*Hi there. Welcome to the first fanfic I ever wrote. It has recently been through an overhaul. Never read it? Welcome for the first time. If you have come across it before, take another look. Although it has the same number of chapters, there are several extended/new scenes. I didn't completely rewrite it. In many ways, I tried to keep the original style intact, including the older spelling of Don's name.

Redoing this also gave me the chance to connect my series. As such, you will find reference to events in my prequel side (Meraki164) with Cost of Honor (coming soon, I swear) and earlier placed stories on this account, like The World I Know.

I own nothing related to the TMNT. If you end up enjoying this, check me out on Meraki164 for stories featuring the turtles in their younger years. Love me, hate me...fanfiction is in my blood, and these boys are my first love.

Thanks for reading.


Donatello couldn't remember ever feeling so angry before. Leaving at that exact moment had been absolutely necessary, or it may have come to physical blows with Leonardo and Raphael. He'd never struck one of his brothers out of anger before, so he simply stormed out of the den into their underground world.

He furiously turned his cell phone off, and ignored his motor bike. He needed to burn some steam. Most of the time when they got on him like that, he'd simply retreat to sanctuary of his Lab, but today they'd pushed him way over the edge with their accusations.

Don walked for a long time in silence, only the faint sound of the overhead traffic accompanying him. Mike wouldn't be happy with him for running off without a word, but he didn't want to think about it right then. He was so caught up in his own thoughts, he was hardly aware of the passing time, or the miles he logged on foot.

It was nearly evening by the time he realized he'd been gone for almost two hours. He would need to call home and check in with Splinter soon - and Mike had to be wondering where he'd gone.

As he passed under another tunnel, he suddenly realized he'd crossed well inside Central Park territory. Don stopped under a grate, catching sight of the painted sky, alive with colors of a vibrant sunset. He stood stock-still, listening carefully for a few moments. When the turtle was sure he didn't hear anything, he pried out the grate and hoisted himself up onto the pavement.

It was different to be able to see the "free world" in the light of the setting sun, rather than the darkness of midnight. Fall had always been his favorite season, and he often regretted getting to view so little of Central Park in the daylight.

Don decided he would just hunker down for a few minutes and enjoy the remainder of it- then he would get in contact with Splinter. He settled behind an outcropping of rocks, and sighed deeply to relax. Donatello remained that way for a while, simply listening to the wind and staring mutely into the darkening sky above him.

The sound of an approaching car interrupted his relaxed state, and he immediately jolted to attention. He flattened down behind the rocks, inwardly cursing himself for taking the chance of being seen. On the other side the vehicle had screeched to a stop, and Donatello heard doors slamming angrily. It sounded like several people had gotten out at the same time.

"That's it - we finish now, we finish here! " one of them thundered. "We've pushed our luck as it is! " His accent was clearly foreign, and strange to Donnie's ears. It sounded...Australian?

"I still say we might get more from this by keeping her alive for a couple of days," another argued. "False hope could get us more results."

Now they really had his attention. Staying low to the ground, he inched closer to try for a hidden glance of who was out there. Raising his head cautiously, he saw four men gathered in the road.

A fifth stranger was standing to the side, heavy hand on a slighter figure. From first glance he could tell it was a woman, he guessed a young one. Long jet black hair hung loose and completely disheveled, while a seething glare gave her light blue eyes a cold quality. Her wrists were lashed tightly behind her back, and she had been gagged to keep her quiet.

Something about the look of her told Donatello she had not come quietly. He had a difficult decision to make now, rather quickly. It would have been much easier if his brothers were there, and if he hadn't already noticed that all of these strange men were packing heat.

He took quick stock of the supply on his person - his phone would do no good now, they would never reach him in time. Don had his bo, a knife, and he also had two smoke pellets. It would have to be enough.

Pulling his cloak tighter to conceal his appearance somewhat, he crept closer to the van. The heated discussion was continuing, and the man holding onto the girl was merely watching in silent amusement.

