Summary: What was supposed to be a pleasant Christmas Eve with family and friends suddenly turns to one of terror and uncertainty for the turtles. Will they make it through this Christmas together? Or will one fall? Mikey centric (as usual)
A/N: So apparently I can never make goals for myself, as real life likes to get in the way. Unfortunately, I had some health issues that came up shortly after posting the last chapter, and by the time I got all straightened out, school had started up again. But I'm doing much better, and I have the last part here for you! Thanks so much for your patience, and your reviews - special thanks to Puldoh, Dbkit, Gohanzgirl, Silvernight180, panda1418, tentenxnejiluva, TMNTgrl, Dark-Kaomi, leavingyouforme, MikeyPhreak, Elsiah, Eridani23, KleeZeeNex, Dark Fox Tailz, guest, and Diamond for all your great reviews. I do believe 16 reviews is the highest amount I've ever recieved for one chapter, so thank you! (Note to Dark Fox Tailz - you make a very good point. If I had thought about it beforehand, I would have tried to have one with Leatherhead in it. Unfortunately, I couldn't see a plausible way to work him into this one. But I will definitely keep him in mind for future fics - the poor guy does get left out a lot, doesn't he?)
So, despite the fact that most everyone probably has their Christmas decorations all put away... I present you with the last of my Christmas fic! (And there's still a lot of snow outside my window... so I can pretend, right?) Thanks to mav for the beta, as well. Any and all mistakes are mine. And I don't own them.
Oh, and there is one swear word in here - just to warn you!
"We're coming up on it," Don declared grimly as Raph guided the Battle Shell around another corner. The air in the vehicle was thick with tension.
"I don't see anything," April commented, peering out of the window over Leo's shoulder at the dim street. It was dusk, and the streetlights hadn't kicked on yet. The lack of light and the still-falling snow cast everything into a seeming haze.
"Something tells me most people wouldn't be out in this weather on Christmas Eve," Leo replied tersely, absentmindedly fiddling with the ends of his scarf.
"Raph, stop!" Don suddenly cried. The brakes squealed as Raph brought the vehicle to a sudden stop, then swiftly parked in a nearby alley. Don unbuckled himself from his seat and moved to the front. "He's in that warehouse," he stated softly, pointing at a large building ahead and to their right.
"Then let's go check it out!" Raph exclaimed, lurching out of his seat.
"Caution, my son," Splinter warned, loosely clenching the sleeve of his coat. Raph growled under his breath, but paused. "We don't know what we're coming up against."
"No offense, Sensei, but we don't have much time – Mikey's been shot," Raph protested.
Splinter's ears twitched slightly. "I know, my son. And one son with a wound is one too many. We must be cautious so that Michelangelo will remain the only one wounded."
"We need to find a way in," Leo declared, peering out the window again. His eyes narrowed as he scanned the façade of the building. "Fire escape," he hissed, pointing.
They all tensed as something suddenly beeped frantically. Don looked over his shoulder at the computer. "Donnie? What's up?" Casey asked.
"I'm not sure…" Don replied distractedly as he slid back into his seat. The keys clicked softly for a moment before he froze. "The signal's gone."
There was silence at the grim announcement. "What does that mean?" Raph asked finally, his voice slightly croaky.
"Nothing good, that's for sure," Don declared grimly, typing a few more keystrokes. "As near as I can tell, there was some kind of electrical surge that caused the tracker to short out."
"What would cause that?" Leo inquired as they all shifted to gather around Don.
Don shrugged. "He could be by some kind of powerful generator. The tracker's pretty sensitive around electrical impulses. It's really hard to say – there are a number of possibilities."
"In any case, we need to get in there and check it out," Raph declared, socking his gloved fist into his other hand.
"Uh, guys? We've got a big problem," Casey suddenly called. "Emphasis on the big."
They whirled to see the vigilante staring out at the street. "What?" April asked, moving to peer over his shoulder. Her eyes widened as Leo and Raph both growled behind her. "Oh no."
