AN: Here at the end, at last… but this story never ends, as long as we, the fans, keep it alive in our hearts and minds, and are never afraid to share it with others.

Thanks to all you loyal readers, you who have stuck with me here, at the bitter end… well not so bitter, as long in coming. Please forgive me, on last time for the wait between updates, but as we all know, Real Life must take over now and again. Hopefully this is not the end of my writings, just this one chapter. Hopefully I will see you all soon, in other stories, as they come about!

As always, I own nothing… I wouldn't know what to do with it all if I did!


The greatest paradox of them all is to speak of "civilized warfare." - Author Unknown


TURTLE LAIR

"Come on, Donny, you got to admit, you enjoyed taking down the almighty Foot Clan, single-handedly?" Casey asked, amazed at Don's humility after his utter success. One would think that Don had only checked his e-mail, for all the satisfaction he was showing in accomplishing what they all had thought was impossible.

"Pride is a sin, Casey," April stated from her seat at the kitchen table. She lifted her tea cup, sharing a look with Leo and Master Splinter as she relaxed after the stress of the past two months. The entire Hamato clan was trying to wind down after their return from yet another patrol, looking for clues, trying to make sure that the Foot clan stayed down. They all were hoping that this latest defeat was as total as it seemed.

"Don doesn't have a big ego, you know," Mikey added, sitting up from lying on the couch playing his latest video game on the big screen TV, catching up on all of the missed gaming time, a sin in Mikey-world.

"Donny, ya really out did yaself this time." Raph called down from the upper level, towel clenched in his hands around the back of his neck, fresh from a hot shower after sparring with Leo out of sheer boredom. "Betcha Karai and the rest of her Foot goonies didn't have a clue about ya bein' able ta raid them like that. I can't rightly see how ya was able ta magic it, myself, but, man, I woulda paid money ta see all their faces when they realized they was as broke as us." Raph joined his family in having a good chuckle at the enemy's expense.

"I guess it did have the element of surprise, didn't it!" Don agreed, looking around the room at his family, seeing the blatant appreciation for his efforts in all of their faces. To have done this, the supposedly impossible, alone and while still recovering from the enemies most recent attempt to destroy them, was a most wonderful feeling, and Don felt absolutely no need to brag about it, regardless of how Casey or anyone else thought he should act. Humble about his 'magic computer super powers' as Mikey called it, he didn't want his family to think he was too full of himself, not now, especially when they were finally getting along again, after so much time wasted, fighting amongst themselves.

Raph disappeared into his room, only to emerge moments later once again sporting his protective gear, sai sheathed at his sides, tying on his signature red bandana as Leo pasted him on the stairs on the way to his own hot shower. They were all enjoying a refreshing moment of downtime from their patrols. They had been very busy the last few weeks, monitoring the deteriorating (mostly disbanded) Foot clan scrambling around the city, like rats trying to jump a sinking ship. It was almost amusing, in of itself, for such a once powerful entity, to be brought down by one being, remotely no less, was almost laughable, if the Hamato clan's very survival wasn't hinging on the outcome of the Foot's unlikely recovery.


They say necessity is the mother of invention, and when the necessity is survival she can be one mean mother, but its' her child invention that is the real dangerous one. – Darien Fawkes


"Here, watch the screen as the cuff inflates. When it has completed the reading, you can remove it, or leave it on and it will take intermittent or continuous readings based on the settings you can control here on the side." Donatello was in full-on lecture mode, training Mikey on some of the medical equipment in the lab. Now that Don was back on his feet, he wasted no time in keeping his promise to his youngest sibling, fully intending to cram as much knowledge into Mikey head as he could. Mikey wanting to know how to help, if there was a next time, was something Don could throw his complete support behind.

Surprisingly enough, Mikey was absorbing the finer points of some of the less common(for most people, but not ninjas who fight crime as often as his family) medical treatments at an incredible rate. It just goes to show what Mike can accomplish when he puts his mind to it. Don was glad that he wanted to learn, and was happy to teach him, now that he was taking it seriously. In the past, Mike was the last turtle to volunteer for anything that resembled work or extra effort on his part, unless he was dragged kicking and screaming (or threatened), but now, after feeling like he was worthless to help, Mike was focused on learning all he could.

"Man, bro," Mike breathed at the end of another long day of learning at Don's 'School for Mutant Medicine', "You really know your stuff… I mean, I always knew you were smarter than me, but how do you do it?"

"Do what, Mikey?" Don asked, turning to face his brother after reshelving the equipment he had pulled out for today's instructions.

"Keep all this stuff straight. I mean, you learned all this on your own, while I was busy playing games and stuff. And you did it without any of us asking you to, and made it into some kind of freaky hobby, or something." Mike looked away, unable to met Don's eyes when Don was looking at him with such understanding.

"Oh Mikey," Don reached over to put his hands on Mike's shoulders, trying to reassure his brother.

"I guess… what I'm trying to say… thanks Don, thanks for truly putting our family first, for making sure we would always bounce back after all the trouble we get into." Mike leaned into his brother's embrace, hugging him tightly, like he would never let go, hoping he could convey exactly how much he appreciated all of Don's efforts all of these years.

"Mike, don't worry about it, please," Don gripped his brother tightly, trying to stay calm in the face of such an unexpected emotional outburst, from Mikey of all turtles. "It was never work, or anything like that. And I don't feel like I got cheated, or anything, so please… just don't think I didn't want to learn how to help you guys. You know how much I enjoy figuring out how stuff works, don't you?"

"Yeah, I guess," Mike sniffled, getting his emotions back under control.

"Well, think of it this way. I not only try to fix machines and all the technology around here, but the biology as well!" Don stated with a small smile. "At first, it was just the thrill of knowing something I didn't know before, but after a while, it became just one more way I could fight for our family. Even if all I was fighting were infections and the occasional flu bug, it just really makes me happy to have one more thing I am able to fix, for all of us."

"You are an amazing person, Donny, and a true brother. Please, don't ever change!" Mike ended the hug, turning to leave the lab, emotional exhaustion creeping up on him. The thought of a nap was pulling him towards his room, and he knew that Don wouldn't mind being alone in his lab for a few hours after teaching him.

"It takes on to know one, Mikey," Don stated to the empty room after his brother's retreat. Don sighed quietly, moving back to his storage area at the back of the lab, ready to get back to putting everything in its place.

No one would ever say that their lives were anywhere close to normal, but with the Foot clan all but a bad memory, and no other large threats on the horizon, it was finally looking like the Hamato clan would get some well deserved rest. After all, if nothing else, they deserved it after the last few years. But, no one knows what tomorrow might bring, especially with this family. Even in the City that Never Sleeps, there was always something to do, or trouble to get into, if you only know where to look.


The city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo. - Desmond Morris