Welcome to Fallout, sit down and have a seat. Word of warning here, if you've come for crack fic-goodness this is not the place, there is a reason that this fic is rated. I've been sitting on this story for a while (several years if we include the various incarnations it's gone through in my brain) and I finally picked up the guts to write it, mainly thanks to the urging of the lovely ladies at the Terrapin Tarts. My thanks especially to DisneyDelinquent and DeeMG for betaing this fic and Tauni for being my research buddy. Fallout-verse is a mix of Mirage, NT and the movies.
This fic is going to be a realistic attempt at several of commonly used plot tropes. I'm only going to say this once, this fic will delve into dark themes that I understand everyone isn't comfortable with. I'm also not going to say what these are because that'll ruin the fic and so they may come as a nasty surprise. I'm not going to defend myself with the bullshit excuse of Don't Like Don't Read because you can't tell whether you like something or not UNTIL you've read it and the author is using it is an flimsy cover to write whatever the hell they want with no consideration for the characters involved. I only ask that you bear with me when we hit them, I hope that my writing ability is up to task and I manage to portray events convincingly and maturely and that I deal with the themes with the sensitivity that they deserve. I do hope that when we hit them that you start to think a bit more about how the characters really would react to these things when these plot elements are used with no regard to the actual consequences.
Things are also going to jump around a lot and they might get confusing. There are several stories being told, not all of them at the same pace so events will be missing until we get through the fic and if it feels like I'm neglecting a character, I'm not, their part will come later.
Another warning is that this is a story about four turtles. Four amazing wonderful mutant turtles but turtles nonetheless. Not four turtle shaped humans. I've always found it curious and frustrating when the turtles are written with no regard to their reptilian nature and biology. As Ivy-chan once said, it's the mutant turtle part that makes us TMNT fans, otherwise we'd all watch Naruto. I believe that there are limits to how human the turtles are because inherently, they are not in any way, shape or form human and this fic will explore this concept deeply and the ideas I throw out might be a little disturbing.
Read on for Fallout.
This story began 25 years ago, when a boy bought four baby turtles from a pet store. It's a familiar tale, as he walked down the streets of New York; an old man wandered out in front a truck that was carrying a strange, green ooze. A young man knocked the boy's turtles from his grasp as he pulled the elderly man from danger. The turtles were swept into the sewers of New York, along with a canister of mutagen that had fallen from the truck. The canister broke and its contents were released on a rat who'd witnessed the entire spectacle and the four turtles.
With only the barest sentience, the rat took pity and gathered the four turtles up in a coffee can. But even he was unaware of all the events that were to take place that day that would shape the future to come. For whilst a change had been wrought on all five animals, there was one for which an additional mutation had taken root in his every cell.
The exact cause of this is still hypothetical. Maybe this turtle was the last to be gathered to the can, exposed to the mutagen for longest. Or maybe, in a young animal's hunger, he swallowed some of the ooze as they lay in the strange green substance.
Nonetheless, as the five animals grew and mutated, a gradual change slowly overtook the unfortunate turtle in accordance to the extra alterations in his DNA. By the time the clan learnt of it; it was already too late.
Did you know that female red eared sliders are larger than males?
Let me tell you a story…
(Before Shit Happened)
It was a fairly non-descript day before life decided to turn upside down and collapse inwards on itself. Training had been a little clumsier than usual and when Splinter had finally halted practice, each of the turtles had walked away with an impressive collection of bruises and other varieties of aches and pains.
"I think someone bit me," Don muttered as he sized up the damage to his arm with a critical eye. The turtles had retreated to his lab to patch themselves up. "When did that happen?"
Rap snorted with amusement as he held an icepack to his shin, "You mean you didn't notice Mikey gnawing on your arm?"
"I did not," the aforementioned brother piped up indignantly, bandaging a few cuts he'd received from Leo's katana. "I think I'd remember chomping on Don-flesh."
The three brothers paused and glanced at Leo who levelled an irate glare at them, "I would so dearly love to know which one of you managed to sink their teeth into my ankles."
"Okay, that was me," Mikey admitted. "I distinctly remember chewing on something that tasted like Leo."
"Mikey, how can you even tell the difference?" Don asked, a bemused grin wreathing his beak.
The nun-chuck wielding turtle snorted and spoke in a snooty voice, "Well you see, the Don-osaur naturally exudes an exquisite taste of coffee whilst Leo tastes like…boring…and sweat. Eeeew."
