A/N inspiration struck, I guess, and I finally came up with a believable back-story for the Sickness, an origin, of the sort. Not that I'm encouraging smoking or anything, or drinking- both are bad, but outside on a cold clear autumn night with a bottle of your favourite, and enough smokes to last the night, that's usually when inspiration strikes hardest for me. But I'm weird, and my obsession with the stars and long cold nights goes beyond unhealthy. Plus, there's the whole I started something, so I should at least be able to follow it through to the end, no matter how good or bad it gets, yeah?

It's a short chapter, 3 pages, but I'm just trying to get back into the swing of things, so please stick with me a little longer, and we'll see where we can go with this, eh?

Disclaimer; if I owned the guys, I'd be paying someone to write this for me. But I don't own 'em, which means I'm writing this myself- which is why the quality fluctuates between OK and really-really bad. Honestly, I don't know what I'd do with them, if I owned them, so it's probably a good thing I don't.

Please enjoy, and if you are enjoying this story, then I apologise for being so frustratingly sporadic and unreliable with it. I have a million reasons, but most of 'em are just excuses.


Oh, and I've… I think I've changed chapter 8 a tiny bit- but I'm not sure if I uploaded the correct version or not… it doesn't matter much, one was just longer than the other.

Chapter Nine – Reason

"Hey, Raph- you remember the first time I mentioned the Sickness? You know what you did- you laughed-"

"Now ain't th' time Mike!" Raph snapped, backing away from Don and Leo, with Mike right by his side.

"See, now- I disagree- there might not be another time! So I want an apology, okay?" Mike shot back, his shell scraping against the wall.

"Jesus, I'm sorry for mocking you, aight?" Raph muttered. "You feel better now?"

"Well, I'm not gonna die happy, but I'll feel a lot better about it, knowing you apologised." Mike grinned.

"Seein' as yer the expert on it, ya got any suggestions to how we make good 'bout our escape?"

"Actually, I'm kinda surprised you haven't attacked them yet." Mike said thoughtfully.

"Hell, they look jus' like Don and Leo- seem's… wrong, somehow. That- an' I don't wanna get too close to 'em. Makes my skin crawl jus' think' 'bout it."

"I can't believe you're passing up your only chance to beat the shell out of Leo."

Raph paused, looking at Mike. Mike shrugged. "'s tempting, when you put it that way." Then a shudder of fear rolled through his veins, and knew that unless it was their only option, it would be pretty impossible for him to get close. Hell, even this close was locking up his legs with fear- and they'd put some distance between themselves and the Sickness versions of Leo and Don.

"We could run." Mike said then, voice quiet.

Run… Raph grimaced. "Ain't my style, Mike."

"Really, Raph?" Mike asked, his face dead pan.

"'sides, I kinda get the impression they'd catch us the second we made to run."

"Yeah, right now I think it's docile. You know how animals smell fear? I think it can smell our fear and figures on us being too scared to think. But if we run, it'll be on us, quick as anything. So- whatever we do, we should be careful and-" Mike was in the middle of explaining what he thought would trigger the Sickness into attacking when Raph cracked his knuckles, and drew his sai. "Oh, I just know that means trouble."

"Can you do this?" Raph asked him. Mike paused, honestly, seriously thinking about it- just being this close was difficult.

"When you think about it, this is kind of like when the Justice League faced off-"

"Don't care, Mike!" Raph hissed over his shoulder, as he lunged towards Don and Leo. Mike was only seconds behind, his nun-chuks swirling, and fear so deep in his blood his body felt frozen by it.

A matter of seconds before Raph's sai met Leo's sword- the whole tunnel exploded in bright, blinding light- and a warm hand latched around Mike's wrist.

"Grab Raph!" And even though it's a voice Mike knows the Sickness can imitate, it's using that unmistakable tone, and it's all Mike can do to grab Raph- because no matter if it's the Sickness Leo or his Big Brother Leo, when he uses that tone of voice, by God, you do what he says.

He's just turning to shout to Leo, that he's got Raph, as Raph is yelling at him in confusion, demanding that Mike lets him go- and Leo is shouting something to them, or someone else- and then there's this unearthly scream, that Mike feels more than hears, shakes the ground, and sends tremors of paralysing fear through his body.