Ahead of them, they could see the tail end of a limousine parked in front of the warehouse. But they weren't as interested in the limo as they were in gigantic figure stepping out of it. "Hun," Raph hissed as the thug stood to his full height. "What's he doing here?"
"Whatever the reason, things just got ten times worse," Leo declared as Hun entered into the warehouse. "We have got to get Mikey out of there."
They turned as the side door suddenly slid open. "Let us move," Splinter ordered softly, jumping softly out into the snow. The others quickly moved after him.
Leo blinked a few times, adjusting his eyes as the streetlights suddenly flickered on. He darted after Splinter, who was quickly moving from shadow to shadow across the street, his agility belying his years. They paused when he suddenly halted in the shadow of a large dumpster, his snout in the air, sniffing.
"Guys!" Raph suddenly hissed, pointing down at the snow.
Leo felt his breath freeze in his throat when his eyes caught sight of what Raph was looking at. A light dusting of snow hadn't quite covered up the large, congealed drop of blood that had fallen in a boot print – a boot print that looked nearly identical to the ones he, Raph, and Don were leaving in the snow. "Mikey," he whispered, kneeling to finger the blood, hearing April's stifled gasp. The crimson liquid was thick, cold, and gooey.
"Let us move," Splinter repeated, darting toward the fire escape. They followed quickly. Leo swallowed hard when he caught sight of a few more drops of blood in the snow.
"Mikey must've gone in the same way," Don whispered from behind him.
Soon Leo was sliding the window down after Casey climbed through. They could hear lots of excited voices off to their left, and as they crept along, the words became clearer.
"-Just lucky I came along today to handle this. You nearly screwed this up, Ice."
"But, Master Hun, sir, I didn't know he was one of 'em, I swear! He was just at the store buyin' some stuff! How was I s'posed t' know dem freaks go grocery shoppin'?" And he's out cold now – I coulda taken care of him!"
They all froze at that, looking at each other with wide eyes. "Never underestimate these freaks, Ice," Hun growled. There was the muffled sound of something being kicked. "They live to cause me problems, apparently. And where there's one, the others are bound to follow."
They dropped down and moved forward, peering over the edge of a balcony. Raph swallowed when he saw blood smeared next to his hand. His eyes quickly moved forward, and his breath caught in his chest when he looked out at the floor below them.
A small group of about ten thugs were gathered around Hun and the apparent leader of the group. Raph couldn't see Mikey's face, but he could see the orange of his jacket on the floor, as well as his sprawled legs. Hun had his orange hat clenched in a meaty fist, rage and frustration evident on his face. "The last thing I need is to have my supply of weapons interrupted. Do you understand me?" the giant continued, glaring at Ice. The thug nodded, eyes wide beneath his spiky black hair.
Raph's head shot to the side so he could look at Leo and Splinter, his eyes practically screaming, Let's take 'em! Next to him, he could feel the tension radiating from Casey. On the other side of Splinter, Don and April were frantically scanning the floor below them, each looking rather worried.
Splinter bowed his head for a brief moment before leaning over slightly to murmur something in Leo's ear. The blue-clad turtle nodded, his eyes shooting up to scan the ceiling. He scooted backwards so he could kneel out of sight and pulled a shuriken from a pocket inside his coat. He paused to glance at them all, his face grim and determined, before throwing the star at a thick wire overhead.
Below, Hun's head jerked up when he heard the soft whistle of the metal flying through the air. He opened his mouth to say something when the shuriken collided with the wire. The room was plunged into relative darkness as sparks shot out from the wire, and voices cried out in shock. With a roar, Raph leapt over the railing first, landing lightly on the floor below as he unzipped his jacket and pulled out his sai.