"Mikey, boring doesn't even have a taste!" Don pointed out.
"Yes it does, it tastes like Leo!" Mikey defended himself with grand arm waving at the turtle in question. "Just lick him, dude! You'll totally get what I mean-" at that point, Mikey's brain caught up with his words and he wrinkled his face in disgust, "Nevermind."
Raph and Don collapsed into raucous laughter as Leo bore it all with the benevolence of a sage. "Let's not…do that," Leo suggested, though the way his body shook showed that even his tremendous self-control was at it limits, "Yes?"
"I'm all for not licking Leo," Raph wheezed as he tried to compose himself, raising his hand like it was a vote.
Don nodded in agreement and the remaining three turtles raised their hands as well. "All are in favour of forgetting this conversation ever happened," Mikey intoned dramatically, "In which case, what conversation?"
"Oh, I don't know Mikey," Raph said with a wicked grin, "How the hell do you know what Don tastes like?"
Donatello gave a startled glance at Mikey and a look of complete horror consumed his face. "Don't answer that," he begged, "The knowledge may give me nightmares."
"It's not just you Don," Leo muttered, glaring at Raphael who shrugged unapologetically.
Mikey gave an offended sniff, "I just happen to have a very sophisticated palette. For instance, Raphael-"
"Stop," Leo groaned, "Just stop. Right there. Further talking may cause brain damage."
"I thought that this conversation wasn't happening anyway Mikey," Don pointed out, a steely glint in his eyes as he glanced towards his bo as though contemplating beaning his brother on the head with it.
"Don't look at me bro!" Mikey protested, recognizing the look in his brother's eye and backing away just to be safe, "Raph was the one who was asking."
Raph climbed to his feet and headed for the door, "Then I take it back. I wanna catch the wrestling, so if you ladies'll excuse me…"
Mikey darted after his brother; with a dramatic leap he planted himself right in front of Raph, "Aw, man! Wrestling? Really? Boh-ring! Dude, you have got to know it's totally fake, right?"
With a dismissive shrug, Raph continued and ploughed straight into his brother, "Whatever. Still entertaining."
Mikey groaned and picked himself off the floor as Raph claimed victory over the couch and remote. The orange banded turtle perched himself precariously on the edge the sofa and quickly stole as many cushions as he could.
"Shyeah, if you're into that kind of thing. C'mon, Raph! Justice Force is on! I mean, if you're that desperate to see a bunch muscular men in spandex-"
"Mikey, it sounds like you're that desperate to get my fist in your face!" Raph snarled, attempted to dislodge his brother with his foot.
Michelangelo hopped to the ground and settled on the floor sulkily. "Well, fine! I was going to let you into my pillow fort…"
Don, who'd been drifting past on his way to the kitchen, paused. "There's an innuendo in there somewhere, but I'm too disturbed to look that deeply into it. Is there something I should know about you two...?"
His reward for that comment was a cushion in the face followed by a Raphael death tackle to the floor. As Don desperately tried to escape from his brother's grasp, Mikey quickly claimed the remote and couch. And despite Raphael's best efforts, the variant of spandexed men that was on the tv that night were those of the Justice Force kind.
It seems so strange that was the last time when things were right. Because the next day was when it all went to hell.
Something was wrong.
Master Splinter watched as his sons as they sparred and he couldn't shake that feeling that there was a disaster brewing in the dojo. His fur was on edge, ears flattening unconsciously and he gripped his walking stick tightly. But his sons were behaving, they darted forward and leapt back as they attacked and defended against each other.
There was no reason for this, this unsettledness crawling down Splinter's spine, making him tense every time one of his sons moved-
The silence. That's what was wrong; as the battles progressed his children had ever so gradually become quieter. There were no taunts or battle cries, just a deathly quiet. The air almost seemed suspended in the thick stillness as if the dojo was collectively holding its breath and waiting for something-something dangerous- to happen.
Whatever it was building up to, the climax came when Leonardo managed to disarm Raphael and send them both tumbling to the floor. Donatello and Michelangelo paused and watched inquisitively and the only movement in the dojo belonged to Leonardo as he pulled himself up on top of his brother. His eyes fixed on Raphael and the two turtles stared at each other as Leonardo's nostrils flared to sniff the air curiously.
"Enough," Master Splinter said and his voice seemed to shatter the silence.
