Disclaimer: I wish I owned them because I would make the series a lot more dramatic. Sadly I don't…

Author Notes: This little plot bunny attacked my dreams last night and wouldn't stop bothering me until I typed this out. So here it is.

I can dream of the weirdest things sometimes…

Formatting and minor editing: 8/14/18


Process of Elimination


"I think I've got it!"

There were times Raphael seriously wanted to smack his younger brother over the head. Preferably with a blunt object that would make a satisfying 'thunk' when it hit Mikey's hollow head. Usually when Raph had the urge to do this, he would with no questions asked, however, he was slightly preoccupied at the moment. Therefore he had to wait on his 'annoying little brother smack' until he wasn't quite so busy with certain matters.

"Mikey! Enough with the games! We've got too figured out how to get out of here before we drown!" Luckily, Raphael could always rely on Leonardo to chastise Mikey when he couldn't. Of course, the oldest turtle rarely ever hit Mikey -especially with a blunt object- much to Raphael's dismay. It was just so much more satisfying when he heard the hollow 'thunk' that confirmed to Raph that Michelangelo's head was indeed hollow and therefore rarely used. The only times Leo had ever hit the youngest turtle was when he had been particularly annoying for a long period of time and -for whatever reasons- the two of them were stuck together with no escape for the entirety of that time. Then and only then would Leonardo smack the younger turtle in the head but it barely amounted to more than a warning tap that Mikey would usually blow out of proportions for the sympathetic looks and attention.

"No really, I think I've got it!"

"Mikey…" Raph growled threateningly as he shifted the dead weight he was holding more onto his left arm to give the right arm a much needed reprieve. They had enough problems as it was that they didn't need Mikey to cause anymore, which with Mikey could happen at any given moment. There were times that Raph was positive that the orange banded turtle would only need to breath and the next thing they knew they're forced to save the world from an alien threat, or monsters, or some other highly absurd thing that could only come from one of Mikey's comic books. "Stop messing with that stupid box and do something constructive for once."

"Like trying to find that trap door," Leonardo said from where he was. His fingers were playing over the wall in front of him looking for a switch, secret panel, anything that would help them get to safety. "There has to be one of them in here somewhere," he huffed as he took a step back away from one of the walls he had searched and look over it from a distance to try and see anything that he might have missed in his inspection of the chipped masonry and stone wall when he was standing up close to it. "We saw him come in here and there are no other doors. There has to be another way out of this room."

"Yeah and I think I figured out how to make this work," Mikey said from his position next to a small box partially set into the wall. He had cracked the innocent plastic casing open shortly after he had first saw the box and torn most of the device's 'guts' –as he called them- out into his hands. His original intent was to obviously attempt to hot wire the thing like Donnie could but as far as his siblings were concerned he was wasting time that could be better used to find a way out of the room that was fast becoming their watery tomb.

"Mikey, we don't even know what that is, much less what it will do! So quit messing with it and help me look for another way out!" Raphael was really wishing his hands were free so he could smack Michelangelo upside the head. At least by the looks of it, Leonardo's patience was running out so hopefully –at least for Raph- the older brother would indulge him and whap the youngest turtle upside the head. Who knew, Raph thought to himself. Maybe it would knock some sense into Mikey.

"If Donnie wasn't off in La-La Land you would let him mess with this," the youngest turtle said clearly pouting as he continued to manipulate the wires in his hands. Leonardo had to admit that Mikey was right. If Donatello was able to mess with the control box he would be and no one would be questioning him. It might just be because he knew what most electronics were with a quick glance but Leonardo preferred to have Don mess with the electronic gadgets they found. When Mikey was given an electronic device that was something other than a video game or kitchen appliance it usually meant Doomsday was fast approaching. Considering the fact that Leo was beginning to fear that they were really trapped, he wasn't sure if his heart could take the thought of the sudden Apocalypse that Mikey was attempting to bring on with whatever that gizmo was.

