"There is the captive of the chains, the captive of the mind, and the captive enduring torture…but there is another kind of captive…one to parenthood. A never ending battle in which you struggle to raise someone.
But there is a reward…nothing can ever prevent you from being eternally captivated by the child in your arms,"
April sat up and shifted uncomfortably.
She couldn't sleep.
Hadn't really been able to since Leo vanished nearly three months ago, no one in their little family had been able to.
The stress level was high, the worry wasn't much better, if anything it was worse.
April's head snapped up at the sound of a something moving outside.
She frowned before grabbing her robe and walking to the stairs that lead to the shop below.
"Stupid alley cats in the trash," she mumbled as she peeked outside and flicked the light on, "and its snowing again."
Nothing went shooting into the alley.
The snow fell unbroken.
She frowned and then froze at the sound of a weak whimper.
She moved forward cautiously.
She froze when she heard coughing and struggled breathing.
April moved again after another weak whimper, she walked to the trash cans and stepped to the side at an angle so she could see behind them.
"LEO!" she cried before scrambling forward and kneeling beside him.
He was wrapped in rags, huddled tight, arms curled around his chest.
She knew it was him, she'd recognize the scar on his carapace anywhere.
He started coughing, whole body shaking.
A feeble whimper caught April's attention.
It wasn't coming from Leo.
"Leo," April coaxed softly as she worked her way into kneeling by his head, "Leo look at me."
His eyes fluttered and he seemed to be trying to turn his head.
April touched his throat, searching for his pulse, grimacing when she felt both the fever and weak, fluttery pulse beneath her hand.
"Oh Leo…I've got to get you inside," she breathed.
The whimper caught her attention again.
"His…name…is….Caleb…" Leo rasped, his voice sounded rusty, feeble, tired.
He seemed to be struggling to speak.
April gave him a startled look, he hadn't moved, but his eyes were open, slits of dull, glassy, golden-brown.
April gently pulled back the rags before gasping in shock.
Snuggled tight against Leo's plastron was an infant turtle, it was tiny, frail, and thin.
As thin as Leo was now that she really looked at him.
The infant whimpered, his little hands brushing Leo's plastron.
"How?" April gasped, "where did you find him?"
There was silence for a few seconds.
"He's….my…son…" Leo managed.
April jerked back in shock.
Another coughing fit dragged April back to reality.
Leo and Caleb needed to get inside where it was warm and dry. Laying in the cold snow amongst garbage wasn't good for their health.
"Hold on Leo, I'm going to call the guys ok? Can you get inside first?" April soothed.
Leo closed his eyes before he made a feeble attempt to move.
It was horrible to watch, as he struggled to his feet, legs quaking, body swaying dangerously.
April grabbed his right arm, only to hear a strangled yelp and release it.
"I'm sorry," April whispered.
He could hardly walk, every few steps he'd stagger and nearly go down.
After what seemed like years April closed the door behind them and Leo crumpled to the ground, legs unable to support him anymore.
He was shivering, trembling all over, he started coughing again, whole body shaking.
April squatted next to him, rubbing his carapace gently.
"I'm going to go call the guys and grab you a few blankets ok? Find a comfortable spot to rest," she coaxed.
Leo nodded a little before, with agonizing slowness, he moved into the corner by the stairs.
He huddled there, head dropping to his chest, his arms tightly cradling the infant.
April scrambled up the stairs and grabbed the phone, a few blankets, the first aide kit, and a bottle of water from the fridge.
When she had everything she dialed Don as she darted back downstairs.
Pinning the phone between her ear and her shoulder she pulled the rags off of Leo and wrapped him in blankets.
Grimacing and fighting sobs at the sight of his wounds the whole time.
His right arm looked like a mangled mess, it had obviously been broken and then never set properly.
Apirl looked at Leo and saw that he was asleep.
She checked his pulse and relaxed.
Though it wasn't better it hadn't gotten worse and his breathing hadn't become more struggled.
Medical attention would have to wait Leo needed to stay warm right now.
Hello? April what are you doing up this-
"I found Leo," April interrupted, "he's hurt and sick…get over here Don…get over here now."
She hung up and tucked the blankets tighter around Leo, leaving plenty of open space near Caleb's face so he didn't suffocate.
April peeked at the infant.
"You are so tiny," she breathed, "please hold on."
She reached in carefully to check the infant's pulse and blinked in surprise as he held her finger.
His thin fingers gripping her finger in desperation.
She stayed frozen like that until her door opened and Leo's brothers came rushing in.
She pulled away gently and he whimpered in protest.
"Shell…Leo," Raph breathed before darting forward and kneeling next to his brother.
"He's weak…and he seemed exhausted," April whispered.
"Let's get him upstairs Raph, it'll be easier to get a good look at him up there," Don ordered.
Raph started to gather Leo up and April jumped forward, fearing for the infant's safety and gently pulled the trembling infant out of Leo's arms.
Leo jerked in his sleep, head snapping up, eyes fluttering.
"…Caleb…" he rasped.
"I've got him Leo," April coaxed.
