A/N: I'm spending far too much time in the TMNT universe. I can't switch it off! Anyway, a complete AU. I just wanted to play around with them for a while. Basically all you need to know is;
Part 1: after an attack on the lair by Mousers when the Turtles are 8, they are separated from Splinter and each other. Splinter later finds Leo and Mikey, but despite constant searching he cannot discover Raph and Donnie and presumes them to be dead.
Part 2: April, little over a year later, upon stumbling over some video footage caught by the Mousers, goes into the Sewers and by pure luck, comes across Raph and Donnie and takes them home with her, seeing them as the children they are, rather than the mutants they appear to be. So while Master Splinter continues to train Leo and Mikey in the ways of nijitsu, and enforcing the rules about no contact with humans, Raph and Donnie are being brought up by April and her boyfriend Casey.
Part 3: Now, at the age of sixteen, a freak accident has forced Leo and Mikey to the surface world, where they end up in a fight with the Purple Dragons, and are helping out none other than their long lost brothers. But they are about to be drawn into a web of evil from which escape is highly improbable.
However, I will tell the story from the beginning. It will mostly be Raphael and Donatello as they are my favourites, and I really want to look into the idea of April and Casey raising them, would they turn out any different to what they already are? Kind of inspired by the way April occasionally mentions that she feels like a mother to the turtles in the 2003 series.
Disclaimer: Obviously I do not own.
Part 1: The beginning
It began and ended faster than any of them could have thought possible. One minute they were enjoying a somewhat quiet game of Cluedo, some of the pieces were missing, and they didn't have all the cards, but they managed fairly well. No one had expected the ground to start shaking, or the walls to crack and explode towards them. There was barely time to call out to each other before the ceiling collapsed, cutting the four children off from their father, who had been sitting at the other end of the room.
There wasn't even time to dash forward to call out for their father before they were faced by six strange looking things; silver and shinny, that opened huge looking jaws and snapped them with a ferocity that frightened the four children. Not knowing what else to do the four turned and ran.
"They're following us!" one of the children yelled breathlessly, a purple bandana differentiating him from his brothers.
"Leo!" Another yelled; this one with a red bandana, being forced to stop as more of those strange things appeared in front of them, yanking his purple banded brother out of the way.
Leo, the blue banded one, in the middle of pushing the fourth and orange banded one to the side. The chomping silver things invaded the gap between them, cutting them off from each other on either side of the tunnel that had been running down. Spotting an opening a few feet away on his brother's side of the tunnel he pointed to it widely, moving back away from the silver things, keeping his orange banded brother behind him as he did. "Raph, there's a tunnel just a little way that way! Take Donnie and go. Me and Mikey will go back this way."
"But--" the one called Donnie began, getting cut off as Raph grabbed his hand and pulled him along.
"Be careful Leo!" Raph yelled as he ran, swerving past the silver monsters.
"You too!" Leo yelled back, grabbing Mikey in much the same way Raph and Donnie and hightailing it back down the tunnel. The huge crash and rumbling they heard moments later did not register as something important, not right then. But it would. Very soon it would.
They ran until they were unable to run anymore, all their attempts at shaking the metal monsters that followed them proved impossible. They collapsed in a small offshoot to the tunnel they had been running to. Clinging to each other as they watched the chomping jaws descend upon them, squeezing their eyes shut and wishing their father was there.
Eye's opened, and two little turtles looked in awe at the broken monsters that littered the Sewer floor at their father's feet. Without a word the two scrambled to their feet and threw themselves at their father, fingers gripping his fur and clothes tightly as their fear bubbled over. They stood there for as long as they could, soaking up their fathers calming presence, until finally their father pulled back and looked at them, worry in his eyes.
"My son's, where are your brothers?" he asked.
It took Leo a moment to regain himself completely, but when he did he straightened up and looked at his father. "We got split up. But I know what way they went, if we go back to the main tunnel."
Their father nodded, and turned to begin the short trek to the main tunnel, an easy task when he knew short cuts his sons did not. Reaching it, and keeping a wary eye out for the return of the metal monsters he allowed Leo to lead them to where they had been split up. Finally Leo stopped, staring up at the tunnel he was sure he had seen his brothers turn into, blocked now with bricks and dirt.