"I don't care! The last thing we need is for you to blow up the building or something, just leave it alone!" Raphael grunted and shifted the dead weight he was holding up again to try and give his other arm a break. He was easily he strongest and had the highest endurance out of his brothers' but Raphael knew he wouldn't be able to keep this up for much longer. The soft breath blowing across his shoulder and onto his neck told him that his efforts were very much appreciated and it gave him the strength to continue on with his task.

"Mikey, would you hurry up and listen to Leo. Donnie isn't that light you know." It was true. Donatello was the smallest of the four brothers and the lightest. Raphael was positive he was so light weight from his diet of coffee, chocolate covered coffee beans and sushi. How Don could eat and all that caffeine and raw fish he didn't know but, at that moment, Raph was silently wishing that Don ate that more often. Or less as the case was so that he wasn't nearly as heavy as he was now.

"Keep your shell on, Raph. If Don can do this so can I," Mikey was bound and determined to hotwire the box. He had seen Don do it hundreds of times before that he was pretty sure he could do it with his eyes closed. He knew Don could do it in his sleep and he decided that one day he would work his way up to be able to do that. He didn't want to admit it to his older brothers but he would have preferred if Don was awake and messing with this thing. He wasn't one hundred percent sure but it looked a lot like the electric door locks that Don seemed to be hotwiring every other door they encountered. He wished Don was awake to be telling him what to do and that his hunch was correct and this control box wouldn't end up killing them all. However they were running out of time and Michelangelo didn't think that he and Leo would be able to find the fabled trap door before they did drown. He was positive the answer to all their troubles could be answered with this box. All he had to do is figure out which two of the twenty wires he was supposed to press together to get the stupid thing to do whatever it was that the control box did.

"Mikey…" Raphael felt himself smile. Leo had finally run out of patience and was wading through the waist high water towards Mikey. It looked like Raph was going to have a front row seat to Leonardo backhanding Mikey in the head. Of course –not that he would ever admit it out loud- Mikey did have a point. If Don hadn't been drugged they would have let him fiddle with the control box. It was his 'job' as the techno geek of the group to do. Everything had just happened so fast that they really didn't have a chance to react properly. Chasing the bad guy into this room, confused when they found the room completely empty, the heavy metal door slamming shut behind them and then the water that seemed to come out of the baseboard radiators was bad enough. Then when Donatello paused while talking to Leo about some idea or another to get out of the deathtrap they were in, he got this almost dreamy look on his face before suddenly fall face first into the then knee deep water. Raphael knew they were in trouble.

Deep trouble.

"Mikey, I'm not going to tell you again. Leave that thing alone." Leonardo's enormous patience had completely run out. Most of it had vanished when Donatello had done his graceless nose dive into the water. Leo had jumped forward and wrenched Don's limp form out of the water as quickly as he could to prevent too much water from getting into the other turtle's lungs. Raphael was next to them in an instant and helped to pull the unconscious turtle out of the water. Don hung limp between them as they supported him, calling his name and trying to wake him up to see what was wrong with him. When Leo saw the blowgun dart lodged in the flesh just above his shell on the back of his neck he knew that trying to wake Don up would be a lost cause. There was no telling if the drug in his system was actually a poison or just a tranquilizer. However, it really didn't matter what it was if they drowned before they could find out.

"Man, Donnie, you picked one shell of a time to miss the show," Raphael breathed lightly so neither of the other two turtles would hear him. He was pretty sure that the smack that Leo was getting ready to deliver wouldn't be his usual tap but more of a Raphael style whap. Of course, Raph knew that technically he should be the one getting ready to hit Mikey while Leo held up Don. Leo was like that, always defending one of them when they fell no matter the odds. When they had realized that Don was drugged Raphael figured that Leo would be holding him up while he and Mikey searched the room for a way out. When the oldest turtle took Don's duffel and suddenly turned Don towards Raph, giving him implicit orders to keep Don's head above water, Raphael had been both astonished and honored. The fact that Leo was trusting him to take care of an injured brother was one thing but the fact that he was giving part of the control of the situation over to Raph was another. It was something that the two of them fought about all the time. As far as Raph was concerned Leo was too much of a control freak for his own good and as far as Leo was concerned Raph was too impulsive to be trusted to do anything right on his own. This was a big step for both of them to make amends to some of their past fights and Raph would rather drowned then let this chance of proving himself slip by.