And that's when he loses his hold on Raph, and Leo let's his arm go. And he's alone, in a world of white-


He's almost awake when the terror kicks back in and he lunges up, nearly falling but catching himself as he yells and reaches for his nun-chucks when there's a sniggering from behind him.

"Uhh… Guys?" He's blinking- his eyes are sore, dry- like the time Donny shone a torch in his eyes, accidently. He turns, and spots his brothers- and they really are his brothers… he almost runs over and grabs them all in a massive ` group hug`, but it's an urge he resists, last time he attempted a `group hug`… it didn't have the desired effect, to say the least.

The desired effect being warmth and love and brotherly companionship… the resulting effect was something on level to a sparring match as Raph yelled, cursed and basically tried to keep up his macho act as Donny dropped his fresh cup of coffee all over their toes and Leo just smirked…

"Relax, bone head." Raph's tone is smug and all fear is gone from it, and Mikey doesn't think he's ever been so happy to hear that tone. "We're safe." Still, now that he can see their faces, the `for now` doesn't have to be spoken, it's clear and thick in the air- because the night isn't over and it's a long time before the sun comes up.

"What happened?" He asks finally, looking at Leo and Don almost wearily. He knows it wasn't them, and it's not the Sickness now… but he can't help it.

"You fainted." Raph's response is short and brutal and Mike doesn't think he's ever been so glad to have the rude Raph back.

"Don rigged up the security lights to blow, while I went around with the Sewer Slider, also rigged up with torches and lights on full beam, to pick you up." Leo elaborates on Raph's basic answer, and Mike is nodding, kinda glad that `you fainted` wasn't all there was to the story of their great escape.

"Wait. We have security lights… in the sewers?"

Raph looks at Mike, while Leo turns straight to Don, who shrugs. "I thought they might come in handy… Unfortunately, to have a bright enough light source to affect the… Sickness, at all, caused the wires to fry and the bulbs to blow, so it's not something we can try again."

It's then that Mike realises where they are- April's apartment- but there's no sign of her and for a second he starts to panic. But she's away on some business trip, and Mike smiles, because he didn't want her to go- but he's very, very glad she did go.

"So?" Raph poses the question, and Mike turns back to them- but they're all looking at him.


"Well- it stands to reason that you would have an idea on how to defeat this… Sickness, since you are the one who first discovered its existence." Don says, elaborating on what might have been Raph's question… but it was hard to tell when Raph was genuinely asking, and genuinely trying to be the frustrating hot-head he is.

"Uhh, what?"

"Forget it, Don. If you're gonna rely on Mike for battle strategies, we all might as well hang up our weapons now." Raph has turned away and Leo is still silent- and if his eyes weren't flickering all over the place, Mike would think he was meditating. Don's staring at the light bulb.

"Well, light holds it off, briefly. And… it basically seems to be some form of… darkness." Don is saying, and it's obvious he's trying to be scientific or at least reasonable and calculating about it… but the whole idea is almost too radical for anything like that.

"It feeds on fear." Mike offers quietly.

"Well, this's all great. But how's it solve our problem?" Raph cuts in, turning back to face them.

"We find out what it is by the way it acts, Raph. We find out what it is, we find out where it came from. We do those two things and we can beat it- or send it back to where it came from." Leo says, speaking for the first time in a while- and his voice sounds strained.

"It must be safe to assume that it's come from another planet, or another time. So perhaps if we-"

"No, Don, I don't think this is anything from another time or planet. I think… I seriously think it's from Earth, our time." Mike said lightly, and he almost pauses- unsure of himself, because there's something nagging in the back of his head- something about stars and dark cold nights- but it's gone before he can get a good grip on the thought.

"Alright, then, brainiac." Raph begins, and Mike is surprised he didn't see that coming- "what do we do, then?"

"Jeeze, Raph. I dunno, maybe… save the world?" Mike retorts and Raph's shoulders tense up, and Mike almost thinks Raph is gonna take a leap at him, when Leo puts a hand on Raph's shoulder, looking first at the floor, before he raises his eyes to Mikes, and he nods briefly.

"It's a good start."


So, I realise it's maybe not… I don't know, what it's not. But, thanks for reading, if any of my old readers are still sticking around, I hope this is a suitable chapter. Hope you enjoyed