Sorry that is has taken me SO LONG to finish this story. Life comes first.
On with the story…
Don would have strangled Renet if Leo and Mikey hasn't grabbed him. Raph was at Anya's side holding her up while she held her abdomen, panting and crying.
Dr. Perry motioned to Raph. "Bring her here." Karai shook her head. "No, bring her with me. We have a medical facility equipped to accommodate Anya's needs." She emphasized the word "need."
Don yanked his arms out of Leo and Mikey's grips. "I'm fine." He looked at Karai. "Fine." He helped Raph, wrapping Anya's arm around his neck. "This does not mean that I like you or trust you." Karai nodded and turned to show the way to the room.
Before Don left, he turned to Renet, making sure that Raph was able to assist Anya out into the hallway. He approached Renet, fists clenched. Leo made a move and Don spat. "Back off Leo. I won't kill her…yet." He focused on Renet. "Why?"
Renet was crying softly. Large tears wet her face and her collar. In any other situation, Don would have comforted her. Not today. Today, he wanted to shove that wand into her abdomen until it came out the other side. Renet wiped her tears on her sleeve. "It..it had to be done. To fix the time stream. I'm so sorry." She averted her eyes to avoid the rage her saw her Don's eyes.
"So, because you screwed up…I suffer?"
Renet sighed. "Because a price had to be paid."
Don froze. "Anya or the baby?"
Renet shook her head, crying again.
Don did charge her this time, screaming. "Anya or the baby?" But before he could reach her, she disappeared in a ball of light. The last words he heard from her was "I'm sorry." Don fell on his knees where Renet had been standing. Raph came in then, panting. "Don…Don! Anya needs you."
Don wiped the tears that he didn't realize he had shred, regarding Raph for the first time. "I'm coming," came out in a whisper. He stood. He saw Leo and Mikey with concerned expressions. He turned and followed Raph down the hallway. He was in doctor mode now. Unemotional. He didn't to be that now.
He entered the facility and took inventory of the room. It was a sterile laboratory, set up like an operating room. Gurneys, repertory machines, sterile equipment…and an incubator. Don shivered. The incubator was for his child. If Karai was his enemy…he discarded the thought. Anya needed him now. Karai directed them to the standard table and Raph got Anya up on the table. Dr. Petty moved the ultrasound machine over to table. He lifted her shirt and applied the gel. Don and Karai entered the sterile room to scrub up.
Raph was left with Anya, who had begun to scream, and Dr. Perry. Anya grabbed Raph's arm, bringing him out of his daze. "Hold my hand." Raph took her arm. Dr. Perry turned his head and yelled to Don. "The child is in distress. Heart rate 180. It's also transforming at an alarming rate."
Raph looked at Dr. Perry. "She's going to be alright, right?"
Dr. Perry smiled. "Of course."
Anya grunted. "Right here."
Raph smiled. "Good girl."
Back in the lounge, Leo and Mikey were pacing. April and Casey were looking for food. "You need to eat to keep your strength up." April told them as she opened cabinets. "Don is going to need you."
Leo grinned and walked to the wall intercom. "Please bring a spread of food for my guests." The intercom came to life. "Yes, Master."
Mikey frowned. "Dude. I'm so not going to get used to that for like 20 minutes."
Back in the medical facility, Don and Karai were prepping Anya for surgery. Anya was now going in and out of consciousness. Don had put in an IV and was hoping the fluids would help. He looked at Raph. He touched his shoulder, causing him to jump. In another situation, it would have been humorous to get a rise out of Raph, but not today. "Raph, go with the others. It may get a lot worse from here on out and I need to focus on her and not you. I don't think I can handle it right now."
Raph released Anya's hand. He hugged Don. "Sure." He left and Don sighed.
Anya reached for Don and he quickly held her hand. His mind cursed himself for touching her. He would have to scrub again before he helped with the surgery. It disgusted him to think that way but he knew it was an important step to insure Anya didn't get any infections.
Anya looked at Don. "Something's wrong."
Dr. Perry answered. "Anya, we need to administer anesthesia. The amount of pain you will experience will be too great for you."
Anya looked at Don for confirmation. He nodded. Anya was about to protest when five little sharp fingers raked across her stomach causing everyone to gasp and back up. Anya screamed then went silent. The ear piercing sound of the blood pressure machine beeping, Don snapped out of his shock first and grabbed the scalpel. He took one breath before holding it and cutting into Anya's abdomen, while Karai administered the medications.
Raph was on the telephone with Lydia, assuring her that her mommy and 'daddy' were okay and they would be home soon. He hated lying to the child but she was too young to understand. After Lydia seemed satisfied her grandparents got on the phone and Raph gave them the real story. Anya's parents sobbed, telling Raph that Lydia was out of the room. He hung up with a cold spot in his stomach. He looked up to see Leo staring at him. It made him rage. Leo was always butting into personal space. He stood at went back into the hallway. It annoyed him that Leo followed him. He turned. "What's your problem?"
