It was supposed to be an easy mission. Walk a few blocks, pick up some dinner, and go home. No fighting.

No problem.

He had just scoped out the sidewalk, and was about to exit the alley behind the pizza place when the Foot ninja came out of nowhere. It took him half a second too long to draw his sai from underneath the bulky sweatshirt, and then he was on the ground and their swords were everywhere.

Just as instantly, they were gone.

Blood was sticky on his face, but he forced his eyes open. There was still one human in the alley with him. Or, at least, he was like a human. He was like a human in the same way that a Renaissance statue was like an injection-molded action figure.

It creeped him out, and it unsettled him that the Foot ninja had run away from this ur-human. The guy didn't look like much of a challenge even for a complete novice in the arts of ninjutsu. He wasn't even armed, unless you counted the strangely old-fashioned fishing pole he was carrying. He wasn't carrying it like a weapon.

He tried to form words, demand answers. "Wha...?"

The person knelt beside him, laying down his fishing pole. "You are very injured." He reached for the shredded clothing.

"Don't -"

"You are safe." The person touched him, gently. "Help is coming."

"No ambulance," he forced out, even though the blood was filling his mouth, trying to gag him. "No doctors."

"No," he said.

"Who -" He coughed violently, turned his head, and spat on the dirty pavement. "Who are you?"

"I am the angel."

"Hell no," he said, but the pain was intense. He closed his eyes.

"You are very injured," the person said again.

He was bleeding everywhere and it was getting hard to breathe. "'m leaving here alive," he whispered.

"Yes. Help is coming."

He opened his eyes again, looked at the young man. Glow from the streetlamp was falling around him like wings. "Who are you?"

"I am the angel, Raphael."



His brothers were coming.

He was going to be okay.