His sons unfroze and lined up, chests heaving as they panted for air. But there were no jests, no boasts from Michelangelo or Leonardo admonishing his brothers for their performance. Instead, there was an odd look on Leonardo's face, on Michelangelo and Donatello's faces as well in fact, as they all focused intently on Raphael.
And…there was that scent…faint, almost undetectable but there nonetheless. It wafted gently through the dojo, passed each turtle. Master Splinter could almost see the moment it was inhaled, each stiffened for half a moment, eyes widening as if receiving a secret message. A message Splinter was not privy to.
The old rat's fur bristled unhappily. He studied each of his sons carefully and then at last he saw it.
There was something…unfamiliar in their eyes, a dark look he'd never associated with his sons. Their bodies were tense, agitated and each had settled as far away as possible from the other. They shifted restlessly and he watched in curiosity as their hands repeatedly flexed into fists and relaxed again.
He'd never witnessed such behaviour before. "My sons," he began but he got no further-
In a second, three of his sons were on their feet, hissing furiously at each other. Leonardo loomed threateningly over Michelangelo but the orange turtle was not cowed. As Master Splinter blinked in confusion, Donatello quickly took a step towards Raphael, apparently not interested in whatever battle that was occurring between his other brothers.
This…could not be. The way his sons tensed and snarled, the darkness in their eyes told him that these were not his children, merely wild animals locked within their mutated bodies.
He did not have time to ponder this development. Michelangelo lunged for Donatello, and the purple banded turtle crashed to the ground, quickly recovering and leaping to his feet with a angered hiss. A few moments later, Leonardo joined them as they clashed in battle, thick fingers tensed into claws and their snarling mouths for the first time morphed into beaks. They tore into each other only with the weapons nature had provided them and their savage brawl quickly drew blood.
Splinter darted forward, quickly driving his slender fingers into pressure points but his third son nimbly evaded his grasp and dragged Raphael from the lair. Splinter took a step after his escaping children but a furious roar diverted his attention back to the incapacitated turtles.
Already, one was climbing to his feet, the paralysis shaken from his limbs. His dark eyes rested on Splinter for a brief moment, then swept past him to the departing turtles. He took a step forward but his brother lunged for his legs and they became a tangled mess of battling reptiles.
Master Splinter hesitated, glanced back to catch a glimpse of red bandana tails fluttering out of sight and then made his choice.
He could only hope that he would not regret it.
Footsteps echoed through the damp tunnels as a pair of mutated turtles abandoned a lifetime of training, all forms of higher thought processes gone from their minds. Only the sewer rats noted their passage, they hissed furiously at the intruders and fled into dark shadows.
Eventually, the lead turtle slowed their frantic pace. It was debatable whether he'd consciously made the decision or not but their path had taken them deep within the sewer system, very rarely visited by the mutant subterranean dwellers or humans alike. They travelled further into the lonely tunnels, where time itself seemed to have forgotten.
Like some secret signal had been given, the first turtle suddenly stopped. He turned to his brother, shoving him hard to the ground. His fingers clamped down with an iron grip on the other turtle as he manoeuvred the other's shell between them, a low rumbling churr building in his throat.
There is no pleasure in this; low growls and moans escape from their beaks but they are bestial noises, brought on by the act but no conscious enjoyment on either part. Reason had no place here, this was something that had been coded into every living creature and it cared nothing for the havoc it was wreaking for the two bodies obeying its preprogramed instructions.
It wasn't a primordial dance. No stars exploding, this wasn't the ultimate expression of love. Nor was it an act of intimacy; there was nothing beautiful here but harsh reality, this was nothing more than a basic biological function.
There was nothing remotely recognizably human about this act.
Because the performers here were nowhere near remotely human themselves.
Do you know how unlikely it is for the mutagen to have interacted with our DNA so well? To have altered it so perfectly that we became humanoid turtles the chances are near impossible. For every change made to our genetic sequence, there are a thousand possibilities that it could have resulted in nonsensical code, which would have created defective proteins or even stopped their production, stunting our growth and killing us. That every change didn't defies the odds.
That we live and breathe and function is nothing short of a miracle.
That our brains are capable of sentient thought is damn well impossible.
But we can only develop so far. No matter how human we felt, our capacity for emotions, logic and reasoning, the simple fact remains that we were once four turtles. Simple animals with no higher purpose than to survive long enough to pass on genes to the next generation. The innate need to breed is the driving force of all organisms, and even the thousands of years of sentience that humans have has not been enough to remove it from their genetic code.
