Okay, so I wandered the net and then the corners of my itchy and sleep-deprived mind in search of inspiration, and it struck. This would be the result. RECENTLY EDITED to collaborate with the direction I chose to take things in.
Disclaimer: I do not own them or (as of yet) any cool merchandised gear pertaining to them. Go figure.
Rain descended from the clouds in small, spattering bursts, stinging the skin of those unfortunate enough to be traveling on foot, sending sprays of moisture across car windshields, striking the pavement and rising again in little curls of steam in the half-lit streets. Concealed in a trench coat and oversized hat, Donatello Hamato skirted from corner to corner, occasionally glancing upwards with a small frown. An olive-green hand, for a moment, emerged from a beige pocket, palm facing up and gathering a few stray sprinkles. With a sigh and a shake of his head, the purple-banded turtle shoved it back out of sight, clutching a small paper bag closer to his body as he eyed the streets for other unlucky pedestrians.
Apparently, it didn't matter where you were: the city of Boston was like any other in its ability to rain during the most inconvenient of times. Not that he was going to be deterred by mere precipitation. No, the genius had traveled under much more trying circumstances than a little wet weather. If anything, considering his history of being whisked away to alien planets and hurled into other dimensions and periods of time, the light sprinkling could be considered a reprieve from the usual.
Still, he wished the weather channel's forecast could have been accurate for a change. He'd almost never had to deal with this level of incompetence in New York. Though he couldn't be sure if that aspect of the other city was different now; Donatello hadn't been to New York in nearly three years. Briefly pausing to get his bearings and adjust his disguise, he darted across a street and into a newly familiarized series of deserted roads and hidden back alleys, careful to keep as much of himself hidden from potential passerby as possible.
If he were asked to make an educated guess, Donnie would estimate that everything had started to snowball with the death of Master Splinter eight years prior. It had been fairly obviously coming after their last defeat of the Shredder. Weight loss, decreased appetite and mobility, being more easily fatigued during mundane activities. He had become more susceptible to illnesses and climate changes, getting sick more frequently as the ninja master got older. But even after seeing the signs of what was inevitable for months, the pain of losing their only parent and mentor had struck the four turtles with incredible force. At one point before waking up to find that the mutant rat had passed on, the pacifist had thought himself fully prepared for just such an event. He'd thought that, when it finally happened, he would be able to move on in a brief amount of time.
Donatello had really hated turning out to be wrong on that matter. When the shock was over, when the pain had settled for merely catching up to him every once in a while, he was finally able to accept it. There had been some solace in the fact that he hadn't suffered a long, drawn-out death either by illness or being captured in battle. Old age had simply finally settled in and taken its toll, the way it did with every other kind of creature in the world. Knowing he had been at peace and lived an eventful life now served the purpose of helping rather than causing more pain. Donnie, at least, had managed to reach that point.
For a considerable length of time following the hasty and somewhat furtive midnight funeral (something that had left small burning reminders of how cruel and unfair fate could be, even if nobody had stated the facts aloud), things settled down into a routine state of near-normalcy. Instead of Master Splinter taking them through morning practice, Leonardo had taken up the mantle. Michelangelo made sure everyone ate and got out of bed and didn't dwell on the painful absence of their father on a day-to-day basis. Donnie threw himself into upgrading security measures, sanitation techniques, making sure every member of the family was healthy and that any injuries they received were looked after. For all of them, there was always something they could find to do, to keep themselves busy and distracted.
Looking back, he considered that perhaps if he hadn't been so consumed with what he was doing, he would have been able to notice that Raph didn't do much of anything anymore. Where he would normally have channeled his sorrow and grief into anger and let it go completely, the second youngest turtle instead became withdrawn and silent, a faintly detectable presence drifting from point to point about the lair. He followed orders without complaint, attended practice and patrols without attitude or backtalk, always looking on with a neutral expression that said far more than words ever could. Things had changed, and he had changed in kind as a means of dealing with it.
Needless to say, Raphael had been the first to leave.
It was somehow shocking, painful and a little predictable all at once. About four months after the death of Splinter, he'd walked out of the lair door and simply never walked back through it. Soon, it turned out to be the mere beginning of a growing trend, and Michelangelo had relocated to San Diego, California, about two years after his initial departure. Letting the youngest go had been difficult, but they couldn't simply force him to stay in New York if he wasn't happy there. And there was also the fact that he'd actually seen fit to inform his remaining brothers of his intention and selected location, with the firm promise to keep in touch. It was a promise he adhered to strictly, the results of which were three to five letters a month in April's mailbox and a P.O. box that they could reach him at. He'd now been in San Diego for nearly five years.
Donatello was not without his share of exploration, having taken a three-month excursion to the city of Tokyo at about the same time as Mike's relocation. They'd been some of the most riveting and educational months of his life, spent drooling over the sheer genius of some of the most advanced technology in the world, and he'd known he would never regret having gone there. He'd returned to New York and settled back in the lair for a while, living comfortably with his older brother, before April informed them that she, too, would be relocating, and hopefully getting a start on the O'Neil Tech industry in Boston. The redhead then announced her intention for the two remaining turtles to relocate with her. There had been no small amount of debate between the three, but in the end, only Donatello decided to accompany her.
