Ch.8: Welcome Back

When Raphael woke up the next morning, he felt better than he had in ages, and felt more than ready to handle the grueling excerises Master Splinter had for them today. However, when he got to the training room, he was surprised to see that no one was there.

"That's strange" thought Raph " Leo and the others are usasally all here by now. Did Master Splinter cancel pratice for today? Don and Mikey aren't in their usuasal spots. Must of went out with Leo for patrol,"

Shrugging it off as a mere concidence, and that his brothers weren't in any danger, Raphael stalked to the kitchen to pour a bowl of cereal. Once he sat down at the table to eat his short breakfast, a feeling of uneasiness crawled up Raph's shell.

It was to quiet in the lair. Way to quiet. There were no sounds of Leo training his but off in the training room, Mikey watching his obnoxious cartoons on TV, or even Don blowing up things in his lab. No sounds, just silence. And this unnerved Raph the most.

What if his brothers weren't safe like he had previously thought? What if they were in some sort of danger, and he wasn't there to help them! Raph quickly calmed himself before he went completely out of his mind.

"The stress of last few days has gotten to you Raph 'ol boy" Raph scolded himself " of course your brothers are fine. Maybe Master Splinter can help my mind calm down a bit,"

Abandoning what was left of his breakfast, Raph headed towards Master Splinter's room. And recieved a shock as soon as he slid open the doors. Master Splinter was gone too!

Whatever worry Raph had hidden away, now sprang back like a tidal wave. His brothers absence he could understand, but if Master Splinter was missing too, the situation had to be dangerous.

Before Raph sped out of the room to a frantic search, he noticed a piece of paper lying silently on his Sensei's desk. Calming his nerves once again, Raph walked over and picked up the note. It read as follows;

Raphael,

Your brothers and I have gone to a specail grounds for training today. If you feel well enough to join us, go to Casey and April's, they'll tell you where we are.

Splinter

Raph was confused more than ever, even after he finished reading the note. Specail training grounds? April and Casey's involvement? Just what the shell was going on here?

Infuriated by this mystery, Raphael ran over to Casey and April's just to find out what the shell was going on. However, once he got to the Second Time Around, and peeked through the antique shops windows, he saw no one minding the store.

"This is getting ridiculous," Raph thought, as he picked his way into the shop, and started walking towards the upstairs apartment.

"If anyone's not up here either" said Raph, under his breath " I'm going to kill them once I find them!"

However, when Raphael opened the door to the upstairs apartment, he recieved the shock of his life.

"Surprise!" shouted Splinter, Casey, April, Leo, Don, and Mikey.

"What's going on here?" asked Raphael, confused as he got a better look of his surroundings.

A large chocolate cake had been set up on the dining room table, along with a feast fit for a king. Written on top of the cake in red icing were the words " Welcome Back Raphael".

"It's a party for you Raph" said Casey, to his confused friend " sort of 'welcome back to life' party,"

"We figured it was one way we could repay you after all you've done to protect us," said Donatello.

Raph's tension eased, touched by what everyone else was doing for him. It was nice to see that someone out there, appreciated his herioc deeds.

"Thanks guys" said Raphael " but you don't have to go all this trouble for me,"

"On the contary Raphael" said Leo, holding up a glass " I think you deserve more. After talking over my decision with Master Splinter and the others last night, we've agreed to make you my second-in-command,"

You could have heard a pin drop at that exact moment as Raph gaped in surprise. He was Leo's second-in-command? That meant if Leonardo was ever out of comission, the one who would leading Donny and Mikey would be him.

"No, Leo" said Raph, suddenly nervous " you don't have to that,"

"Raph you deserve it" said Leo " I just know you'll be a great leader for Don and Mikey to follow. Once you control your temper that is,"

"Plus" said April " it's not like you're going to be asked to lead right away. After all, Leo and Splinter are still alive and well. It will be awhile before one of them is out of commission,"

"You have a point there" said Raphael " OK, I'll only agree to the decision with that point. Believe me Leo, I'm in no hurry to take your place,"

"I'll consider that a compliment coming from you," grinned Leo.

"You better," said Raph, smiling back.

"Uh guys" said Mikey " can we eat now? The food's getting cold,"

"Yeah" said Casey " come on, let's dig in already!"

Everyone laughed at the two's antics and sat down to eat the delicous meal. Through the windows, the sun shined bright, and the dark clouds in Raphael's mind faded away into history. Never to haunt the turtle again.

The End