What hope then, did we have? A mere 20 years of mimicking humans, of learning to live as brothers and family when turtles did not possess such concepts.
It was not enough to shield us from our nature.
An opportunity to breed could not be ignored.
Raph's brain felt like glue. As he slowly became conscious, his mind barely stirred through the thick haze fogging up his head. He stared blankly at the wall in front of him for several minutes before it finally occurred to him it wasn't his bedroom wall.
He lifted his neck and swore in surprise at the surge of pain that shot through his body, alerting him to the damage he'd seemed to have accumulated since…Raph frowned at the mental blank. How had he got here?
Here being…the inner sewer system by the looks of it. Raph slowly pulled himself up against the wall, taking a deep breath to compose himself, (he was not in pain, he was not in pain, motherfucker his body hurt!) before he opened his eyes again to assess the damage.
He blinked in surprise at the three fingered shaped bruises and then something hiding in the mist in his brain shot out and sent him reeling-
An iron grip forced him to the floor; a wild churr filled his ears as the other turtle manoeuvred himself behind him. Then…an odd discomfort in a place he'd never imagined would be invaded-
Raph's eyes fluttered open as he lurched forward to lose the acidic remains of his last meal. His throat burned furiously as he coughed up the corrosive bile but it's nothing compared to the jumbled mess his brain had suddenly mushed into.
His brother had, had- shitshitshitshitshit- that couldn't have happened. It couldn't. Could not. Had not happened. Someone, the Foot mystics, yes, someone was screwing with his head because it was not possible that his brother had-it was a bad dream nothing more. A fucking nightmare that could've only been cooked up by the sick minds of one of their enemies. That's all it was because there was no way-no fucking way that that had happened.
But damn, his arms hurt. They ached incessantly, almost like it had happened, like it had happened and-his brother's gripped his arms tightly and there was no way on earth this could be true. When the mystics and the Tribunal had trapped them in dreams, things had felt real then; he'd been so convinced that people had died and the injuries he'd sustained were real too.
That's all this was, a nightmare of bruised arms and, and -his brother pushing him to the floor- total fuckedupness. It couldn't be real. He refused to entertain the slight possibility that it was. If it had happened –which it had- if there was the most miniscule chance of this happening and he wasn't saying that there was because there was no chance in hell that it had, then he was going to have kill someone. Someone like his brother.
With that resolution in mind, he found the wall and somehow made it to his feet, raw fury fuelling his every movement, panting hard as each twinge of pain sent crazy images spiralling through his brain. Stupid Foot mystics fucking around with his head. He was stronger than them and soon these illusions were going to fade from his mind and his arms were going to stop hurting and Raph was going to hunt down those fuckers and pull their elemental guts out of their throats and strangle them for pulling this shit on him.
A shiver suddenly went through his body as he suddenly wondered where his brother had vanished to. Which was stupid because his brother was not here since this was a dream. Those Foot mystics were just trying to distract him, trying to frighten him, trying to keep him from going after them. His brother was not here and he was going to get out of here and then they would go home and things would be fine-
Fuck, suddenly he was afraid. Afraid that his brother was lurking around somewhere nearby, waiting for Raph to stumble past and-he was going home. Never mind that this was an illusion and he couldn't get out until he figured what was going on because he wasn't going to touch that shit that he'd dreamt with a fifty mile pole. He was going home. He was going to find his hammock and never-
And why couldn't he hear?
A strange static had fallen on his ears, he stood still with one hand resting on the wall as he tried to hear anything. The water at his feet made no sound as it flowed past him, the sewer rats that scurried away from his approach didn't squeak in alarm-where had the sounds gone?
His beak opened and shut uncontrollably and he knew that if his ears were working he'd be able to hear the strangled keening his throat had to be making-
The sewer rats were the only witnesses as the lone turtle slumped exhaustedly against the wall as the dam on his memories finally burst. A strange cry escaped from his mouth as he shook and shuddered as he relived a betrayal committed by his very DNA and his own brother.
At last he was still, an unnatural silence fell on the turtle as he opened his eyes and gazed around with empty eyes. The being inside the turtle's large frame seemed to have vanished, destroyed by the internal turmoil he'd just experienced. All that remained was a shadow, operating the vacant body with puppet strings.