Leo sagged back and Raph gave the infant in her arms a shocked look before quickly lifting Leo and shuddering.
"Don…he weights nothing," Raph growled.
Don had paused to look at the whimpering infant in April's arms, she had grabbed a spare blanket and quickly wrapped him up.
"This must be Caleb?" Don asked, glancing at Leo's limp frame.
"Awww…dude…look how little the tyke is," Mikey whispered, leaning in and smiling at the infant.
Caleb squirmed, whimpering, becoming more agitated by the second.
"He wants Leo," April whispered.
"Then we best get moving. Raph get Leo upstairs, Mikey grab the stuff April has down here," Don ordered.
Casey stepped into the apartment carrying a grocery bag.
April gave him a thankful look.
"You mind telling me why I need to get baby formula at six in the morning?" Casey grumbled.
"You got a bottle too right?" April asked as she started pulling things out of the bag.
"Yeah," Casey grumbled, "you still haven't-"
"See for yourself bonehead," Raph growled good naturedly.
For some odd reason Caleb had bonded to Raph when April had been forced to hand the boy off to help stitch up Leo.
Casey froze as he spotted Raph leaned back in a chair, cradling a turtle infant.
"Woah…" Casey gasped, "…it's-"
"Tiny," Raph chuckled, "Yeah…Don's says he's malnourished. He also says the only reason the kid likes me is because of my plastron. Apparently he thinks I'm Leo."
Casey squatted down and eyed the infant.
"He?" Casey asked.
"Yeah…April you never told us if he had a name…" Raph commented.
"Leo called him Caleb," April replied.
"Derivative of 'Ka-Lev', Hebrew for 'like the heart'," Don commented, glancing at the infant as he paused from examining Leo's mangled arm.
Mikey gave Don startled look.
"So you think Leo knew what it meant?" Mikey asked before he went back to soothing his distressed elder brother.
Leo was twitchy, Don hypothesized it was because Caleb wasn't in his arms and only Mikey had managed to sooth him thus far.
"Yeah Leo is a linguist," Don chuckled, "he had Spanish down when he got back from Latin America, he already knew Japanese before he left and I know he was working on a few others…so Mikey…yeah I'm sure he does. I don't doubt he knows what it means."
Casey gave Leo a long slow look over.
"He looks horrible," Casey breathed.
"Sick, injured, malnourished, dehydrated, and just plain exhausted," Don sighed, "but he's already looking a little better since he got warmed up."
April walked up to Raph.
"You want to feed him or should I tough guy?" April teased, holding out the bottle and a burp rag.
Raph scowled in annoyance.
"Leo probably should actually," Don commented, "but seeing as he'd too out of it…Raph. He needs to associated plastron with food April…it'll help him recognize Leo more as a provider when Leo gets strong enough to support both the bottle and Caleb again."
April nodded and Raph sighed.
"Alright you…lets get ya' fed. Leo owes me big time," Raph grumbled softly as he followed April's instructions to get Caleb positioned.
Raph's gaze suddenly softened as Caleb's hand struggled to hold the bottle as he ate.
"Determined little guy aren't ya'?" Raph whispered.
"Don't let him eat too much," Don cautioned, "if he's been starved like Leo it'll only make him sick."
"So when should I stop 'im?" Raph asked, glancing at Don.
"About half the bottle since it's a small bottle. He should hopefully be full by then anyway," April replied, "but Don's right too much is worse than nothing at this point."
Raph nodded, eyes flickering with worry, suddenly uncomfortable with the idea of feeding the infant.
"So…where exactly did the kid come from?" Casey asked.
"We don't know," Don sighed.
"Leo said Caleb was his son," April sighed.
"What?" Don gasped.
Mikey and Raph looked first at her and then at Leo in shock.
"I figured he just…found 'im," Raph mumbled and then got thoughtful, "he does look like Leo though."
"I'll run a blood test here in a bit, but…even if Caleb isn't Leo's by blood Leo might consider him as a son…so…well…we just accept him that way I guess," Don sighed.
The others nodded.
"Casey will you go get Master Splinter? We left in a hurry and he's probably worried," Don said suddenly, glancing up at the clock with a wince.
"Ya' no problem," Casey stood up and slipped out, glancing at the infant in Raph's arms before he left.
"Dude Splinter's going to flip when he finds out about Caleb," Mikey chuckled, before glancing at the afore mentioned infant, "and I want to hold him next."
"Mikey…he's probably distressed enough as it is. Leo gets to hold him next, it'll calm them both down…April did Casey grab diapers?"
"No…nothing will fit him anyway Don, but we can go to the old fashioned cloth diaper until he gains some weight. I have some soft cloths that will work," April replied.
"Just peachy," Raph grumbled a Caleb burped up the milk onto him, causing a smile to everyone else in the room, "Thanks."
A/N: "cackles" So…good so far? Remember this is just the prologue and the real story starts with Chapter One. And I know I said that I was going on Hiatus until I started posting in October but this story won't leave me alone.
Where did Caleb come from?
Where has Leo been?
Why are they so battered?
After I finish the last chapter of Kekkon no Jouyaku this will officially start up.