A month had passed and Leo was still not showing signs of improvement; his physical form was there and his wounds were now fully healed but it was like his mind had been separated from his body and wasn't planning on returning. The whole family was dead worried about the leader's condition; Leatherhead and Donatello had to run innumerable scans just to make sure Leonardo wasn't brain death. Luckily all the analysis gave a negative answer; Leo wasn't a vegetable, he was alive… but unconscious.
Several meditation sessions had drained most of Splinter's energy and now had left him in a weakened state and made the old rat felt incredibly hopeless. Only darkness and the feeling of sorrow, pain and blame welcomed him every time he tried to establish a link with Leonardo's mind; Splinter knew his son was there but he had locked himself into his own mind filling it with dark thoughts and barriers.
The question was: why?
During this lapse of time, the guys had to return to their training because of their father's insistence. Leatherhead moved in with the Hamatos in order to be able to keep an eye on Leonardo 24/7 so the guys could go out patrolling, feeling relieved their brother was in good hands.
Even so, the trio didn't feel quite complete and constantly called back home asking for Leonardo's condition status.
April and Casey visited constantly now and sometimes, they even stayed to sleep; April also helped controlling Leo's vital signs, administrating vitamins and helping Don feeding him through a tube. Just because he was unconscious, that didn't mean Leo's body didn't need food anymore. In order to keep him well fed, the family had a special feeding schedule they must follow; everyone was taught what to do and since this activity had become "normal" and regular, they were all professionals now.
Michelangelo still had some nightmares but they were getting easier to deal with thanks to Splinter and Raphael's help who spent most of his time with the youngest now. The orange-clad turtle was slowly recuperating that special sparkle that lightened up everyone's world; now he had begun to pull some small pranks and tell a few jokes but he had also matured a little bit, he could give you a very good advice whenever you needed one and would crack up a joke, adding his personal touch to any conversation.
Everything was pretty much the same, only with one turtle down. How long until things were back to normal?
Only time could tell.
Knocking softly at the lab's door, Raph announced himself; the door couldn't be found closed lately so entering to the lab and get the resident genius out was quite easy… or at least it would've been if it wasn't for Don's intense focusing while doing his researches and monitoring Leo's vitals. There were days when the bo wielder would spend hours staring at Leo's unconscious form or typing information on his laptop and not even flinch when a glass broke or when Mikey let out a girly scream while being chased by Raph.
Today was one of those days.
Don was so mesmerized by a medical book and a bunch of papers that contained Leo's last analysis that didn't notice Raphael was a few inches close to him.
The red-clad ninja gently shook his brother's shoulder, finally getting the genius' attention. "Donnie, Mikey says lunch is ready"
Don let out a sigh of tiredness. "Thanks Raph. I'll be there in a sec" he answered and went back to his papers. That was, of course, before Raph snatched them off his hands.
"Oh no, you're coming with me right now" Raph replied, pulling Don to his feet by grabbing his arm. "I know that 'will be there in a sec' is a lie"
"Ok, you got me" Don chuckled. "I just needed to check Leo's analysis, that's all"
Raph rolled his eyes. That excuse was getting very old very fast. "Donnie, for the looks of it… the guy ain't gonna leave that bed anytime soon. Try to chill!"
Donatello's face turned serious, thoughtful and somehow hurt; he gazed at Leonardo with sad, tired and worried eyes. It was then when Raphael realized how stupid his comment had been.
"Sorry. Poor choice of words" he apologized.
Don shrugged casually. "It's ok. Anyway, let's go eat"
Raph observed in silence how the genius organized his notes and books before leaving. The place Don once called 'his sanctuary' was a complete mess of discarded papers and lots of cans of energy drinks and coffee bags. Plus, there were a lot of vitamin bottles and numerous amounts of used medical supplies.
Taking a better look at Donatello, the olive turtle seemed to have aged a couple of years; he had gotten skinnier and paler and that wasn't a good sign. This was the reason why the family had to constantly look after Don, if he was left by his own for a couple of days, he would prefer starve to death rather than leaving Leonardo's side.
Raphael couldn't really get angry at his brother for neglecting his self being; if he was in his place, he would have done the same. In fact, he had been neglecting his physical a little bit as well; his nightly training hours had reduced, this way he could guard Leonardo during the night and allow Don to get some decent sleep once in a while.
