A giant thank you to Amonraphoenix for her mad beta reading skills!
And a big thank you to Mela989898, I love kittens too and sleepingseeker for your awesome reviews!
Donatello managed to pull Nightmare aside when the rest of the room's occupants decided to discuss everything away from them. His 'family' didn't trust them, not that he could really blame them, but still, the situation hurt his heart a little.
He turned his attention to Nightmare. "So what did I do to Raph?" he asked in a soft voice, his heart filling with worry.
Nightmare stared into space for a few moments before blinking and focusing her attention on him, her eyes briefly straying to Raphael before sliding back to his own. "You know what your dark half is, Donatello," Nightmare responded softly. "It is possible that he left an imprint of himself upon Raphael's soul."
Donatello blinked at her in shock. "What does that even mean?" Donatello asked, shooting Raphael a quick glance. Raphael seemed to be having a hard time paying attention to the discussion that was going on around him. His eyes continually strayed to Nightmare, an angry expression crossing his features every time Donatello got too close to her.
Nightmare sighed snapping Donatello's focus back to her. "It means that I can only guess at what has happened. Your dark half was grabbing onto Raphael's soul."
"So you've said, but what exactly does that mean? And I touched Raphael's soul as well, did I do anything to him?"
"You?" she questioned pausing to think before answering. "Probably not. Your soul has an anchor because you have a body. Your dark half uses your soul as an anchor as it has no corporeal body of its own; it never has. It is a spiritual entity which means it is comprised solely of Power. So it is possible that a small bit of power was transferred to Raphael. However, it is also possible that your dark half's nature was transferred, possibly both." Nightmare paused again so that her words could sink in. He stared at her blankly and she sighed trying again.
"Think of it like two bodies of water coming together and then touching. One body of water, being stronger, let's say, pushes into the other, mixing slightly before receding. So I am not sure how much of you dark half's essence was transferred into Raphael. Best case scenario, he feels a little bit of an echo of your darker self's thoughts and desires that will wear off in a few days leaving him no worse for wear."
"And the worst case?" Donatello asked already knowing the answer, but needing to hear her say it.
"He becomes what you are," Nightmare said as she shifted her gaze to Raphael, assessing him.
"Oh, gods," Donatello whispered in horror.
"If he is becoming as you are, it would be best to bind him so that he is able to be controlled."
"B-bind him?" Donatello stammered in shock.
"Yes. If he is bound he can not only be controlled, but his Master can also subvert his dark half, leaving him much as he is, his dark half dormant."
"Nightmare, there has to be a way to...to..." his voice trailed off as he looked at her face, filled with regret because she was never wrong.
"If he is becoming as you are, I could no more reverse what is happening to him than I could reverse what happened to you."
Donatello bit his lip in frustration."But why now? Raph was fine until...until you arrived," Donatello whispered.
Nightmare blinked and nodded slowly, processing this information. Her eyes widened in realization. "Raphael is not Soul Rung, he is Soul Called," she whispered.
Donatello's eye ridges rose in shock, he had heard that term once before in another parallel universe. "And when Raphael looked into your eyes, his soul called out and yours answered. And because of this even if his darker self was just an echo that would have faded, the sound of your two souls together would have given his dark self a source of power to become...real."
Nightmare nodded in agreement. "But it is not my soul to which Raphael is reacting, it is Katherine's."
Donatello closed his eyes as his heart was lanced with pain. Yet another world where Raphael and Katherine were supposed to be together, he thought to himself bitterly. He could only hope that things turned out better for this version of his brother, than what had happened to his own.
Donatello blew out a breath of air. "So what do we do?" he asked in resignation.
"We will bind him to a witch."
Donatello closed his eyes. "Where are we going to find a witch?" he asked. "We are running out of time, remember?"
Nightmare remained silent and his eyes snapped open to look at her in question. "Katherine," he said as he swallowed.
Nightmare gave a faint nod of acknowledgement. "I shall let her out. Have her bind him, and return. I have discussed it with her and she is amendable to such an arrangement."