He lashed out at the first vague shape he could see, squinting as sparks continued to rain down every few seconds from the wire. Within seconds, sounds of weapons clashing and fists reaching their mark echoed around them. "Donnie! Get to Mikey!" Leo ordered, his twin katana reflecting the light of the sparks.
The purple-clad turtle nodded, even though the others couldn't really see it, and he made his way over to where he had last seen Mikey sprawled on the ground. He misjudged the distance slightly, though, and stumbled over a pair of legs. In the flickering light, he saw a glimpse of orange and immediately knelt down next to his brother. "Mikey? Mikey?" he hissed, not wanting to draw attention to himself.
He jumped as a loud bang echoed through the room. "Whoa!" Casey cried loudly. "That barely missed my ear!"
A moment later, Don heard the familiar shing of a katana slicing through metal. Don focused back on Mikey, yanking off his gloves and moving Mikey's coat to feel for a pulse on his wrist. Time seemed to freeze for a moment when he felt nothing. Then he suddenly felt a faint movement beneath his fingers, and he practically wilted with relief. The pulse was weak, but it was there. "Mikey?" he called again, running his hands lightly up Mikey's coat on the left side, trying to feel the wound.
"Hey, bro," Don replied. "We're here to get you out."
"Good," Mikey breathed. He hissed and tensed as Don's fingers found the wound in his shoulder. "Some Christmas, huh?"
"Yeah, this is becoming a regular thing with you, isn't it?" Don answered, trying and failing to keep the worry out of his voice. He could feel the blood-soaked scarf Mikey had wrapped around his shoulder. There was a lot of blood, and in the flickering darkness, he couldn't tell if it had stopped. Even if it had… it could have been because Mikey had lost so much blood already.
"At least I learned my lesson. I was prepared this year, right?" Mikey whispered weakly, his eyes sliding shut for a moment. "What with the tracker and all – came in handy, right?"
"Yeah, bro – you did good. C'mon, let's get you up," Don declared, grabbing his brother's uninjured arm and draping it across his shoulders as he rocked back on his heels, preparing to stand straight.
"Donnie!" the younger hissed urgently.
Don's eyes widened when he suddenly sensed a looming presence behind him. "And what do you think you're doing, freak?" Hun growled, latching his meaty hands on Don's shoulders, effectively pinning Mikey's arm. Don heard his brother hiss in pain as Hun started lifting them up.
"Back off!" a high-pitched voice suddenly exclaimed. There was the hollow thunk of a heavy object hitting its mark, and a moment later, the grip on the purple-clad turtle's shoulders slackened. Don hurriedly moved out of the way, pulling Mikey with him despite the yelps of pain, as the giant sank to his knees, moaning and clutching his head. The white-blue light from the sparks reflected dimly off the varnish of the baseball bat in April's hands. Don was dimly aware of a new reddish-orange glow casting light on the situation, but he was too stunned by the sight in front of him to figure out the implications at the moment.
The redhead tensed her body as she prepared to strike again. She yelped in surprise when the bat was caught in a meaty hand and jerked out of her grip. "Let's see if you can handle what you dish out," Hun snarled, raising the bat over his head. April stared up in terror, rooted to the spot.
Suddenly a blur of orange moved in front of the woman. "Back off," Mikey snarled, the crack in his voice mildly negating the sternness of the command. He thrust his hand forward, and Hun's body went rigid, a loud, strangled cry echoing from the back of his throat as his limbs twitched slightly. After a moment more, the gang leader toppled backwards, remaining motionless after he hit the ground with a gigantic thud.
The resounding thud caused everyone else to freeze in their positions. Then a thin, gangly thug squealed in fright. "Fire!"
Everyone turned and saw that the old sofa had caught flame from the sparks still falling from overhead. Flames lapped at the concrete floor, threatening to jump over to the entertainment center. "Let's get outta here!" another thug cried, and with that, those who were still conscious and able to move scrambled towards the doorway.