Which led him to where he was now: having been out of New York for three years and darting about empty Boston streets. Parts of him regretted making the decision to leave, knowing that Leo would never be able to bring himself to abandon the last home of their master. He didn't doubt his brother's ability to take care of himself in a satisfactory fashion, but it gave him great grief to know that the blue-banded turtle was in New York City with all of their old belongings, all alone. Sometimes he wondered if his brother was living in the past or if he'd simply had enough of travel, and had really meant it when he'd said he wasn't leaving again. What frustrated him was the fact that he couldn't really ask Leo about it because, with the antique shop closed and April in another city, there was no address to send messages to, though Leo saw fit to write every couple of months to keep in touch. Which was still more than Raph had ever managed.
Apparently, someone had neglected to inform Donatello that P.O. boxes were only legal in California nowadays. The efforts his brother undertook to make himself available were truly astounding. It wasn't as though he could ask.
The sky burst open, sending cascades of heavy droplets crashing, kamikaze-style, into the world below it. Having finally managed to reach his destination, Donatello turned his thoughts away from his scattered family and the feeling of incompleteness it left him, aptly leaping up to grab hold of a random windowsill. His climb up the side of April's apartment building no longer presented the challenge it once had, though the rain made finding his usual footholds difficult. Slipping and catching himself as he neared the fourth floor window that was his destination, he toyed with the idea of convincing April to, for once in her life, get an apartment on the ground floor. Then he wouldn't have to hop around on windowsills like a deranged monkey, and she would stand a better chance of escaping in the unlikely (but still possible) spreading of a fire.
Swinging upwards, he threw himself through the open window with precise timing, rolling and landing on his feet gracefully in the dark apartment. Donnie shook himself off as best he could, closing the window and curtains behind him before dropping his disguise to the floor. Mentally, he began preparing a brief apology speech that he knew he would have to give for getting water all over her newest rug. It was already considerably soaked from the window having been left open, but she had the tendency to blame puddles on the one descended from water-loving creatures.
"Hey, April, I'm here! You really didn't have to leave your window open for me; not only do I have opposable thumbs and fingers capable of pushing it open, but, in case you've forgotten, I'm also a trained ninja. You know, learned in the art of infiltration?" He called out half-sarcastically, feeling around for the area in which he knew her light switch to be. There was no reply to his remark and he frowned. "Now there's no way you're asleep! You told me you wanted to talk about that new firewall program tonight, and I did not walk over here in the rain with fresh coffee for-"
The light switch flipped up, casting a bright yellow glow over the majority of the well-decorated one bedroom apartment that had become so familiar to him, and the words went silent in his throat. A small paper bag fell the floor with a light thump, setting the beginnings of a hot brown puddle into motion.
As an individual with a history in crime fighting, the signs of a break-in were rather painfully obvious. Overturned, torn up furniture, miscellaneously scattered personal belongings, broken glass from where someone had cleared out the dinnerware cabinet. Brown eyes traveled quickly over his surroundings as Donatello moved through the apartment with experienced precision, searching for signs of April and whoever had been in her home. The front door was still closed and locked. It hadn't been picked or busted through with brute force, which didn't make any sense, because no regular criminal could have come through a fourth-floor window on a whim.
His breath caught in his chest with a burst of suspicion. No, no regular criminal could manage to break in through a fourth floor window; but they certainly could. Damn it. Damn it, damn it, damn it.
More on edge than ever, he cautiously made his way towards the single bedroom, aware that if his hunch was correct, danger could be concealed behind any shadow. The door swung forward awkwardly, hanging on a single hinge and home to several new and not-quite aesthetically pleasing holes. Keeping to the shadows, he crept forwards, listening for any sound that might give away another presence. Taking in a steeling breath, olive-green hand darted out, striking at the light switch and drawing back in preparation to defend itself.
The air froze in his lungs, arms dropping uselessly to his sides as his knees buckled beneath him. It couldn't be real; his eyes were playing tricks on him, blurring prematurely with tears that he wouldn't require, because there was no way that was April. Not the woman who had been a surrogate mother, a sister, a partner and a best friend for all these years. But it was, and it would be for as long as he stared at her bloodied body. Of their own accord, his eyes searched the room for anything that might disprove his theory, catching sight of the image spread across the light yellow floral wallpaper like an ugly beacon of his worst fears personified. The sobs were building up, choked off in his chest and in his throat.
For a long while, the genius turtle knelt on the soiled apartment floor in silence, staring at the painfully familiar symbol of the Foot Clan. It shouldn't have been possible. None of this should have been possible. The proof laid before him nonetheless, immobile in its determination to be noticed. They had killed April. His thoughts felt hazy as they rolled through his brain, not quite able to take root. What was he supposed to do now?
Okay, there's the first chapter, which I suppose could be referred to as the Prologue. I know it's kind of slow going, so sorry about that. Any thoughts? Questions? Comments? Please, feel free to hit that Review button.