Leo opened his mouth but was stopped by Master Splinter. "Leo, may I speak with you?"
Leo looked at Raph, who grunted and walked down the hallway. Leo turned. "Yes, Master."
Leo followed Splinter out onto the balcony. Leo noticed the stiff stance of his Master. Leo knelt. "Master, I'm sorry my actions hurt you but this is what I want. Not being the Shredder but being with Karai. I have not forgotten my promise to you to protect my honor and family."
Splinter interrupted. "My son, stand." Leo stood. Splinter signed. "When the Ancient One told me that you would become the Shredder, I rejected it. My revenge against Saki has blinded me."
"No, Master. It has not blinded you. You love us. You protect us. I don't blame you."
Splinter slumped, defeated. It made Leo upset to see his Master and father look….weak.
"I should have trusted your decision, Leonardo. I should have trusted that you would make the right decisions for your family." Leo froze when he watched Splinter bow. "I am proud of you, my son. The Shredder."
Leo gently made Splinter stand. "No, Father. You will see. I will make you proud. Right now, I need to talk to Raph." Leo left and walked down the hallway to find Raph standing out one of the large windows. "Can I talk to you?"
Raph snorted. "Not like I can stop you, oh mighty Shredder." Leo sighed. He will not get mad. Raph opened his arms. "I'm waiting."
Leo took a deep breath and prayed for patience and guidance. He began. "Karai and I have been in love for a long time. Years. We tried to hate each other. We did. But, it never lasted. We snuck around for two years before getting caught. I tried to forget her. To focus on my training, but it didn't work."
Raph snorted, crossing his arms. "Clearly. But, why become the Shredder. Of all people to assume…why him?"
Leo nodded. "Fair question. It was a duty to Karai's bloodline. A male inherits the Shredder title. Since Karai is the last in the bloodline, it goes to her husband, me. But, Raph, I promise you. I plan on changing the reputation of the Shredder. We shall always be the ones who finally defeated him for good. The Shredder will never be able to hurt anyone we love again."
"You sure about that?"
Leo stepped back. "The fact that you think I could ever hurt you or our family hurts me. I'm disappointed in you."
Raph grinned. "I wouldn't be me if I couldn't piss you off." He frowned deeply. "I don't agree with it. You screwed your family for Karai. You have to live with that…not me. In my book, you'll always be a traitor."
Leo nodded. "I hope to change your mind someday. I'm not asking you to forgive or understand my actions. I'm asking you to give me a chance. And if, if you ever see him become evil like the old Shredder, I am making it your responsibility to stop me."
Raph froze. "What?"
Leo approached Raph. "You heard me. You and I are equally matched. You beat me once. If I turn 'bad,' end me."
"No." Raph stormed down the hallway, hitting the wall occasionally with a fist and grunt. Leo was the Shredder…the foe they had fought since they could walk. The reason for their existence…now…
Raph stopped. He heard a sob. Don.
He moved to the door to the lab. He lifted his hand to knock but when he heard the heart breaking sound of Don's sob and cries, he froze. His heat broke too for his brother. What happened? He took two steps back and slid down the wall, coming to rest on his tail, hugging his legs to his plastron.
Don was broken. With shaking hands, he administered the last medication and blood transfusion into Anya's IV. He fell into an empty chair, observing his surroundings. Anya's blood still covered his hands, body and face from where blood has sprayed on him and he had wipes his face with his arm.
Anya was going to live. Barely. She was stitched up from abdomen to groin in an angry scar that traveled down her body like a river. She was going to need extensive rehabilitation and additional surgeries to correct the damage to her body. Don shuttered at the memory.
When Don frantically made the first incision, the baby ripped open the rest of the way, screeching. Don didn't remember any details of the child. It was bloody and deformed. His nightmares had become reality. Anya died twice. He lost her heart rate twice for agonizing seconds at a time. Don had frozen when the baby emerged. Dr. Perry had taken the child and wrapped it in the blanket, removing it from the room to clean it up and evaluate. Don returned to Anya. Karai had put in a blood transfusion into the IV. Don took a surgical instrument and went to clean out the gaping hole in Anya's stomach when he came across something hard. He lifted it out and let out a sob.
Now, Don sat holding Anya's hand. The "creature" was now in the incubator, where Karai was cleaning him up. It was a boy. He had transformed since ripping his mother open. Dr. Perry had declared him healthy. Don couldn't look at him yet. He came out eleven pounds, 2 ounces but now was eight pounds. Don looked up when Dr. Perry came over to him, the child in his arms. "Don, please."
Don looked up at Dr. Perry. "He almost killed Anya."