The footsteps nearly drowned out a faint moan and the sound of a plastic-coated object clattering to the floor. "Mikey!" Don exclaimed, rushing forward as the orange-clad turtle dropped to his knees. He looped an arm around Mikey's shoulders and slowly eased him back to the ground.
"What did he do to Hun?" Raph wondered as the rest of the Hamato clan gathered around them.
"Taser," Mikey groaned weakly. His eyes flicked up to April's. "You okay?"
April laughed shakily. "I don't think I'm the one you need to worry about, Mike. But yeah – I'm fine."
Mikey smiled faintly. "Good," he whispered as his eyes slid shut. His head lolled back limply over Don's arm.
"Mikey? Mikey!" Don exclaimed, pressing his trembling fingers against Mikey's neck, feeling for a pulse. After a heart-stopping moment, he felt it again – the faint, rapid beating of his brother's heart. It seemed almost fainter than before. "We've gotta get him out of here."
"Need I remind y'all of our other little problem?" Casey added nervously as the cackle of the fire grew steadily louder.
"Mister Jones is correct," Splinter said softly. "And there is a large pile of munitions we must worry about as well."
"Raph, help me out here," Don ordered, waving his brother. Raph nodded tensely as he knelt down on Mikey's other side, gently scooping the youngest turtle into a bridal carry as Don tried to keep Mikey's shoulder as immobile as possible.
"Don, what about…" Leo trailed off as Don glanced up sharply.
"The warehouse's sprinkler system should kick in right about –" Suddenly a mist fell down on them. "Now," Don finished wryly.
They all paused as Hun groaned from behind them, the water slowly reviving him. Other groans echoed from the few remaining thugs sprawled on the ground. "This way, my sons, before we must fight again. We cannot afford to tarry," Splinter urged, heading for the door as smoke began filling the room.
"April, can you go get the Battle Shell?" Leo urged. The redhead nodded and sprinted out the door.
The others hung around the doorway nervously as smoke streamed out past them, eyeing the unconscious turtle in Raph's arms. Suddenly Leo's eyes narrowed as he caught sight of something. "Donnie, what's this?" he asked, his voice dangerously soft, as he pointed at a burn mark on the side of Mikey's neck.
Don moved so he could examine the mark. His eyes widened, then narrowed in anger. "It's gotta be from that taser."
"They tased him?" Raph asked angrily.
"That must've been what knocked out the tracker," Don replied, his voice taut.
"You freaks won't be going anywhere!" a deep voice suddenly growled behind them. They whirled to see Hun staggering towards them through the smoke, his face twisted in anger, pain flashing in his eyes.
Leo, Splinter, Don, and Casey quickly moved in front of Raph and Mikey. "Don't even think about it, Hun," Casey growled fiercely, yanking his mask back down over his face and tapping a hockey stick in his hand.
Hun smirked and charged at them with a yell. Leo risked a glance over his shoulder and saw the lights of the Battle Shell blaze out from the alley as April started the vehicle up. "Raph, get Mikey out of here!" he ordered as the others charged before leaping into the fray himself.
Don leapt up as Hun swung his fist, twisting his own body to put as much force behind his bo as possible. The wood smacked loudly off Hun's shoulder, but it didn't seem to faze the giant. A split second later, Leo kicked at the man's knee. Hun stumbled, but managed to glance a blow to Leo's head, sending the blue-clad turtle crashing to the floor. "Leo!" Don exclaimed, moving to pull his brother out of harm's way as Hun prepared to strike again.
Splinter was suddenly there, rapidly kicking the Dragon in the chest, driving him back. "You have caused enough problems for one night!" the elderly rat exclaimed, water from the sprinkler systems dripping off his whiskers as he drove Hun further into the warehouse. With a final kick, the giant toppled again, narrowly missing a thug who was attempting to crawl out.
They all whirled at the sound of panic in Raph's voice. The red-clad turtle was inside the van, bent over the motionless form of his brother. He twisted his body so he could look at them. "HE STOPPED BREATHING!" he bellowed, his face filled with terror, before turning back to Mikey.