He climbed to his feet with choppy, unnatural movements and set off into the darkness, driven by an instinctual impulse to return home. The natural grace that had always accompanied his movements had gone, along with most of the turtle's soul.
When he finally returned to the lair, the turtle deposited himself exhaustedly on the couch, watching through detached eyes as a purple turtle steadily approached, mouth opening to air words he couldn't hear.
Three fingers. The turtle's eyes locked onto the other's hands and the shadow inside him quailed in fear. As the turtle tensed and prepared to flee, his eyes drifted over the purple turtle's neck and he noted the shape of bruises there with vague interest.
Three fingered bruises, just like his arms.
There was a blue turtle in the room now and he noticed that the purple one tensed at the sight of the newcomer and he knew who'd caused the injuries on that one's throat. The two turtles were talking and though he couldn't hear the words, he knew that they were speaking about him. But that wasn't important, his eyes kept glancing at the blue turtle's hands and the purple turtle's throat and the way the purple one kept his distance from the other turtle.
The purple one knew, knew how dangerous those three fingered hands could be and he found himself shuffling up behind the purple turtle.
This one, yes, this one was safe.
Never had Don been so relieved at the sight of his brother stumbling home. Before the lair's entrance had even finished shutting, the turtle shot away from his computer and to his door.
For a moment he paused at leaving the safety of his room, after all he was out there. But Raph, Raph needed him, far more than he ever had before in his life. A shiver went through Don; his problems were all so very minor in the face of the tragedy his brothers had woken up to this morning. Last night, last night was insane, last night should have never happened.
But it had, a buried part of their very nature had come screaming to life last night as they'd all battled in an twisted effort to, to-
Don had done his research a long time ago about the reproductive behaviour of turtles. He knew exactly what had transpired between his two brothers, though why it had happened eluded him. There shouldn't have ever been a reason for it to have happened. But science was always full of exceptions and already several theories were brewing inside him.
Theories that would do absolutely nothing to help his brothers.
His fingers tightened on the doorknob but he made no further move to open it. He had to do this. Raph…needed family right now. Raph needed a lot of things at the moment actually; mainly Raph needed last night to have never happened. And since Master Splinter had left the lair a while ago and Leo was in no shape or form capable of handling anything at the moment, it was up to Don to do what little he could.
He could do it. He had to do it. The fact that Leo was somewhere out there…it, well that was irrelevant. It really, really was.
Maybe one day, he'd believe it.
Don forced his fingers to turn the handle, then he stealthily headed down into the living room where his brother was collapsing on the couch.
"Raph?" he whispered quietly, something was wrong with the way his brother was moving, slow and mechanical and with none of Raphael's grace.
The turtle immediately tensed and it was painful to watch as Raphael stared fearfully at him with vacant empty eyes. And there were so many bruises, large three fingered discolorations that laced his brother's arms and legs. His neck…Don's own began to throb in sympathy at the sight of the bite mark there. Any hopeful doubts Don had about what had happened between his brothers vanished.
But the emptiness, Don couldn't shake it. Raph's eyes were dull and flat, no trace of his usual fury and energy. There was nothing imposing about his large bulky frame, all the menace, the antagonism that defined Raph was gone; it was a lost stranger staring at Don through his brother's eyes and flinching away in fear.
Whoever this was, it wasn't Raphael.
The thought terrified Don more than anything he'd ever experienced.
And yet…the fine tremors that shook the turtle's body were the distinct warning signs of the deepest rages Raphael was capable off. Somewhere deep within, anger still burned, reaching out through the surface, through this numb façade that wore Raphael's face.
"Shit," the word escaped from Donatello's mouth but Raph didn't even notice; he was somewhere beyond Don's reach and beyond hearing.
"Don?" Leo's quiet voice cut through the room and unconsciously, Don's muscles locked down in preparation of a battle that wasn't to come.
Leo wasn't his enemy. His memory screamed with images from last night's fight and insisted that he should be taken down as quickly as possible. Don gritted his teeth and forced his fists to relax. His instincts were biased from what had happened. Leo wasn't what was important here.
Leo opened his mouth to speak- "Not now," Don said forcefully, forcing himself to direct his attention to Raphael who was watching the exchange with almost total disinterest. He needed to focus on Raph. If he ignored Leo then he could ignore his memories.
"We need to-"
"No, we don't," Don insisted firmly, shooting a glance at Leo.