During those long, sleepless nights, Raph would tell Leo about his day, about the new kata he had learnt, the new reality show on TV, the weather, about his bike and other random stuff. He also told him about his feelings, about how lonely he felt without him to boss him around, how much he missed his lectures and even their arguments; he told him about Mikey's nightmares, Don's efforts to keep him alive and his father's attempts on making a connection with him. Even when he wasn't sure Leo was listening, Raph felt the tension and stress leave his body right after talking to his eldest brother… or in this case at his limp, motionless body.
And once in a while, the sai wielder would make sure no one was spying him, then, he could make himself a spot right beside Leo and lay down till he fell asleep listening to his brother's steady breathing and the constant beeping coming from the heart monitor.
Once Donatello was content after seeing his workplace was relatively clean, he left his sanctuary but not before giving a last gentle squeeze to one of Leo's hands. Raph looked at his leader on last time and sighed before closing the door behind him.
The scene in the kitchen was way different: less gloomy and more alive. Mikey hummed happily while he placed the plates on the table with Splinter's help. Raph smiled to himself; seeing Mikey smile was such a rarity a few weeks ago but now, it would appear that good old Mikey was back.
"Did April and Casey leave already?" Don asked noticing their absence.
"Just April; she needed to buy some… uh… her girly stuff" Mikey answered.
Don looked at him in confusion. "Huh?"
"You know… when she's… uh, the days she all moody and…" The youngest said while blushing.
"Oh, I get it. She's in her period and went for pads" Raph blurted out making Don almost choke on his juice.
"You had to say it out loud?! Jesus, Raph! I was trying to be discreet" The youngest yelled, blushing even more. Yes, it was pretty awkward to endure that part of having a female friend.
Raph rolled eyes. "Discreet, my ass. This is XXI century, Mike; none of that stuff is bound to be secret anymore. Besides, you know all that stuff from Don's Sex. Ed. classes so I don't understand why you freak out"
"Hey, where's Casey?" Don asked changing the subject.
"Taking a shower" Mikey answered, sitting at the table with his plate of salad.
"Yo bonehead! You better not hog all the hot water again!" Raph yelled.
"I only did it once!" Casey's loud reply came from the bathroom.
The elevator doors opened and the red haired turtle's friend made her entrance. Her facial expression was unreadable and she wasn't carrying any market bags or anything that indicated she had gone to a store. Just when she was making her way to the kitchen, Casey came out of the bathroom wearing fresh clean clothes and towel around his neck.
"Sup, babe! Did you… -what's with the long face?" Casey quickly changed his question after noticing April's seriousness.
She motioned her boyfriend to follow her to the kitchen where their friends were. Casey was confused but hurried his steps. Once inside, the Hamatos turned their attention to the human couple.
"What's wrong April? You look like you've seen Raph's face when he just wakes up" Mikey joked earning a murderous glare from his hotheaded sibling.
Taking a deep breath, April finally talked. "I just heard something on the radio about the guy who kidnapped Leo and Mikey"
"Samuel Flynn?!" The three brothers and Casey said in unison.
"What did you hear?" Don asked a bit demandingly.
"Police got a call from the neighbors about animal noises coming from the building. When they got there, they captured Flynn's henchmen and freed the few animals that could make it out alive. They're all being taken to refuges and-"
"What about Samuel? Did they find the body?" Mikey interrupted.
"That's exactly where I was going" April continued. "There was no body"
Raphael paled like everyone else in the room but he tried to remain calmed and state the obvious. "Well, of course there was no body. Those damn tigers must have-"
April shook her head. "No Raph. Police found blood, yes. Shredded clothes? Yes. But both tigers were found dead with a bullet wound between their eyes and there was no body in the scene"
Mikey's only eye went wide in horror. "So that means…"
"That fucker can't be alive" Raph quickly objected.
"- he can't be alive! He just can't be!" The hothead replied angrily at the red haired woman. "I was there when the tigers started to eat him alive!"
"No, you weren't, Raph. You left with Mikey because he got stabbed" Don argued. "So it might be possible that he just got lucky and escaped"
"Who the fuck escapes from two fucking wild tigers alive?" Raph spat furiously, standing up so fast that his chair fell over. "I say we go back there and find that bastard before the police does it… and this time, nobody will stop me from killing him"
"Miss O'Neil, what else did you hear about this man?" Splinter asked feeling a bit hesitant for doing so.
