((Whew...new chapter. If there's anyone out there that has the time to be a beta reader...more someone to bonuce ideas off of than a proofreader, I'd be most appreciative. IF nothing else you can kick me until I write some. If anyone's interested in the job there is no pay, a grueling amount of nagging me involved, and putting up with my endless cycle of writing and then throwing chapters out the window because I hate them...so let me know))

It took every ounce of energy I had to keep up with Uncle Mike. Even still, by the time we made it back to their underground home, I was huffing and puffing trying to catch my breath.

"You really need to think about stopping the smoking, Ren," Mike said shaking his head a little as he ran into the living room. "DONNIE!"

I ignored the insult, somehow I didn't mind it so much coming from Uncle Mike. .Maybe that's because a knock to the head usually didn't follow it like from Raph. I was still trying to stop myself from hyperventilating when Don came in.

"Mike, Splinter just got to sleep. What…?"

Uncle Mike cut him off. "Get the infirmary ready."

Donatello's eyes widened a little. "Leo?" he ventured quietly.

I suppose that was a fair guess. Out of those missing, my dad was the less experienced fighter. Until I saw it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed anything could take Raphael down. He seemed too mean-spirited to get hurt. Wasn't there a saying "only the good die young"? I shook my head slightly trying to get rid of those thoughts. Even with all the torment I had suffered at the hands of my sensei, I couldn't wish…or even think of his dying. And until that moment I hadn't realized just how much I didn't want him to die.

Uncle Mike shook his head. "It's Raphael. Him and Leo got ambushed by the Foot."

My Uncle Don turned and headed back down the hallway. Mike grabbed my arm and pulled me to follow him. "This is all part of training, Ren," he said. "The real sucky part to be sure. The getting hurt part."

"Is…Raph gonna be ok?" I asked hesitantly looking at the floor.

I couldn't see my uncle's expression, but he was quiet for a moment. "Yeh," he said finally. "Raph's been banged up a lot worse than this before. He'll be ok."

We followed Donatello into a large open room. There were two beds in the middle of the floor and a small table to the side.

"We haven't brought much with us. No pain killers." Donatello didn't look like he was talking to us, but he continued anyway. "A little first aid stuff. A suture kit. That'll probably come in handy. Mike, do you know where he's hurt?"

"Where am I putting him?" My father interrupted. Hecame in carrying Raphael andhe looked to be as out of breath as I had been. Of course, he had been carrying extra weight with him, so it really wasn't a fair comparison. My uncle, my sensei, looked a little bit paler than what he normally did. I was getting a little worried. What if Mike was wrong? Or lying?

"Pick a bed," Donatello directed. "Mike, get me a wash cloth and some warm water. I know this isn't all Raph's blood."

I trembled a little moving back out of Mike's way so he could get the water.

"He woke up for a minute," Dad said putting Raph down on one of the beds and backing away. "He asked about Ren…and then was unconscious again."

I looked up. "Asked about me?"

"There's some metal in his leg," Don murmured. "It's going to take a lot of stitching."

My father walked over to me hugging me close to him again. "Are you hurt?" he asked glancing down at me.

I shook my head numbly. "Why…why was Uncle…I mean Raph…I mean sensei asking about me?"

Dad smiled slightly. "He was worried about you. He thought you might have gotten injured."

The first thoughts that came to mind was, "like he'd care" or "was he mad I was ok", but even I knew that was some kind of kid tantrum response and I wasn't in a tantrum kind of mood. I glanced around my father to watch Donatello start clearing away the excess blood. I had to fight the gag reflex at the smell that was overpowering the room. Never in my life did I want to smell anything like this again.

"While Donatello is taking care of Raph, why don't you get cleaned up a little," my dad suggested interrupting my thoughts of repulsion.

I looked up at him. "Are you coming?"

He glanced past me over to where Raphael lay and then shook his head. "No. Uncle Mike can show you where to get wash up. I'm going to stay here with Raphael."

Mike walked over to us. "If you can believe the things Don mutters to himself, he has a concussion. Nothing he hasn't had before. He doesn't seem too cut up. 'Cept maybe his leg. There's some pieces of metal in there. Probably a shuriken that broke off."

My dad nodded. "Mike, would you show Ren the bathroom so he can get cleaned up?"

"Yeh sure." Uncle Mike reached for me but I pulled away.

"No," I said. "I want to stay."

"Ren," Dad began looking down at me. "You shouldn't be in here. Things might get…"

"This is part of it, right?" I asked. "Part of the training? I should stay." It sounded reasonable to me, even though here was the last place I wanted to be.

My father sighed and glanced up at Mike who smirked. "He's got ya there, Bro"
He glared at Uncle Mike before turning his gaze to me.

"Yes, it is part of it. And yes you should learn how to deal with injuries, but not now. Not today. There are still some things I can protect you from and this is one of them. Now go with Mike."

I heard a low moaning sound and I looked over. Donatello was doing something with Raph's leg and it didn't look like Raph was a willing subject. His eyes were closed but he kept pulling away from whatever Don was doing.

"Leo, someone, I need some help over here," Donatello said stepping away from Raphael. "He's not conscious enough to help deal with the pain and I don't have anything to numb the wound with."

I blinked and backed into Mike.

"Get him out of here Mike," Donatello ordered. "And come right back. This might take all of us."

Michaelangelo nodded and almost pushed me from the room.

I dragged my feet a little trying to look behind me, but Mike closed the door. He continued to push me down the hallway before stopping in front of another door. "The bathroom. Take a nice long bath."

I stared up at him in shocked silence.

Uncle Mike sighed. "Just…whatever you hear…don't tell Raphael, ok? And don't come in the room. Donnie knows what he's doing."

I was still stunned and I turned toward the other room at the sound of a low growl. It was slowly getting louder. Uncle Mike turned on the bathroom light and nudged me in. "Close the door and don't be scared. You know how tough Raph is." He turned and headed back down the hallway. The growling sound was becoming more a yell and then a scream. I slammed the door and leaned against it covering my ears. The sound, though muffled still carried. I ran over to the old bathtub and turned on the faucet. The water helped to drown out more of the noise but even in my imagination I could still hear my uncle screaming.

I sighed trembling. The more I learned about this ninja stuff, the less I liked it.