Numb fear shot through Don as he caught a glimpse at the raw emptiness in his brother's eyes, the same emptiness that had swallowed Raphael whole and left an empty shell in his place. There was none of Leo's familiar confidence and poise, instead he looked…ill. A huge weight began to creep over Don but he forced it away almost immediately. Damn it, he already had one brother to handle and it didn't matter that Leo needed as much help; he was not going to deal with Leo. Not like this. Not ever. Not after what had happened.
"What…happened to Raph?" Leo asked hoarsely, perhaps recognising Don's hostility towards him.
For an incredulous second, Don stared at his brother, completely distracted from Raphael. Did Leo honestly not know what had happened the night before? It seemed so blatantly obvious and Leo was never slow. But as he gazed at Leo, it occurred that it wasn't the sort of thing that someone would accept easily. Don's own brain kept shorting out whenever his thoughts drifted over and it would be very easy and tempting to sink into denial.
"Raph," Don said shortly, "Is a total mess. And you're not helping. He's afraid of you."
It was true, Raph's eyes were fixed on Leo and he was moving ever so slightly to hide behind Don. "I don't-" Leo frowned and shook his head, "Did someone attack him while he was outside?"
Don tilted his head almost curiously; this would all be very fascinating if it wasn't so creepy, Raph cowering behind him while Leo played dumb. "No," he answered as he debated whether or not to just throw the truth out at Leo. "Raph was out…with Mikey."
At the mention of the fourth turtle's name, Raphael stiffened entirely and went still. "Raph?" cursing himself for not guessing that mentioning Mikey's name was probably a bad idea, Don cautiously approached his brother, waving his hand in front of him.
"Raph," he repeated, a slight note of fear in his voice this time as he reached out to gently grasp Raph's shoulder and shake him. Raphael's head flopped flaccidly to the side but there was no further response.
"What's wrong with him?" Leo asked worriedly, walking over.
Donatello couldn't help the tensing of his own muscles at the near proximity of his other brother but he forced it down. "I don't know," he muttered. "Help me get him to the infirmary; I'll see what I can look up."
Numerous possibilities ran through his mind as they dragged Raphael, extreme shock, trauma, catonia, things that he could never imagine Raph of all people ever experiencing. But then again, no one should have ever been forced to experience last night events. Don began to run through a checklist of websites to look up then forced himself to stop.
This was nothing any human had ever needed to deal with. There was nothing the human world had to offer that could help. What was he going to do, log onto one of those websites and send a query, "My brothers lost complete control of themselves and slept with each other and I have the niggling suspicion that one of them might actually be female because we're humanoid turtles and there are very few physical differences between male and female turtles and it's entirely possible we actually never noticed. What should we do?"
Yeah, he wasn't going to get anything useful.
When they finally managed to get Raph onto the sickbed in the small room by the dojo, Leo looked up with a vague trace of his old usual determination, "Don, what's going on?"
"At a glance, I would say Raph's just gone into some form of catonic shock," Don muttered as he redundantly fetched his laptop anyway, just so that he could pretend for a few minutes that he was going to find something that would help.
"Catonic shock? That's…bad right?" Leo asked. "What brought that on?"
"You know what happened?" Don asked, deciding to go for the direct route as he observed Raphael's frozen form. This really wasn't the time or place, he'd much rather be exerting his energy on Raph, but Leo was being absolutely hopeless right now.
Leo gazed questioningly at Don as he mumbled, "Last night…was insane. And I swear, I didn't mean a thing that happened. It was like I wasn't even there; I was completely out of control."
"I know," Don said and even though it's the truth, the coldness doesn't dissipate in his guts. "But do you know what happened between Mikey and Raph?"
His brother's eyes frowned, eyes nearly sliding in shut as if in pain. "Mikey…dragged Raph away," he said slowly, his eyes opening to wander over Raph's bruises thoughtfully. "But I don't understand anything, why would he do this?"
Words fly to Don's tongue, hundreds of explanations about hormones, sexual maturity and the behaviour and nature of turtles. But in the end, he couldn't say anything, couldn't bring himself up to speak.
Because, he cannot fix this.
The realization left him numb. The full magnitude of what had happened was only just beginning to sink into Donatello's brain. Michelangelo and Raph had slept with each other. No, by the look of it, Michelangelo may have actually have…raped Raphael. And Raph, Raph definitely wasn't okay with it. He was so far gone; he'd sunk into some form of shock. And Mikey, Jesus Christ, Mikey wouldn't have ever intentionally done something like this.