"Master Splinter…" he whispered.
"Leonardo, you are sure?" One look at the young turtles face was answer enough.
"Are they ok?" Mikey asked, eyes wide. And worried.
Splinter did not know what to answer. "They are fine." he said, putting a clawed hand on his sons head, hoping he was not lying. "Come, we will find a safe place for you two to hide and I will go and search for your brothers."
Elsewhere in the sewers Raph shoved Donnie into a small hole in the wall, blocking the entrance with his own body and looking around desperately for something that would help his stave off the monsters. While running he had finally recalled some of Master Splinter's lessons, they needed to find a small, defendable place and fight until either they won or those chasing them went away. Pushing Donnie in to safety was almost second nature, though normally it was Mikey in Donnie's place if he was supposed to protect anyone. Protecting his brother's was paramount in Raph's mind; that was his job; Leo's was to find a way out of the situation.
However, seeing as Leo wasn't here, it seemed Raph would have to do that too.
"Raph?" Donnie said, pushing his brother's shell, not that it helped any. "Raph, I can fight too."
Raph ignored him, he knew Donnie could fight, he had seen him fight, but fighting against his brothers was completely different to fighting against these monsters. "Just shut up Donnie and stay there!" Raph barked, readying himself for the attack from the six monsters blocking him in. But they just stood there, watching him with their blinking eyes, like they were waiting for something. Then, unexpectedly they all turned as one and moved off, disappearing from Raph's sight very quickly. Raph stared after them, confused, until the panicky tone of his little brother's voice broke through and he moved aside.
Donnie tumbled out and landed in a heap beside him, scrambling up he looked at Raph, checking visually for any injuries. "What happened?" he asked, looking round.
Raph shrugged. "I don't know. They just left. Come on, lets get back and make sure Leo and Mikey are ok." he reached out and grabbed Donnie's hand again, telling himself that it was because his brother looked scared, and not because he himself needed the contact. "Come on." he tugged Donnie closer and started walking back the way they had come.
Three hours later both turtles were exhausted, and were no closer to finding their way back to the tunnel they had taken off the main one. Which left them hopelessly lost in a myriad of sewer tunnels, and it was getting a little colder, signifying night had fallen, or so Master Splinter had informed them once.
"Do you suppose they're ok?" Donnie whispered quietly behind Raph, only keeping pace with him because of the tight grip his brother still had on his hand.
"They're fine." Raph said with certainty.
"Will they be looking for us?" this question was even quieter.
Raph stopped dead at that thought, before roughly shaking himself, and by default Donnie's arm before saying, in his toughest voice. "Of course they are!"
They moved on in silence.
"Raphie, I'm tired." Donnie said finally.
Raph knew he meant it. Donnie wasn't the type to say things like that unless he meant them. So Raph paused and looked round for somewhere they could rest, out of the sloshing water they were currently wading through. Finally he spotted a small hole in the wall, a few feet from the water, and it looked big enough to fit both of them. "Just a little further Donnie." he said, tugging him towards the hole.
A great deal of scrabbling later and they were huddled together in the small hole, hidden in the shadows. Without consciously thinking about it, Raph had manoeuvred himself round so that he was sideways on to the entrance of their little hideaway, with Donnie tucked in close to his other side. He tried not to think too much about Master Splinter or his other brothers. He wanted to believe they were out there, alive, well, and searching for them. So he left it at that. By tomorrow Master Splinter would have found them, they would be reunited with Leo and Mikey and everything would be just fine.
Finally the exhausted red banded turtle fell asleep.
It had been weeks, weeks of fruitless searching, but yet Splinter did not slow in his search, he could not. His sons were out there, somewhere. He refused to believe they were dead, but had found no evidence of their being among the living either. But then, the sewer system of the city was huge, and he did not know every tunnel in it. It was possible they had just gotten horribly lost and that he would still find them.