"Only that the police is looking for him and hope he's alive so they can take him to justice. He violated the terms of his conditional freedom by torturing animals again. Now his bank account and properties are all in hands of the State; he's completely ruined and once police captures him, he's in for a life sentence of even death sentence"
"Well, I say we skip the trial and go to the execution" Raph muttered twirling his sais expertly.
"Hold it; if Samuel is still alive, I don't think he's a mayor threat to us right now" Don said and the family looked at him strangely.
"Come again?" Casey asked scratching his head.
"Think about it: He's being searched by police, he has no money or any place to go and he's probably very injured after 'surviving' the tiger attack" The genius commented. "Even if he wanted to, he can't make our story public without risking being captured and going to jail"
"Still, I won't rest till I see that fucker's corpse with my own eyes"
With that said, the red-clad turtle placed his sais back into his belt and starting walking outside the room when a firm grip on his shoulder stopped him.
"Raphael, you will not leave the lair!"Splinter ordered.
"Sensei, that psycho is still out there! He knows the lair's location, he knows about all of us! He may be weak now but if we let him be, he'll recover and he'll go back to haunt and kill us and, God forbid, even kill our friends!"
"Raphael, enough!" Splinter yelled hitting the floor hard with his walking stick making said turtle flinch. "I will not discuss this with you any further! You shall stay in the lair to look after your brothers and leave this matter to authorities!"
Although their father's word was law, Raphael was not going to give up that easily.
"How can you simply ignore the fact Flynn mutilated Mikey and almost killed Leo, Don and me?! How can you allow that piece of shit to live when you know he's totally responsible of Leo's coma?!"
"Leo's in coma?!" Everyone shouted out in shock.
"But Don, you said he was just recuperating from his wounds! Like the time Shredder attacked him!" Casey commented still in shock by the news.
Splinter's eyes widened and his mouth hung open slightly. He turned his gaze to his purple-clad son. "My son, is it true?"
Don's hand fidgeted, his gaze glued on the ground. "I… I was not sure but…"
"Just say it, Don! Cat's outta the bag now" Raph growled.
"Raph, stop it! You're making him nervous" April replied then turned back to the olive turtle. "Donnie?"
The genius turtle let out a sigh. "After the first two weeks, I started having my suspicions Leo could be brain dead so I ran a scan. Results were negative so the other option I had was a comma. I ran more tests and consulted with bunch of medical books and some internet sites… they all said the same thing. So I came to conclusion that Leo was in coma. And honestly, I don't know if he'll ever wake up"
Silence in the room could be cut with a knife in that moment. No one was expecting bad news with their lunch today; that was for sure.
"See? That's why we have to go find Samuel and make him pay!" Raph said after a few minutes of tension. "Damn, I should have killed him when I had the chance!"
"Wait, wait… you had the chance to kill him but you didn't? That sounds more like something Leo would've done" Casey commented.
"I was this close from doing it, Casey" Raph said, holding his index finger and thumb a half-inch apart. "If it wasn't for Mikey, I would've made that motherfucker choke with my sai"
"Hey, don't you dare to blame Mi-"
"-How could you…" Don's reply was cut off by Mikey, whose voice was shaky and his eye glassy with tears.
Realization hit Don the moment he saw his youngest brother face, he wasn't supposed to know about Leo's condition; no one was supposed to know it, anyway.
"Mikey, I… I can explain" Don lied. He wasn't really sure how he was going to fix this mess.
"Why you never told us, Don? Why you never told me?!" Mikey continued, his voice breaking slightly.
The genius came close to his brother and put a hand on his shoulder. "Mikey, I wanted to. I swear, I was going to-"
"-Don't touch me!" Mikey swatted the hand away furiously. "First, Raph blames me for Flynn's survival and now you… you knew Leo was in comma all this time and you didn't say a word!"
"Mikey, I'm sorry" Don tried again to reason with the youngest but the latter ran past him, going directly to his room.
"Liar! You're a fucking liar!" Mikey yelled from upstairs before slamming his room's door shut.
This was not exactly how they all expected their afternoon to begin.
This story ain't dead; it's life's fault it can't be updated regularly but here you go! A brand new chapter.
Just so you know, TMNT Minecraft has been killed and no, I'm not planning on re-writing it. The dead exist in the past and I must attend to the future… yes, that includes not bringing back to life a fic failure.
Sorry y'all, but reality is cruel.
Don't forget to check out "The Phantom of the Sewers"; give it a Fav, a review, thumbs up or whatever. LOL!
That's it for now. See y'all next time!