Donatello swallowed hard, summoning his courage. Using all the stealth his ninja training could afford he came up behind the guard, sweeping the unsuspecting man off his feet with his bo before he even realized what was happening.

Don seized the girl by the arm as the argument suddenly ended, and curses rang out. She struggled furiously against him as he shoved her behind the van, and gunfire erupted.

He cut the thongs on her wrists with a decisive swipe of his knife and quickly got her attention again. "I'm trying to help you - quit fighting me!" he ordered shortly.

The men weren't about to let him walk off with her. They raced around the side to meet them, weapons raised threateningly.

"Stay with me, unless I go down. If that happens, then run for all you're worth..." he said under his breath to the girl.

Quickly he threw one of the smoke pellets in their direction, pushed her in front of him, and started running. Gunfire erupted through the haze, and he kept himself squarely behind her to shield the woman as he guided her back to the grate.

Something sharp struck him in the side, but he ignored it and kept going the remaining few feet. As he turned to hurl his second smoke pellet he heard rapid gunfire again, and had a shocking pain in his left shoulder. Knowing immediately that he'd been shot, he threw the grenade, and staggered to the grate. One more glance backwards confirmed the men were lost in another smokescreen, and wouldn't see what he was about to do.

Gritting his teeth against the pain, he pulled the cover out, and quickly lowered the teenager into the sewer. He leaped into the darkness after her dizzily, and grunted with effort as he pulled the cover back down. He had absolutely no intention of taking a stranger anywhere near their den - but he had to get her away from Central Park.

"Trust me?" He gasped, and she nodded.

Head swimming strangely, he guided her quickly away from the opening into the safety of the tunnels. Don refused to pause until the tunnel around him was spinning, and he nearly lost his footing.

"Okay," he said, breathless."I have to stop."

"You saved my life! That was some hardcore superhero stunt you just pulled." When she spoke for the first time, her voice carried the same accent as the men. "Are you hurt? It's hard to tell with the...whatever you're wearing.'

"Yes," he said under severe duress. "I have to do something about it before this gets any worse, but there's...something you should know. I'm not wearing a weird costume."

"It's not a..." She instantly pulled on his cloak. The girl stared at him in stunned amazement for a few seconds, before focusing on his badly bleeding shoulder. "What do I do?"

He gazed back, baffled. "This doesn't bother you?"

"You took a bullet for me - I don't care what you are. How do I help?"

"Need to slow down the bleeding. I'm already feeling what I've lost."

She took off her jacket and started using it to apply gradual pressure as he sank to the ground. "Where are we?"

"Underground. I thought you might need to hide. Apply more pressure, please. Don't be afraid to hurt me. Losing a lot of blood is more dangerous at this point."

She obeyed with a grimace, pressing her hand a lot harder against his shoulder. He hissed under his breath as she encouraged him to lay back completely.

"Those men are terrorists - they would have killed me. Thank you."

He attempted reply came out as mumble, and left him wondering why his mind felt so cloudy all of the sudden. Was he passing out from blood loss already?

As the young woman started to cover him with his own cloak, she strangely gasped. He felt another sting when she pried something loose from his side, and tried to see what the teen was looking at in the beam of his flashlight.

"Oh no...Are you really tired?" she asked.

"Yeah...what...what is that?"

"It's part of a tranquilizer bit."

"A what?" The terror over drugs was higher than being shot produced.

She pushed him down lightly when he attempted to sit up. "It's a sedative - they used one on me earlier. All that's left of this one is a broken piece, so you might not have even gotten a full dose. It isn't deadly, in any case."

"For you..." he said pointedly. "I'm different. I can't..." He broke off when his inability to focus became glaring, hand suddenly struggling with his watch. "My brothers..." he muttered softly. "They'll come."

With that pronouncement he slumped to the ground. He felt soft fingers probing him, patting his face, but he couldn't respond to her. As consciousness faltered, he couldn't help chiding himself for being a world-class moron.