plenty over now."
"Good ta know, especially since Kally's takin' such a likin' to ya."
Don grinned as a flash of the little black haired girl ran across his memory. She looked exactly like her father, except for her bright green eyes, which always reminded Don of April. "Good thing the eyes and the brain came from the same gene pool," Don remarked.
Casey feigned hurt for a moment. "My gene pools got plenty o' goods in it. Fer instance, my genes c'n pick out good genes to mix with." He pointed a finger at Don's legs where Don was wearing a pair of faded pants that were ripped and patched in several places. "And yer jeans might not be the best ta mix wit'. Not 'til I take ya shoppin' man."
Don gave a cheeky smile to the man before him whose own jeans were only in slightly better condition. Although, he knew that Casey was just bating him to make a comment on them so he could say his bad was in the "style" of bad. Instead, he just shook his head. "I'll have to take you up on that offer when I get back," he suggested. "But right now we need to get going. My plane leaves in a couple hours, so we should probably get going soon."
"Way ahead of ya man," Casey said with a brisk proud grin. "I already got Kally's and my suitcases in the van, and Kally should be getting' back fr'm Angel's place soon from droppin' off Klunk."
If Don had not been so startled, he might have made a comment about wondering where that demon spawn had been. Instead, he just stared blankly at Casey for several moments before finally bringing himself to blurt out, "What…what are you talking about?"
Casey laughed merrily. "Come on Don. Youse aren't the only one who needed a vacation after that job. I booked a flight fer me and Kally right after ya booked yours. Besides, it would do 'er some good ta see the Smithsonian wit' someone who c'n explain everythin' to 'er."
Don laughed outright at that. "Yeah, I suppose it would be good to go with someone who won't mistake the Declaration of Independence for the first issue of Superman."
Casey joined in the laughing as they both started walking out of the room and down the stairs. They sent a few jibes at each other several times on the way down, and by the time they reached the van and had stashed away Don's luggage in the back, they both actually had small streams of tears running down their faces from laughing so hard.
Choking back his hysterics slightly as he slammed the back door shut, Casey turned around and leaned against the van with the cracked and rusting eggshell paint job, wiping away the last remnants of tears from his eyes. Along side of him, Don did the same, and a minute of silence past between them as the last of the giggling subsided.
Finally, Casey glanced at the ground and broke the silence. "Ya never answered my question," he stated.
Don blinked for a second before turning his quizzical gaze to Casey. "What do you mean?"
"Back in the parkin' structure," Casey explained. "I asked you why ya wanted ta go through wit' tryin' ta catch yer brothers and Splinter. You told me ya wanted ta see what they've become, but that can't be the reason. Maybe if you were jus' gonna think it ovah before goin' after 'em, but you had already made up yer mind by then. What was yer real reason fer goin' after 'em?"
Don glanced down at the ground, shuffling his bare feet across the gravel of the driveway. "Way to kill the mood, Casey," he remarked.
"I try my best."
Don was silent for a long time, and Casey almost thought he was going to keep it a secret and not tell him. But just as he was about to ask again, Don spoke. "It's because Leo promised me."
Casey looked over at him to completely take in the sad and brooding look in Don's eyes. "Ten years ago, on the day I was leaving to go on my training mission, I was sitting in my room, having second thoughts about agreeing to go. I was really tempted at the time to run out and beg Splinter to let me stay, and maybe, if I promised to dedicate myself to ninjutsu more often, he would let me remain in the lair.
"That was when Leo came into my room and sat down to talk with me. I told him then what I was afraid of. I told him of the fact that when he went away he stayed for much longer than his training was supposed to last because he didn't get right away what he was sent away to learn. I told him that while he was gone, we fell apart as a family, and we barely talked to each other, and that it was because he was gone for so long. I told him that when he came back and we were whole again, and that that was the most relieved and happy I had felt in a long time, and I knew that Mikey and Raph felt the same way…well, eventually Raph felt the same way.
"And then I told him that I was afraid the same thing would happen if I left. I told him that I hated myself for thinking I was so important and that I didn't think the family could not stay strong without me. I still told him that I was afraid my leaving would cause pain to the family, and that I couldn't bear the thought of not being there to help them when they needed it.
"And then Leo promised to me that he would not let the family break up while I was away, and that he would keep them together, and that he would make sure that I could take all the time I needed to perfect my training, even more than he had taken if necessary. And he promised it all with such confidence that I couldn't help but agree with him.
"And so I left, and I took my time, and I trained, and I built things, and I studied, and time went by. Eventually, I got caught up in everything and I ended up getting a job as a detective in Miami. So I ended up staying longer than I had intended. I wanted to come home. I often wondered how the family was doing without me, but I told myself they were getting along just fine. I told myself they didn't need me right then, that they had Leo to take care of them, and that he was the one they needed to stay healthy and not me. And I was confident that Leo was taking care of them all, because he promised me he would.
"He promised me he would keep them together, but now, years later, I come back and find that he broke that promise. They fell apart and wound up in criminal fields all over the city, because Leo broke his promise to me. They needed me to be there with them, but I was too busy being confident that Leo could keep them all together. I abandoned them. And then, I couldn't help but feel like it was my fault that this happened, and that it was my responsibility to deal with them."
Don paused for a moment, throwing his head back against the van and sucking in a deep and relaxing breath. He closed his eyes, the images of his brothers and father playing over in his mind again and again. "And so that's what I did," he announced. "I took responsibility for them and turned them in. It was the only thing I could do for them now."
"Damn! I need a cigarette," he called out as he fished for his zippo and pack of Camels. Casey said nothing as he lit up and took a long drag. They both remained silent as Don finished his first and went for a second, and they retained the silence until he was grinding the butt of the third into the gravel driveway.
"If it makes a difference, I think ya did the right thing," Casey said.
Don looked over at him as the last traces of smoke escaped his beak. "Which part, the going away or turning them in?" he asked, a sarcastic note playing in his voice.
"Both," Casey stated flatly, earning him a confused stare from Don. "As much as I hate to admit it, after what happened ta Leo, I think it was inevitable that they all fall like that. And youse bein' gone, at the very least that meant ya were away and couldn't be corrupted inta fallin' as well."
Don nodded in silence. "Maybe," he admitted. "But I can't help wondering."
"No shit," Casey agreed. "Well, we'd bettah get this pahty goin'. He'e comes Kally now." A small, eight-year-old girl came jogging down the sidewalk, waving at them frantically, a thick novel clutched in one hand. Don smiled sadly as he recognized the cover as a book he gave April to read many years ago.
When she caught up to them, they all piled into the van: Casey in the driver spot, Don in the passenger seat and Kally in the back. Casey started the engine and quickly turned to look at his passengers. "So," he called in a jovial manner. "Youse all ready fer some culture?"
"You bet!" Came Kally's enthusiastic reply from the back. Turning her attention to Don, she said, "Thanks for letting us come along Uncle Donnie. It's nice being able to go the Smithsonian with someone who doesn't mistake the Declaration of Independence for the original Star Wars script."
Don could not help himself but bark out the laughter, while Casey flushed a bright red color and grumbled under his breath as he backed the van out of the driveway and they headed off for a well-deserved break.