"I got it!" Michelangelo suddenly said with pride in his voice. He had actually done it. Mikey knew he was going to have to tell Don this and gloat later on how he could hotwire things like his brother. Okay, so he had used the process of elimination and it took him ten times longer to do it then it would have taken Donnie but he had done it. The box had even let out a happy tune of beeps to congratulate him in his victory. "Score one of the Mikester!"

"What the shell?!" Raphael cried out as the water in the room suddenly pulled on his legs. He had barely finished uttering his sentence before the current became too strong for him and his feet seemed to vanish from under him, toppling both him and Donnie into the suddenly swirling water. Had he been standing on his own, Raphael might have been able to with stand the sudden riptide but with Donatello's added weight he was to top heavy. It wouldn't have been much good if he hadn't been holding Donatello. Seconds after Raph and Don were dragged under both Leonardo and Mikey were dragged under as well, the later letting out a cry of surprise. The box had sounded so happy that Mikey had thought that something good would happen. He didn't suspect the water and them to be drained out of the room into the small tunnel they were swept into. Despite the situation, the youngest turtle had a cartoon image pop into his head of them all sitting in a giant toilet bowl and him pulling the cord that flushes them all down the drain. He then decided that he was never going to eat a calamari and jalapeños pizza drizzled with chocolate sauce before going on patrol again.

Raphael had a series of choice words running through his head that were unsuitable for most people under the age of twenty five to hear let alone know. A few of them weren't even anatomically impossible. He had no doubt that if he ever actually said one of them in the presents of his Father or brothers he would be swiftly disciplined. As long as they stayed in his head he had no worries. However, if he could speak he would be yelling those naughty words out loud at that moment despite the discipline he would receive. He could hold his breath but, as long as Donatello was unconscious, he couldn't. Raphael hoped that the small tunnel they were rocketing down would lead to somewhere that wasn't filled with water. He was protecting Don's head as best he could so he wouldn't get a concussion by banging it off the wall but there was no way he could protect him from drowning. As if to answer his plead, the tunnel suddenly opened up and Raphael suddenly found himself swept out into a hallway on his shell with Leonardo and Michelangelo close behind him.

"That… wasn't quite what I had in mind." Leonardo shook his head at what Mikey said. He could have told him that. His eyes traveled over their new surroundings quickly, assessing any threats and the wellbeing of his brothers. Mikey was already standing and looking around the hallway they were in. Part of Leo was glad that the front entrance of the building was about forty feet down at the end of the hall but the other part was seriously annoyed. All they had done was gone in a complete circle and they still had no clue as to who the shell that man was. His heart leapt into his throat when he noticed that Raph had shifted Donatello higher up onto his shoulder and was rather brutally pound his shell with one fist to drive Don's shell, and therefore his plastron, deeper into his shoulder. It was a crude but very effective form of CPR especially for them. The curvature of their shells, the strength of their plastrons and the shape of their mouths made the human form of CPR rather difficult for them, forcing them to improvise with unusual ways like the one Raphael was demonstrating. Before he could actually begin to panic, Leo heard the faint sounds of someone hacking up water and then Raph was shifting Don off his shoulder and checking his pulse. Even though Raph's eyes didn't seem panicked –if Leo were to guess, they actually looked quite proud with himself- Leo still wanted verbal confirmation that Donnie was indeed alright.

Before he could say anything a loud beep echoed through the halls. Mikey had just enough time to think that it sounded like a PA system -and was opening his mouth to say so- when Leonardo quieted him with a quick hand gesture. A cold mechanical voice that sounded vaguely feminine suddenly resonated through the hall, "Self-destruct sequence activated. Self-destruct will begin in thirty… twenty nine… twenty eight…"

"Good job, Mikey!" Raphael snapped as he threw Donatello over his shoulders and bolted for the front doors. Leonardo was just barely two steps ahead of him with one of his katanas in his hand and swiftly widening the gap. There was no telling what was on the other side of the door but as long as it involved getting out of the soon to explode building Leo would risk it. Besides, he would be there to provide ample cover for Raph, Don and Mikey to get far enough away from the building that they wouldn't get caught in the blast. As long as there wasn't a pulse laser rifle firing squad waiting on the other side of the door he was confident he could take any enemy stupid enough to be standing there.

