A/N: Thanks again for all the comments guys! I'm trying something new for this story, and all the encouragement means a lot!

Into the Fire
Chapter 3

Raph knew that he was going to loose it and ninja kick that damn bird if it didn't get the hell outta his sewer in the next twenty seconds. He probably would have done it already if he could've gotten his eyes open. As it was, he was only partially successful in the 'returning to consciousness' department.

Whatever had hit him had hit hard, and he could only hope that something hadn't been an enemy. Although, he wouldn't have been willing to bet on that. Stupid turtle luck.

And that damned bird still hadn't gone, although now it was occurring to Raph that he probably wasn't in the sewer anyway, so that might not be the bird's fault.

That's what he hated the most about being knocked unconscious. It always screwed with your head, and it was super disorienting when you were trying to wake up but things were coming at you all out of order.

Like it was only now that he was starting to realize he was lying on damp grass and the air didn't smell at all like the city.

Raph reached into his belt, removing his sai, and threw it over to where he could hear the bird. He missed it, but then he hadn't been trying to kill it. The stupid thing gave an indignant tweet and flew away with the noisy flapping of its wings.

With that distraction taken care of, the red banded turtle could now turn his attention to the rather difficult task of getting his eyelids to cooperate. After a couple of false starts, he managed to persuade all rebellious body parts that he was in charge and they were going to do what he wanted them to.

Now he knew for sure that he was in a very bright clearing in some kind of forest, but he'd already deduced that much so it wasn't helpful. It wasn't any part of a forest he recognized. Slowly he sat up, looking himself over. He wasn't chained, and had no injuries. That meant he hadn't been attacked and left to die.

That much was good.

He hauled himself up to his feet and went to retrieve his sai from under the tree a few feet away. It was completely clean, meaning he hadn't been in any kind of fight. That was interesting.

A groan behind him caught Raph's attention and he turned, sai ready to be thrown at anyone who shouldn't be there. Instead he saw Don, lying on his stomach on the ground, and obviously slowly regaining consciousness himself even though he didn't look hurt either.

There was a note lying on top of Don's bag o' tricks that was on the ground beside his brother. The teenaged terrapin ninja frowned at this new development and snatched it as Donatello started to awaken further.

"My sons," it read, "the object of this training is quite simple. Find your way home without splitting up or injuring each other. I hope that you will take the time to sort out your differences so that our family may be complete once more."

It was signed in flawless kanji by their sensei.

Raph made a face as he dropped the note back onto the bag. Right, he was here because Donnie was still too big for his britches and had picked a fight with him. Now he was going to have to spend who knows how long with the holier-than-though Leonardo replacement. Wasn't that just peachy?

"How you gonna' know if we split up anyway, sensei?" Raph questioned the note. Of course the teen couldn't really doubt that the rat would know, somehow. He always did.

The turtle did a quick rundown of himself, making sure that he hadn't been given anything extra, but there was only what he'd packed for the trip.

Okay, so maybe Donnie hadn't been totally wrong that packing something other than his sai would have been a good idea, but the brainiac didn't need to know that.

Speaking of his oh so intelligent little brother…

Raphael gave the smaller turtle a none too gentle nudge with his foot, "Hey insomnia-turtle, I know you don' get much sleep, but now ain't the time to be catchin' up on it."

Donatello groaned, opening his eyes and blinking blurrily. "Raph? Where the shell are we?"

"No clue," the older turtle responded honestly, picking up the note and shoving it into Donnie's hands as he sat up. "All I know's what's written there."

The purple masked turtle scowled at him, pulling the note up to a readable level and scanning it quickly before rolling his eyes, "well, this is just perfect."

"You're tellin' me. Here I was thinkin' we were just gonna' be sent out in the sewer's for a few days."

"That was stupid. We know those sewers better than anyone. There'd be no training involved," Don rolled his eyes. "At least sensei left me—us—with the stuff I packed, so we're not totally hopeless."

Raph growled, not missing the insult to his intelligence or the jab at his lack of preparation. "Oh yes, I should thank my lucky stars I have the great and powerful Leo version 2.0 here to help me out in my time o' need."

Donnie ignored him, as per usual. Insulting him got even less reaction of him than it had Leo back in the old days, but that was fine by Raph. Because he knew as well as any of them that it was when Don was quietest that he was angriest. If he was ignoring you instead of trying to talk things out, you were really getting under his shell.

"We should probably head east first," Donatello muttered to himself, standing up and shouldering his pack. "Obviously you can't go any further east than New York City, and it's likely they didn't drop us off too far from home. So, logically, we should head east until we hit a road and figure it out from there."

"Oh, what are we gonna' do, ask the friendly kid at the gas station to give us direction to New York?" Raph scowled. Don's idea made sense, but as usual he was thinkin' too much with his head. The older turtle's gut told him that sensei wouldn't make it that easy for them. "Or do ya' have some magical road reading gismo in that bag a yours?"

Don scowled at him, clutching his bag protectively, "you're just jealous that you don't have a better idea."

"Just 'cause Leo ain't here don't mean you're the leader," Raph shot back, pushing his way into Don's personal space. As expected, the slighter turtle stepped back, intimidated by his brother's greater size. A small part of Raph groaned, wishing that Donnie would show some real backbone for once and really just face him head on.

No, the fight back in the lair didn't count. Leo'd gotten in the way, and Don hadn't been playing fair anyway.

…Not that Don usually did…

"I never said it did. I'm just trying to be the rational one here. We can't just go barreling off in any random direction and hope we get lucky. We haven't got enough supplies for that."

"Which is my fault for not thinkin' to grab 'em, isn't it?"

Donnie didn't respond, but the way his eyes narrowed and his teeth sank into his bottom lip was all the answer Raph needed.

"Of course you may know better, Donnie, but I think we should stock up on supplies first. I may be stupid, 'o course, but even if we go your way, we don't know you're right. Could still take us a long time to get home, and we don' know how often we'll find what we need."

A scowl crossed over Donatello's face, and Raph smirked. He had him with that one. Raphael one, Donatello…probably in the negatives somewhere. Less than one, anyway.

"Fine, we'll do it your way. I brought empty containers; we'll start with finding some water and filling them, if that's okay with you, of course, Raphael. I'd hate to think I'm over stepping my bounds here."

Raph wanted to argue with that, if only to get back at him for the sarcastic tone, but could come up with nothing to say. Finding a stream was pretty obviously the first thing the should do, and a part of him was kind of glad that Don had brought along empty containers as well. Obnoxiously over-prepared of him, but still with some good points.

Instead, he settled on an indistinct grumble of "whatever" and a half-shrug. Don looked at him suspiciously, but when Raph offered nothing else, simply wrinkled his beak and set off down a small deer path that led out of the clearing. Chances were good that if they followed this long enough, they would find water.

As he watched his brother's form disappearing into the trees, Raphael couldn't help rolling his eyes before following. This was going to be a long trip.