Donatello stared at her for a moment, nonplused.
He had forgotten.
He had forgotten what it was like being with Nightmare, who was always two steps -hells- twenty steps ahead of him. Trying to catch up to the way she thought and looked at the world was like foolishly trying to catch the tail end of a rainbow, and yet he still tried.
"The binding should allow me and eventually Katherine to subvert Raphael's darker half, keeping him from manifesting and hopefully preventing him from changing into what you are."
Donatello swallowed down his horror and nodded, knowing what Nightmare expected of him. With a heavy heart he turned facing the family that was not his own and slowly approached them. The moment he did so they quit talking. He cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his neck nervously, attempting to appear innocent and unthreatening.
Master Splinter's ears fell back against his head in anger and Donatello felt tears spring to his eyes.
Master Splinter's ears slowly lifted from his skull as he studied Donatello. Too many emotions were tumbling through him, he felt like a plastic bag being thrown around in a strong wind. "I know that you aren't my father and that you don't trust me, which is fair, but I just wanted to say...thank you for being my father again, for a short time and...I wish I had been able to say goodbye to my father before he passed away." Donatello watched out of the corner of his eye as Raphael moved silently to where Nightmare stood by herself her expression blank.
Leonardo's eyes watched Nightmare with suspicion. He looked as if he was going to call Raphael back, but Donatello's words seemed to give him pause. "Did the Shredder kill your father?" Leonardo asked quietly.
Donatello blinked and shook his head. "No, he died peacefully in his sleep one night." He answered. "But he was still gone too soon," Donatello added solemnly.
Raphael approached Nightmare, drawn to her for reasons he himself couldn't explain. Donatello had finally left her side, walking up to them and distracting his family so that he could quietly edge his way towards her.
He felt as if he needed to be close to her. Touching her was even better. He didn't understand why he felt the way he did, and although he cared and was bothered by the fact that he no longer seemed to be in control of his own body or mind, he did not bother to struggle against it.
"Hello, Raphael," her words rode along his skin like a soft caress. She lifted her hand and touched his cheek and he felt sparks fly. Raphael stepped closer, crushing her to his body and leaning down, claiming her lips in a searing kiss that left him wanting...no, needing more.
He forced himself to pull away before he started tearing her clothes from her body and taking her right there and then on the floor in front of his entire family.
He opened his eyes and looking down into her moss green ones he noticed that there was something different about her gaze. Something was gone, though he could not even begin to say what it was that was now missing from her normally intense gaze.
"I'm supposed to tell you to repeat after me," she said quietly her voice shaking slightly.
"What's goin' on?" Raphael asked in confusion.
Nightmare continued to touch his cheek, her fingers exploring the textured skin of his face, as if she had never felt anything like it before.
"My name is Katherine," she replied softly. "I don't really know what's going on, but...I...I was told that I had to get you to repeat after me so that I can make sure you remain as you are."
Raphael frowned as he stared down at Katherine, who was leaning forward as if fascinated by him. She licked her lips nervously and that slight movement of her tongue momentarily distracted him.
"How did she...?" he asked as he leaned down again, his lips finding hers in an earth shattering kiss that left him breathless. He buried his hands into her glorious golden-russet and copper locks.
She reluctantly pulled away. "I don't know. She just told me what I had to do and then here I was, kissing you." She paused reaching up and placing her other hand on his other cheek. "I was trapped, and I didn't understand what was going on, but when Nightmare realized that she wasn't me and remembered who she was, it was like I was somehow free again. I couldn't control my body, but at least I understood what was going on, and she talks to me. Sometimes I can even feel what she feels. She loves you...the other version of you, I mean," she put in hastily. "She loves Donatello as well, all of his brothers actually, but it is...different. No less strong, no less real or intense, but somehow, not the same," she told him quickly as if knowing that their time was short.
"What does Nightmare want me to say?" Raphael asked as he brushed the softness of her cheek with his thumb. "And why?"