"Don't suppose saying I'm sorry would make the countdown stop?!" Mikey wailed as they ran for the front of the building. Both of the older turtles ignored him. Leonardo leapt into the air a good three feet from the door. He didn't have the strength that Raphael did but Leonardo had much more practiced in the arts of ninjitsu and when he wanted to he could cause just as much damage as Raph could with his sheer strength. If Raphael had been in the lead he would have just lowered his shoulder and would literally have gone through the large double doors. Leonardo's approach inflicted just as much damage but with more chance for personal injury. He felt confident in his skills though and feared little as he executed a perfect flying kick. His foot impacted the heavy wooden doors right above the latch. Unable to stand the sudden force applied to them, the wood around the latch bowed outward and splintered, throwing both of the doors open as Leo flew through them. The sudden impact on the doors even torn the top most hinges from the fames and the doors cried out in a loud crack at the attack they had just undergone.

Leo landed with ease and slid his katana away when he saw no enemies waiting to ambush them. All of Leonardo's forward momentum had gone into bursting through the doors so he wasn't surprised when both his brothers past him. He did notice that both of them glance at him in their passing to make sure he wasn't hurt and as he ran only a few steps behind them he felt a smile break out on his face. They never left one of their own behind. Ever. Sometimes it was creepy to him that they were so in tuned with each other that they almost knew what another was going to do and where they were in a fight no matter how dark it was.

Raphael knew that they didn't have time to dodge into the alley that the Battleshell was parked in before the building exploded. The cold mechanical voice was down to the single digits in its count down. They needed cover from the shock wave and any flying debris. The sooner he found this cover the better. A Toyota Camry was parked on the opposite side of the street and without even thinking of it the large turtle headed towards it with his precious cargo. A foot placed right above the wheel well was all Raph need to help flip him and Donatello over the car's hood where he slung Don off his shoulders and covered him as best as he could with his body. Mikey landed next to him and ducked his head down and covered it with his hands. Leo was seconds on his heels glancing off to the side to make sure all his brothers were hunkered down for the explosion before covering his own head.

What an explosion it was too. To more accurately depict it, the building imploded on itself causing minimum damage to the structures around it. Had any of the brothers bothered to peek over the edge of their barricade they would have seen the building exploded with a series of charges starting at the base of each of the seven floors. The charges exploded one right after the other starting at the bottom of the structure and then heading up causing the building to pancake. It was as if a professionally demolition expert had rigged the building to blow. Even the shockwave was weakened, barely causing the car the turtles were hiding behind to do more than rock slightly as it passed through.

Leonardo was glad that the blast wasn't as serve as it could have been. A quick glance over his brothers who were getting up to peer at the damage they had just barely been able to avoid reminded Leo of a fear he had much earlier before all this extra craziness had ensued. He quickly slipped around Mikey and pressed his fingers to Donatello's neck, searching for his pulse. It was there, throbbing steadily if a little slowly under his fingertips. Had Don been poisoned, Leo knew his pulse would have changed by now and his breathing would have become depressed. He sighed in relief and looked up at Raphael who was giving him a rather smug look. Leo gave him a sincere smile reminding himself that he wasn't the only older brother in the family. He made a quick mental note to himself to give Raphael more responsibilities from now on. Despite his hotheaded attitude, Raph could be as responsible and mature as Leo when it was asked of him. At least, sometimes he could be mature. Leo knew that they would still fight.

Raph looked as if he was about to say something that might be slightly out of his normal gruff exterior but instead settled for glaring at Mikey when the younger turtle spoke up suddenly. "Well, at least we didn't drown." Leo palmed his face as Raphael leaned over and finally was able to smack Michelangelo in the back of the head to which the younger cried out in mock pain.

"Shell fer brains."

~Fin~