Dr. Perry sighed. "He didn't mean to do it. He was in distress. Donatello. Please, your son needs you."
That brought Don out of his stupor. That's right. This creature was his son. He relented and took the child in his arms and was shook at the immediate rush to emotions that came to him. The child was a true mix. He was human in appearance except for a light oil skin tone. He had big brown eyes that looked at him with just as much amazement. His hair was brown and covered his entire head, which surprised Don. He didn't expect hair. His upper lip came down to a point like a beak but was soft like human lips. There were five fingers, three toes. Don opened the blanket to see that the child has hard shell plates lining his back and spine but did not protrude like his. The plates on his chest were flexible, bending and curving with his movements. The only evidence of a carapace was a small cross-like shape that went from the child's sternum to groin, then crisscrossed under his pectoral muscles.
He was alert and cooing at Don. He melted. His son. Karai came to take the child for further testing. Don felt a loss and the child reacted by growing a few inches and turning red. Don stood and caressed the child's head. "It's okay. You are safe." This seemed to satisfy the child and he returned to his normal size.
Don thought about how the child had changed before all their eyes into a more turtle-like creature. Dr. Perry took over closing Anya up so Don could get the child away from Anya to not cause her further damage and into Karai's awaiting arms. Karai had to hold the child until it calmed down. Don feared this child may just be the monster from his nightmares. But, then, the child realized he was not in danger, reverted to what appeared to be his nature state, relaxing into their arms. Don shook his head, coming out of his memory. "What?"
Karai looked at the other table. "Do you want me to make arrangements to have your son buried?"
Don shook his head. "No, thank you. I want to wait for Anya." Don stared at the white sheet that held his second son. They never knew that Anya was carrying twins. The twin was smaller and appeared to be a true copy of Donatello and his brothers. He did not seem to have the transformative abilities that the other son did and Dr. Perry believed that this is why the child could not survive. Don took in a deep breath to stop the tears. The child had lived…for two minutes. Don had held him until he died. He touched his little hands and feet before placing him on the table, bringing a white sheet over him.
Don came out of his memory to see Dr. Perry redressing Anya's bandages. "Donatello. These wounds are going to need constant attention. She will need to stay in a sterile environment. Returning her to the Lair is not an option."
Karai interrupted. "As my brother-in-law you are entitled to my shelter and protection. If you wish, I can have a suite made for you and your family."
Don realized that when Karai said "family," she meant Anya and his son. He nodded. "Thank you, I accept." Karai nodded, leaving the room.
Don moved to Anya's side, taking her hand again. "The wound was clean but her uterus was damaged beyond repair. I closed the wounds but she will most likely need a hysterectomy." Dr. Perry only nodded. "I estimate that she will need four surgeries to correct the damage made by…my son."
Dr. Perry interjected. "Your son did what he needed to do to survive. Do not fault instinct."
Don nodded. "Agreed." Don was about to protest when Anya opened her eyes. She whispered, wincing. "Okay?" He kissed her forehead, whispering, "He's okay."
Anya smiled, nodding. Her face immediately scrunched up in pain. She attempted to touch her abdomen but Dr. Perry stopped her. "Anya, the damage is extensive. He still and try not to move." Anya opened her eyes wider. "See him?"
Don nodded, leaving Anya's side. He opened the incubator and lifted the baby up. He brought the child to Anya's side. She cried, reaching her hand out. Don moved closer so she could touch his face, head and hand. The baby cooed at her, turning a reddish shade like a blush. Anya let her head roll of one side. "Tired."
Don nodded. "It was hard, Anya. You are scarred. I'm so sorry." Anya didn't seem to have heard him as she slipped back to sleep. She opened her eyes slowly. "What happened?"
Don explained the birth to her, watching Anya's face. She didn't make any expressions or show any emotion until he told her about their other son. "We had another son…but he…he wasn't developed enough. He didn't live."
Anya let out of sob. "No."
Don took her hand, cradling the baby in his arms. "His lungs were undeveloped."
Anya was crying, wiping her tears with her free hand. "No."
Don kissed her forehead. "Our other son lived. He is strong." Don choked back his own sob. "He and his brother need a name."
Anya continued to cry as she nods. "You name them."
Don smiled. "No. I named Lydia. You should name our sons."
Anya was silent in thought. Finally, she took the child's hand in Don's arm. "I want to name him Oz."
Anya nodded. "It means strength. It is something he has and will need in his life." Her eyes moved to the silent form on the table. "I need to think about our other son."
Don nodded. "Take your time."
Anya looked at Don. "Do the others know?"
Don shook his head. "Not yet. I wanted you to see them first."
Karai came up. "Your suite is being prepared." She looked at Anya. "I'm sorry for your loss and congratulate you on your new life together." She looked to Don. "May I place your son in…the containment until arrangements can be made?"