They'd all been plunged into a mental blackout by their turtle side. It had come screaming and clawing to the surface, something that had never happened before and they'd had no experience to counteract it. They hadn't been in control of themselves at all.
There was no comfort in knowing that.
Donatello's take on life was that of an engineer's, if something was not working, there was always a broken or damaged part. Fixing them required finding the right component and replacing it. But machines were simple and adhered to the laws of logic and reason.
People however, they were far more complicated than any machine. Emotions were often irrational, connected to a lifetime of experiences. Logic was not enough to override them. But this, his brothers weren't going to be made better just by knowing they weren't at fault. Life wasn't going to be magically fixed with a few logical explanations. Raphael in particular had always been led by the nose by his emotions, making impulsive decisions that depended little on reason.
There was no fixing people. He could not come and shove science into his brothers' faces when they had suffered a degradation and betrayal that had no bounds. The damage done could not ever be taken away. Not with simple reassurances that they weren't at fault, that biology and genetics and instincts were to blame.
There was nothing Donatello could do at all.
20 minutes before
Mikey dreamt of a time when he played some sort of prank (the prank itself was unmemorable) on Raph. His brother had retaliated with his usual fury and the two had become a rolling heap of tangled turtle limbs that bowled through the living room, until-
They smacked into a coffee table and knocked a beautiful blue vase to the floor. Mikey remembered pulling away from Raph as they surveyed the damage; the vase had shattered into a thousand unfixable pieces. A sick feeling grew inside his guts as he stared disbelieving at the vase, Splinter had loved the blue ceramic urn and it was one of the few things that brought colour to their dull underground home and it was irreparably broken.
Similarly, the same ill feeling that he'd damaged something beyond fixing was boiling around his stomach as he clawed his way to consciousness to find himself on the lumpy floor of the sewers.
Mikey blinked in confusion as he gradually located each and every one of his limbs, there was a strange warm…something that he was lying on, legs entangled tightly by tough flesh. For a crazy panicked moment, he imagined that he was on top of a zombie then a loud, familiar snore calmed him as he realised it was just Raph-
Wait a sec. Why was he lying on top of Raph?
The sick feeling grew stronger inside him as he slowly pulled himself away from his brother. Images began to flicker in his mind, roaring memories that began to pound louder and louder in his head and he gritted teeth as he forced them away, something told him they were BAD NEWS.
He blinked blearily at the picture, Raph, lying on the ground, Raph, whose arms were covered in three finger shaped bruises, Raph, whose neck had a BITE wound of all things, Raph, who really….wasn't looking all that great.
The memories inside his head were laughing at him now as he tried to figure out what the hell had happened. A glance round the tunnel revealed they were in the deeper parts of the sewers and quite alone by the looks of it. And given that he was only three fingered person around aside from Raph (unless Raph was into self-harm, something he definitely WAS NOT), that meant that he'd left those bruises on Raph's arms.
And, logically, that also meant that he left all the other wounds in Raph's flesh.
A cold iciness replaced the illness in his guts; Mikey clambered to his feet and dashed down the tunnel, trying to put as much distance as he could between him and his brother. Some sort of craziness had taken over him and Raph wouldn't be safe if he was around. The images bounced mockingly on his brain and he forced them desperately away from him.
He finally came to a stop on a walkway overlooking a water junction. The loud roar of falling water briefly drowned out the memories trying to make their way to his brain but it isn't enough. Mikey slumped to the ground as he finally let last night's activities come to light.
With a horrified scream, he scrambled to his feet, glancing wildly around for something to attack, he settled on swinging his fist at the wall. The pain that shot through his hands was nothing compared to the haemorrhaging inside his soul and he repeatedly drove each fist into the wall until-
A furred hand caught one fist and he swung round to attack whatever it was. He caught a brief glimpse of Master Splinter's startled eyes and -he vaguely was aware that attacking Sensei of all people was a mega bad idea- his free hand snagged a nunchuck from his belt and suddenly they were swept into a furious battle.
Operating on nothing but the sheer horror of his memories, Mikey's movements were dangerously fast; his limbs were mere blurs as he threw a flurry of punches and kicks aimed at his father. The old rat effortlessly bobbed and ducked away from Mikey's ferocious attacks, his dodges were short and precise as opposed to Mikey's strenuous strikes and it wasn't before long that the turtle slowed and dropped to the floor in sheer exhaustion, depleted both mentally and physically.