With a soft cry, Don rushed forward, scrambling into the van, the others hot on his tail. Raph had pulled off his coat and gloves, and was bent over Mikey, trying to force air into his brother's lungs. "C'mon, bro, breathe!" the typically hot-headed turtle begged, tears pricking at his eyes as he gently pressed down on Mikey's plastron, forcing the air back out.
Don quickly moved and grabbed Mikey's wrist. His face blanched. "I don't have a pulse!" he exclaimed.
"Damnit, Mikey, don't do this! It's Christmas Eve, for shell's sake!" Raph cried harshly, balling his hands into fists and slamming them down onto his brother's plastron, trying to get his brother's heart started again.
There was a ragged choking sound, and Mikey suddenly began breathing again, gasping feebly for air. Don almost felt a faint breeze at the collective sigh of relief that echoed through the vehicle. "April, head for the lair," Leo croaked, his shoulders slumping forward. He glanced up as Splinter laid a reassuring hand softly on his shoulder and was faintly surprised to see tears pricking at the sensei's eyes.
"He's gonna need at least one transfusion, maybe a couple," Don declared grimly as he slowly removed the blood-soaked scarf wrapped around Mikey's shoulder.
"I'll do it," Raph and Leo volunteered immediately.
"I figured you would," Don said with a small smile. "Casey, help me roll him up on his side a sec."
The vigilante gently slid his hands under Mikey's shell next to Don's hands, and together they rolled Mikey up on his right side. "Raph, get his coat off. Cut the sleeve – I don't want to move his arm if I can help it."
Raph pulled out a sai and obeyed silently, wincing as Mikey moaned suddenly as he peeled the bloody jacket away. He cursed softly as blood suddenly seeped out of a twin hole in the back of Mikey's shoulder.
"I was afraid of that. Leo, I need your scarf," Don said, holding out his hand. Leo immediately removed the deep blue scarf hanging around his neck and handed it to his brainy brother. Don folded it up and pressed it against the wound. "Ease him back slowly, Case," he ordered. "His weight should keep pressure on it."
"Will he survive, Donatello?" Splinter asked softly as Casey and Don slowly lowered Mikey back down.
Don yanked his own scarf from around his neck, using his bloodied hands to press the fabric against the entrance would tightly. "I can't say for sure at the moment, Sensei," he finally murmured, feeling all of their gazes on him, even April's as she drove, eyeing him in the rearview mirror. "Having an exit wound means he lost a lot more blood, but it also means I won't have to go in there and dig around for a bullet." He sighed, looking up at his brothers, tears tracking down his cheeks as he made eye contact with them. "But he's lost so much blood…"
"He'll pull through, Donnie," Leo said firmly, moving so he could place an arm around his brother's shoulders. "He's too stubborn to quit, and we won't let him go."
The first thing he became aware of was the faint scent of Christmas cookies in the air. Oh, crap. I never did finish those cookies. I hope April did – that's a lot of dough to go to waste, he thought dimly. Dude, Raph'll probably kill me, too, since I didn't have the cookies ready. Hope he didn't break my presents…
He tried to move, but paused as fire raced from his shoulder. He tried but failed to keep a small moan from escaping his throat. Over the pulsing heartbeat in his ears, he heard someone moving. "Mikey?" a familiar voice called softly.
"D-Donnie?" he croaked, struggling to force his eyes open. When did his eyelids start weighing twenty pounds each?
"Hey, bro," Don replied with a smile as Mikey's blue eyes finally slid open. The younger turtle blinked a few times, trying to bring his brother's face into focus. "How're you feeling?"
"Like I got mauled by a Triceraton," Mikey replied with a groan, his eyes flickering around and taking in his surroundings. His gaze froze when he spotted two figures on a nearby chair.