Visions of his son's, starving, hurt, or at the mercy of humans tormented his dreams. But still he searched, hoping he would find them. Every time he returned empty handed, he could see it like a blow on Leonardo and Michelangelo's faces, and that spurred him on even more. But it had been weeks. Did his sons know enough to survive for weeks? Would he truly find them alive, or would he merely find an empty shell?
It was disheartening, but he could not give up hope.
And so he continued to search.
The sound in the alley could easily be attributed to rats, lot's of rats, so people tended to avoid going into it. And it was a good thing they did, or they would have gotten a fright. Inside a dustbin, Raph was foraging for something to eat. The smell was horrible, but he and Donnie needed to eat, and this was the only place they could come. It was the closest bin to the little place they had made a nest for themselves.
Donnie was on watch, standing on the ground beside the manhole that they had managed to pry open halfway. Raph had tried to go by himself, not wanting to take Donnie up to the dangerous upper world, wary of Splinters words on it, but Donnie had refused to let him out of his sight. He had snuck off once while Donnie was sleeping, but when he had returned he had discovered Donnie having a panic attack. It had taken a long time before his brother had let him go; even going so far as to not sleep for fear Raph would disappear.
Raph knew the fact that Master Splinter had not yet found them, even after so long, scarred Donnie, he had nightmares about the metal monsters killing Splinter and their brothers. Raph didn't want to believe these dreams, but he had been so sure that Master Splinter would have found them long before now.
Pushing those depressing thoughts aside Raph continued is quest, putting anything that looked edible in the little bag he had found two weeks ago in the same bin. Stuffing a few electrical things in there as well for Donnie, along with a tattered motorcycle magazine, he was finally done. If they were careful they could last a few days without having to venture out again. He climbed carefully out of the dumpster and dropped to the ground.
"Let's go Donnie." he whispered.
Donnie nodded and slipped back down the manhole, Raph following immediately.
It wasn't a long walk back to their little nesting pace, but it did involve squeezing through some tight spots that would have made it impossible for any human to follow. It was small, the floor covered in old newspapers, a single ratty blanket crumpled in the corner, a few odds and ends scattered about, an old couch cushion, frayed at the edges, but it was comfortable enough for them both to sit on. There was a small scattering of electrical things in one corner, and a small screwdriver, a pile of magazines in another. It wasn't home, and they didn't think of it as such. It was just temporary, until Master Splinter came to get them, even though neither really, in their heart of hearts, thought that was going to happen.
Raph set the bag down and started pulling out the things he had collected. A screwdriver with a broken handle, his motorcycle magazine, a few random electronic things he couldn't place, and then came the food. Half a loaf of bread, a little mouldy, but nothing that couldn't be picked off. Some apples, bruised, but otherwise ok, and a box of stale cookies. He was glad that humans were such wasters. This was a veritable feast, and it would last them a few days, which was all that mattered.
Donnie took the electrical stuff and shuffled it all into his little corner. Raph tidied the food into the little box they had stumbled upon and closed the lid, leaving out an apple and a slice of bread to share between them. E made his way to the cushion and sat, pulling his magazine over to him and opening it. Donnie joined him soon afterwards, carrying the blanket, that he arranged over the both of them. He took the bread and started to pick the mould off slowly, working up to asking something it Raph wasn't mistaken, the red banded turtle took a small bite of the apple.
"Yeah?" Raph answered, holding out the apple for Donnie to take, which he did, taking a bite before handing it back and continuing to pick the mould off the bread.
"Do you suppose they're--"
"No!" Raph stated firmly.
"You don't even know what I'm going to say!" Donnie accused.
"They're not dead Donnie. They're not!" Raph told him angrily.
Usually this was the point Donnie backed down and didn't ask anymore questions, but not tonight. "How do you know Raph? It's been weeks! They should have found us by now. We've even been staying in the same place, to make it easier, and they haven't come! What if the Monsters got them?"
Taking an angry bite of the apple Raph surged to his feet, tossing the blanket over Donnie and dumping his magazine on the floor, carelessly throwing the apple at Donnie, who clumsily caught it, his eyes completely focused on Raph. It didn't take much for him to know exactly what was going on. Before Raph could jump down from their little nest he found himself pulled back, Donnie's arms wrapped firmly round his arm.