Master Splinter did not approach; he instead stood up and backed away. There was an unfamiliar bleakness in his eyes as he silently waited for Michelangelo to gather himself up, hands resting tensely on his walking stick.
Eventually, thought returned to Michelangelo. His bloodied hands began to shake as a pitiful whimper escaped from his lips. He had, he had-no. That. No. There was something wrong with him. Something incredibly wrong. Brain damage. Yes. His brothers' were always claiming that he'd been dropped on his head as a child. That was definitely it.
The soft moan petered into hysterical laughter. Braaaaaaaaain damage. Wasn't it just fuuuuucking fantastic? Like, like that time when one of Don's experiments had gone wrong and all those crazy fumes had flooded the lair and everyone had been so happy. Leo and Raph had hugged each other! That's how happy they were. Best chums and bosom buddies.
A snort slipped from Mikey's mouth. Bosom buddies. Boooooosom. Bosooooooom. Bosom. What a freaking hilarious word. It was amazing, absolutely gobsmacking amusing. It was almost as funny as the craaaazy memories floating around his brain. They were pretty hilarious and utterly unbelievable. Ah, the shit his brain came up with.
It's almost like one of those movies, when everyone gets completely hammered and then they all wake up in the wrong beds. Mikey always enjoyed them, the slow comedic horror as the characters remember what had happened the night before. It was always hilarious to watch, right? The funniest thing that could happen, except, except-
There was that sickness in his guts again, a cold iciness growing in his chest that cut through the hysteria infecting his brain. There was nothing funny here. There was nothing funny at all. He had, holy shit, what had he done? What sort of person did that? No sane, normal person could have. Then, then, he was-
The revelation left him cold but calm as he quickly clung to the small comfort it had to offer. If he was crazy, then he wasn't responsible right? It wasn't his fault he and Raph had, had-Jesus Christ, why had it happened?
No. Didn't matter. He was crazy after all. Things didn't need to happen for a reason, didn't need to make sense, didn't need to be understood-
Things like raping his own brother.
A curious, half squashed squeak escaped from Mikey's throat as he collapsed in on himself. What the hell was wrong with him? Raph was his brother! His extremely male brother in fact. And yet, and yet-it didn't make sense! Why didn't it make sense? Why had it happened? Never had he even entertained the vaguest thoughts in his brain and yet he had-
Jesus christ on a fucking diving board-
Raph was going to kill him.
This, Mikey knew without the slightest doubts. The 20 or so years between them were gone, smashed away by one night's craziness. Mikey had broken something irreparable between them; it was as simple as that. And it didn't matter that he bloody well never meant it, never ever wanted to do it. Raph was going to rip his brain straight out of his skull.
"My son," Master Splinter's voice was calm, like he didn't know what Mikey had done-
Did Master Splinter know what he'd done? Not a single emotion was on his father's face. Did he know? It seemed impossible that he didn't. Master Splinter knew just about everything. He had to know.
But why then, did Master Splinter refer to him as his son if he knew? Surely Master Splinter wouldn't have called him such if he knew how he'd dishonoured Raphael. Had dragged his brother down and, and-
"Not your son," Michelangelo managed to force out from his mouth.
Didn't deserve to be called Splinter's son. Splinter's children had honor. They had integrity and they were good. But he'd done something that no son of Splinter's would have ever done. He couldn't possibly be one of them.
Master Splinter was watching him with those impenetrable eyes. "For what reason should I not call you my son?"
He didn't know. How could Splinter not know? The magnitude of Mikey's crime was so large, it was almost impossible that his father could not see it crushing down on him with its weight, painted in bright neon colors.
He shook his head helplessly, unable to explain just how not Splinter's son he was. He couldn't explain this. He couldn't tell Splinter this, not in a million years.
The old rat approached him carefully, placing one slender hand on the turtle's shoulder. "We must go home Michelangelo," he said softly. "There is nothing for us out here."
"Bu-but," words failed to find their way to his mouth as Mikey tried to make sense of what was happening right now. He couldn't possibly go home and face his brothers. Face Raph. No-
Splinter's fingers turned Mikey's chin up to face him and the steel in his father's eyes instantly squashed his protests. Years of conditioning brought him reluctantly to his feet but as Splinter turned away to begin the long trek home, Mikey caught a flash of raw emotion on his father's face.
And he realized that Splinter didn't know what to do at all.