Raph was asleep, his head and shoulders resting on the edge of Mikey's bed. Klunk was curled up into a tiny ball, resting in the hollow on the back of Raph's neck. Don followed Mikey's shocked gaze and smiled faintly. "He hardly moved since we got you back here."
Mikey blinked at that. "Huh? How long have I been out?" he asked.
Don paused. "Three days," he declared finally.
Mikey blinked again. "I missed Christmas?" he exclaimed finally, his voice croaky as he lurched forward. He cried out softly as pain exploded from his shoulder again. Raph jerked awake with a start, sending a disgruntled Klunk sliding onto Mikey's bed with a soft thump.
"Whoa, easy, bro," Don cautioned as he gently pushed Mikey back down. "We really don't need you tearing any stitches."
"Mikey!" Raph exclaimed, blinking several times as he stared at his brother.
Mikey grinned despite his pain. "Dude, you need to get some sleep, bro. Your eyes are about as red as your mask."
Raph's bloodshot eyes narrowed. "Don't you ever do that again!" he suddenly exclaimed.
Mikey looked at him in confusion as Klunk mewled. "Do what?" he asked, absentmindedly scratching the cat behind the ears.
"Raph," Don warned when Raph's mouth flew open furiously. "We almost lost you a couple times, bro," he said gently to Mikey.
"Three times, Mikey. You stopped breathing three frickin' times," Raph added with a snarl.
Mikey blinked. "M'sorry," he mumbled, trying to melt back into his pillows.
"It ain't your fault, bro," Raph said more gently, his face softening.
"Mikey?" Leo called, suddenly appearing in the doorway. A grin broke out on his face when he locked eyes with his brother. "Mikey!"
"Hey, Leo. Merry belated Christmas, apparently," Mikey answered with a grin.
"Glad to have you back, my son," Splinter suddenly declared, appearing behind Leo.
"Mikey's awake?" Casey called. "Does that mean we can finally eat those cookies and open presents?"
"Casey!" April exclaimed indignantly as the pair slid into the room after Leo and Splinter.
"You mean you guys waited for me? Really?" Mikey asked in astonishment as they all gathered around him, looking happy and excited.
"Well, yeah, ya doofus," Raph declared, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "Ya can't open presents or eat cookies without the whole family."
Mikey grinned. "Well, then, can we open presents? I wanna see what I got!"
"Mikey, you should probably rest some more. You're still not recovered," Don said.
"Aw, c'mon, Donnie – it's Christmas! Give a guy a break! Please?" Mikey begged, looking at his brother with large eyes, doing his best to suppress a yawn.
Don eyed him knowingly. "You're about ready to fall asleep right now, bro," he declared.
"Am… not," Mikey replied through a large yawn. When they all eyed him, he admitted, "Okay, so maybe I am."
"Get some sleep, my son. We will not open presents without you," Splinter said gently, patting Mikey's leg underneath all the blankets. Mikey smiled, his eyes sliding shut again.
"Though I can't guarantee the cookies will still be around," Casey added with a smirk, making Mikey's eyes fly open once more.
"Don't worry, Mike. I'll make some just for you," April promised, smacking Casey in the shoulder.
"Ow, babe! That hurt!"
"You really need to toughen up, Jones."
"Guys, shaddup! Let him sleep!"
"Raph, you're not one to talk – you've hardly slept at all the past few days."
"You aren't much better, Fearless – I know you haven't been sleeping either."
"Guys, if you don't shut up, I will kick you out physically."
"And I will assist him if need be, my sons. Let Michelangelo rest."
Mikey smiled faintly as sleep pulled at his mind once more. There really is no place like home for Christmas, he thought vaguely. As he drifted off, he heard a CD playing faintly from the kitchen, underlying the soft arguments flicking back and forth over his head.
I'll be home for Christmas.
You can count on me…
A/N: And that's that! Once again, thanks so much for reading and reviewing - I really do appreciate your comments. I hope you all have a safe and happy year, and we'll see you later!