"Don't go, I'm sorry. Please don't go." Donnie whispered quickly, his breath leaving a wet feeling on Raph's skin.
Raph pried Donnie off his arm, his anger softening immediately seeing the scared look in his little brothers eyes. "I was just going outside for a minute Donnie. Just outside. I wasn't leaving."
Donnie coloured darkly and looked away. "I knew that…" he said, though his tone was less that convincing. "I know you wouldn't just… I know that. You promised, and you don't break your promises. But…" he trailed off. "I know you wouldn't leave, but I'm just so… frightened… that if you go even outside you'll disappear and I'll be by myself, and I don't know how to do anything by myself. And I don't know if Master Splinter is out there looking for us, or if he's dead, or if he think's we're dead. I mean, what if he found Leo and Mikey dead and then thought we must be too? What if--"
Raph put a finger on Donnie's mouth, silencing him. "What if Master Splinter found them and they're all out there looking for us?" he asked softly.
Donnie let out a shuddering sigh before wrapping his arms around Raph again, and Rap hugged him back, needing it just as much. He had known Donnie's dreams were bad, but he hadn't realised just how bad. He himself still held fast to the belief that Master Splinter would come for them.
It was a belief that would soon wane as time continued to pass.
Leo and Mikey sparred as Master Splinter watched them. They had found a huge place to call home, with more than enough room to train. But both felt something lacking, a huge hole the shape of their brother's. They both knew that Master Splinter still searched, they sometimes helped. Splinter always disguised it as stealth training, or a lesson in finding their way around, but both of them knew what it really was. A small effort to find the missing part of their family.
And it would be missed forever. But it was over two months since the attack by the metal monsters, and there had been nothing on their brothers. Nothing.
Master Splinter had begun their training with weapons, not wanting to leave them defenceless should they be attacked again. Leo held twin swords, while Mikey had Nun chucks; they had both seen the Sai and Bo Master Splinter had kept separate. They were there for when they found their brothers. And they would find them. They had to.
Mikey didn't joke around anymore, he barely laughed, and when he did, it was usually ripped out of him like a burst of sunshine on a rainy day, but was always quickly swallowed up. Leo knew the feeling, sometimes he found himself enjoying something, actually enjoying it, but then it would come crashing back on him that Raph and Donnie were not here. He shouldn't feel happy or content, he shouldn't ever enjoy himself.
Not when he didn't know what had become of his brothers. Master Splinter had stopped saying they were alive anymore, like he didn't want to give them hope. Leo often felt that he had aged years, even though he was still eight years old, and he hated to see that Mikey seemed to feel the same way. He missed the old Mikey, the one that would laugh at anything, and play silly jokes, and paint or draw everything in brought colours.
He missed Raph, and the way he was always teasing Mikey, or getting annoyed when Leo told him to do something. He missed the way he used to come up with the best adventures to go on that almost broke the rules but didn't. He missed Donnie, and the way he could always be found muttering over an old radio Master Splinter brought back for him, or coming up with the best ways to do something on one of Raph's adventure ideas. Or the way he would help him get back at Mikey for some prank he'd pulled.
He hadn't realised that Splinter had ended the sparring session and was now gazing at him sadly, or that Mikey was watching him, concerned.
"Leonardo, Michelangelo, come here." Splinter held out his arms, and the two turtles went to him, gratefully soaking up his warmth, and the security his embrace gave them. "My son's. We have suffered a great blow. I will not lie to you and tell you that we will find your brothers. Because truly I do not know if we will. But know this, wherever they are, I am sure they would like you to be yourselves. You are allowed to be happy my sons. So long as you never forget them, you are allowed to move on."
Leo and Mikey shared a pained look, was Master Splinter trying to tell them he believed Raph and Donnie were dead? Or that they would never be found?
They stayed there, held in their father's arms, and wondering just what Raph and Donnie were doing right now.