Anya whimpered. "Can I hold him?"
Don looked to Karai then Anya. "Yes." He gave Oz to Karai. "I'll do it."
Don went over and uncovered the lifeless child. He brought him over to Anya's bedside. She cried, touching the child's head. "Oh Don. He's a mini-you."
Don could feel the overwhelming feeling of loss building up in his chest like ice in this throat. "I know," he croaked.
Anya touched Don's arm. "Can we bury him at my family's house?" Don touched her hand, nodding, allowing the unchecked tears to fall down his large face.
Anya covered her mouth holding back a sob. "I want to sleep."
Don looked at her vitals. "I could give you a sedative. It won't last long but you'll sleep."
Anya nodded. "Please. So tired."
Don administered the medication and when he was sure that she was stable and safe, he swaddled his son and placed him in a containment unit. He had to force his arm to close the door. He retrieved Oz from Karai and went to see his awaiting family.
Raph jumped up when the door opened. "Don?"
Don came towards him. "Raph, meet your nephew."
Oz was dressed in a blue onesie, which don didn't want to know where Karai got it. He wrapped the baby up but Oz pushed his arms out resting them on Don's carapace.
Raph looked at the baby with awe. "Hey, little guy. I'm your uncle Raph."
The baby's wide brown eyes stared back. It nuzzled close to Don but did not cry.
Raph walked with Don down the hall. He opened the door for Don. They walked in to the stunned faces of his family and friends. Mikey was the first one to speak. "Thank the Turtle Gods he looks like his mother."
Raph barked and hit Mikey up-side the head. They all crowded around Don to be at the baby. April smiled at the baby and he returned the smile. "Do, what's the baby's name?"
"His name is Oz."
Leo smirked. Renet had been right. Leo then noticed the haggard look on his brother's face and the puffiness around his eyes. He had been crying. He asked the question, fearful of the answer, "How's Anya?"
"Anya survived." He swallowed hard. "She's hurt, bad. She will need a lot of corrective surgeries to get her back," he shook his head. "She will never be the same." Don let tears fall before saying, "We lost a son."
Everyone froze. Raph asked, "Another son?"
Don nodded. "Twins" Tears now freely fell down his cheeks. "But, he didn't make it. He was just too small, too undeveloped. He was just like us. A mini-mutant turtle."
April came up to Don, hugging him around the shoulders. "I'm so sorry, Don."
Oz seemed to realize that people were sad. He lifted his little hand up, touching Don's face. He smiled down at the baby, kissing his hand. "Oz, made it."
Mikey put his hands out. "I want to hold him."
Don smiled. "Of course."
Mickey nearly jumped for job. "Come to uncle Mikey." Oz went to Mikey and was content. He was looking around the room, curious.
Raph looked to Don. "Is he…okay?"
Don nodded. "I think so, as far as I can tell. He does have transformative abilities. When he was born, he turned into a turtle, like us, protecting him." Don didn't mention that Oz was terrifying in his turtle form and what that form did to Anya.
Casey took the opportunity to bear hug Don. "You're a dad. Congrats."
Don laughed for the first time in what felt like ages. "I guess I am." His laughed died. "Then, why do I feel so sad."
Splinter came to him then, placing a hand on his head. "My son, you have just witnessed the greatest joy and greatest sadness anyone could go through. You gained and lost a son in a matter of minutes. Anya is still in danger. No one here faults you for not being completely satisfied with this result."
Don nodded. "Thank you, Master."
Mikey brought Oz to Don. "Oz wants his daddy."
Don opened his arms and took his son, whose skin was changing from a blush red to purple then back to a dark olive color.
Mikey laughed. "He's a living mood ring."
Raph smacked Mikey over the head. "Idiot."
Mikey shrugged. "What?"
Raph cleared his throat. "Could we…see the other one? Your other son?"
Don looked up. "Why?"
Raph shrugged. "I feel like we should see him, pay our respects, you know?"
Don looked at his brothers and father, who were nodding. He nodded. "Come."
Everyone entered the lab. Mikey gagged at the large amounts of blood on the floor and tables. Don noted that Anya had been moved somewhere. He would have to find out soon.
Don unwrapped his son while Leo held Oz. They were all silent when Don finally revealed the tiny still body of his son. Even Oz stared in silence.
Raph stepped forward, reaching and gently touching the baby's hand. "Sleep well, little warrior."
Mikey, then Leo, Don and finally Master Splinter placed their hand on the child and said a short prayer asking the spirits to guide and care for the child in the afterlife. When they were done, Don wrapped the child again, he kissed the top of the child's head. "Sleep well, my son, my boushi." Anya watched from her bed at the video display of love between the turtles, Splinter and her dead son.
Don smiled. "His name is Kameko."
Mickey asked, "What does it mean?"
One more chapter to go.