They had been forced to move a week ago. Some humans had come down to check the pipes, so to ensure they weren't found they had packed up and left the little nest they had made and wandered through the darkened sewer tunnels until they had found a suitable hole to stay in. It would be winter soon, so they had chosen somewhere small, that they could make warm and cosy during the cold months. They had found a torch to use at night, but unfortunately most of the batteries they had come across were used up, those they had that still worked were few, so they used them as sparingly as they could.
Food had been scarce lately; Raph had yet to find a suitable place that had food they could use. There was one good thing about everything getting colder, food kept for longer, not a lot longer, but long enough.
Don had managed to fix a small radio, but without anything to plug the wire into, and their batteries too precious to use, he had fiddled about with it while Raph pursued the latest sports magazine he had found, until finally he had managed to rig it so that all they needed to do was wind it up. It didn't last very long, and they seemed to spend more time winding it up than anything else, but it provided some entertainment.
Sometime's they practiced some of the things Master Splinter had taught them, But Donnie usually dropped out partway through and returned to his inventions. Raph didn't give him a hard time, Donnie had always been the one who didn't enjoy the training Master Splinter had them do, and Raph could see it hurt his brother to do the practices, because it reminded him too much of what their life had once been. So Raph didn't give him a hard time. Teased him about all the little things he was building, sure, but he had reigned in more of his natural reactions (which was normally to yell and stomp about), because Donnie got genuinely upset when he did, and nothing he could ever say or do would convince his brother that it wasn't anything to do with him personally, it was just Raph needing to let off steam.
Instead he let his frustrations out while he practiced, making up a few moves of his own as he did so. Splinter would be proud of him for finally being able to control his temper. That thought normally brought on a rather vicious punch followed by a kick, because what frustrated him the most was the fact that their family had still not found them. Even after so long.
He didn't stop his movements, but he did grunt for his brother to continue.
"We're out of food again." Donnie told him quietly.
Raph knew this of course, he had checked their little food box earlier to find it empty. But they had only gone topside a day ago, he knew it was dangerous for them to keep going up there, Master Splinter had drummed that into their heads often enough. Only now it didn't seem like such a joke. Now that he actually had to look after one of his brothers, and was forced to go topside. He was always tense when they went up there, always worrying that something could happen to Donnie, or worse, something could happen to him and Donnie would be left alone. He wasn't like Master Splinter or Leo, he didn't really know how to look after his brother, he had always, as a child is wont to do, just assumed his father and older brother would always be there, that he could leave all this stuff up to them and focus on protecting Donnie and Mikey, and Leo if he needed it.
Blowing out a frustrated sigh he dropped out of his stance and turned to look at Donnie, who was swinging his legs over the edge of the nest they had made themselves, looking at him expectantly.
"We can't go out again, can we?" Donnie questioned wisely.
Raph shook his head, choosing to stay silent rather than risk hurting his brother's feelings by snapping.
Donnie sighed. "Raphie, what are we going to do? I mean, it's almost winter. We're going to need to start getting clothes and that to keep us warm, or some more blankets, and enough food to last us a long time."
It wasn't often Donnie became so practical, to tell the truth he had never quite figured out how to act around Raph, and his own confusion, and sadness surrounding the whole situation they found themselves in brought his more insecure nature to the forefront. He tried hard not to get Raph angry at him, so he had tried hard to curb his tendency to point out things like when they had no food left, because Raph always knew and he could tell got annoyed when it was mentioned. Like he thought he was failing somehow. But Donnie was too afraid to say anything, in case it made Raph angry at him.
But he was worried now, because winter was coming in, and it would be a cold one, the radio said so. And as much as he wanted Master Splinter, Leo and Mikey to just walk round the corner and take them home, he knew it was impracticable to think like that. And Donnie was not an impractical turtle.
"I know." Raph said, frowning.
There was silence between them, because neither knew what to say in the face of the overwhelming possibility that they might be here over winter.
Christmas had not been celebrated this year, though Splinter had always, in some fashion or other, managed in the years previous to do something special for his sons. But none of them had truly felt like celebrating. It was too cold, and that coupled with the loss of their brothers had left his two sons' depressed and unwilling to play along this year.
It was also Christmas that forced Splinter to admit to himself that his other two sons most likely hadn't survived; the weather was far too cold for two young turtles to survive alone.
It was the day Splinter's heart broke.
Donnie sat, huddled in a hoodie jumper Raph had managed to find for him. It was an adult sized one, so it was easy to pull his entire body inside it to keep warm. His brown eyes rested on Raph, who was tossing and turning under the blankets, his body finally warming up again. I had worried Donnie horribly when his brother had suddenly collapsed after their last scavenging mission topside. He had known Raph wasn't looking after himself properly. He had tried to give him back some of the warmer things he had found, but Raph had refused to take them, saying he was fine.
This wasn't fine!
Seeing his brother collapse had been like one of his nightmares coming true. But before he had given into the side of him that wanted to cry hysterically and shake Raph's body until he woke up, he had stopped himself, and realised that Raph was just really, really cold. And the fact that they were cold blooded (he had read in a book), that meant his body was supposed to shut down in winter. He assumed that because they were mutants they didn't go into long hibernations, because none of them ever had in previous years.
All he had to do was get Raph warmed up and he would be fine.
It had taken all his strength to pull Raph into their little nest and set him down comfortably, before loading every single blanket or scrap of cloth he could over his brother's body and perching beside him, watching him worriedly, wrapped only in the Hoodie for warmth.
He was immensely relieved when Raph cracked open an eye and looked at him. "Don…nie?" he croaked out.
Donnie smiled as much as he could. "Hey Raph."
"Wha… wha' happened?"
"You collapsed, because you let yourself get too cold." Donnie told him accusingly.
Raph accepted the accusation with tired good grace, knowing it was true. He was too tired to argue the point just to keep his image in tact.
Donnie took full advantage of his biog brother's acquiescent state. "You've got to stop doing things like this! I'm big enough to look after myself Raph; you don't have to do everything for me. You don't have to give me the warmer clothes and blankets, or give me more food. It's not fair!"
Raph just looked at him. "You're my little brother Donnie, that means I can do what I want." he whispered.
"Only when it comes to playing games, or over who get the best toy! Not over stuff like this!" Donnie ranted. "You collapsed Raph! You could have died! What if this hadn't worked? What if you'd never woken up? I… I don't know what to do… I mean, I wouldn't even know where to begin if you weren't here. I'd know what I needed, but I wouldn't know where to find anything, and if it was just me it would be really really lonely. And I miss Master Splinter, Leo and Mikey so much. But they're not here, and you are, so you can't go doing things like that!"
Though he was sure some of the shaking was because Donnie was angry with him, he knew the rest was because he was cold. Raph shifted under the blankets until he had made enough room to fit his brother in. "Donnie, come on." the invitation was obvious.
Even though he was angry, though now it was perhaps more upset than angry, Donnie crawled under the mass of blankets and into his brothers arms, sniffling a little, and was soon asleep against Raph, his body a warm weight on Raph's arm. Raph followed him soon after and they were soon both snoring quietly under the mass of blankets.
It had been over a year now, and Splinter had watched as Leonardo and Michelangelo had realised that they were still allowed to have fun and play without their brother's there. Oh, there was still periods of sadness, but it warmed Splinter's heart to see his two surviving sons playing together, laughing. He even allowed them to play one or two pranks on him in the spirit of healing.
At the moment they were chasing each other around the large space in the centre of the Lair, swinging pillows like weapons, collecting points for what part of the body they managed to hit, doubling it if they managed to actually knock the other over. They were laughing as they ran, taunting each other happily.
It had been a dark year, but now things were beginning to look up, even if just a little.
Donnie was bouncing just out of reach of Raph, grinning wildly as his brother dashed towards him, only to miss him by an inch as he bounced away again. It wasn't often they played, normally staying in and around the nest. But sometimes Raph said it would be ok to go a little way away and play a game of tag. Laughter rang out as Raph missed him again. Turning he darted to the next corned and turned it. Raph hot on his trail.
Neither had any idea of what that day would bring them.
That their whole lives would change once again in an instant.
For that moment they were just two brother's playing a game.
Ahem. Well, part one is complete. This took me four days to write, so don't expect the next part up real quickly. Please review. I'd really like to know what you think.