"I don't quite understand everything, only there is a darkness in you that she doesn't want to get out. So she wants you and me to be...bound together."
"Bound huh?" Raphael said as he pressed himself in closer to her, the heat from her body searing his flesh through his clothes. "Doesn't sound so bad," he whispered huskily, his voice low, gravelly and suggestive.
She bit her lip in nervousness. "I don't know if what I feel right now...if it's real or if it's her," she said quietly, a slight tremor in her voice betraying her worries. "But..."
"Yeah, I don't know if it is just whatever Donny did to me, or if this is somethin' else, but...this feels so...right," he said as he brushed his cheek along her un-injured one.
"Repeat after me; 'I swear to protect you with my life, until such a time as my protection is no longer needed'," she whispered as he repeated the words. "And I swear to release you, should you ever ask," she said to him as the whisper of something rode across his skin.
He looked over his shoulder, wondering if any of his family had sensed anything out of the ordinary.
Donatello was discussing weapons and a plan to get into the Shredder's hideout undetected while the rest of his family sat around the couch listening intently.
Raphael looked back at Katherine. " So...now what?" he asked curiously.
"She says that you are now my Familiar."
Raphael nearly stumbled back in horror. He did not want to be like Donatello. He was no one's slave. His lips pulled away from his lips in a low growl.
She pulled him closer and he allowed her. "She says that it's okay." She tipped her head to the side in thought, much like Nightmare did. "I can feel you," she whispered breathlessly. "Like you are at the end of a short, tight string." She looked at him, a hint of fear and wonder in her voice. "Kiss me goodbye," she whispered as Raphael had no choice but to comply with her order. His lips claiming hers in a tender, exploratory kiss. Raphael savoured their kiss as her tongue tentatively explored his mouth.
She finally pulled away. Raphael opened his eyes and looked at Nightmare, because he knew it was her. His pull towards her was no less diminished by Katherine's retreat, in fact he felt just as strongly about Nightmare as he did about Katherine.
Nightmare frowned deeply. "I had thought that...that I would not feel drawn to you anymore, but..." She brushed her cheek across his own. "I still am. It doesn't seem possible, but...Katherine's soul is pulsing at the same time as mine, we are in synch. Our souls are singing the same song, but in a slightly different key." She said softly, resting her head upon his shoulder. "But her soul is also singing another song. It is impossible and yet...I can feel it."
Raphael clutched Nightmare closer. "Do I love her?" he asked quietly, still unsure about why he felt the way he did.
Nightmare searched his eyes. "Yes," she stated quietly. "A Familiar almost never loves the one they are bound to, so you do not have to worry about your bond making you feel this way. You love her because you are Soul Called."
Raphael frowned. "What's that?" he asked in confusion.
"The moment we looked into each other's eyes, her soul called out, and yours answered. Being Soul Rung is like both souls playing the exact same song. Their hearts beat as one, they breathe as one. A single soul inhabiting two bodies. Being Soul Called is like two souls playing a duet, different parts to the same song completing it and making it whole. Your hearts will not beat as one and you will not breathe as one, the love is just as strong and intense, but it is a call, if one of you dies, you will not drag the other down with you in death. The survivor will never be able to move on, will never love another, but will be able to accept the grief of that loss, unlike my Raphael who could not. He should not have survived the night that Katherine was killed, but he did, and it drove him into a despair so deep, that not even the prospect of death gave him any comfort."
Raphael clutched her to him tightly, knowing that if he lost the woman he held in his arms, that he would go mad from the grief. He felt as if he should never let go, could never let go, because if he did, he would feel empty, and so very lost. "When you leave, I'll feel like a part of me is missing, won't I?" he asked, knowing that Nightmare and Donatello would leave this world when they had found their bodies, and this filled him with despair.
"Katherine will fill you will everything that you will need. I will remain as nothing more than a soft memory upon your heart," she answered back. "As you will remain a soft memory upon mine."
Raphael nodded, still confused but accepting of what she said. He was in love with Katherine, a woman he didn't even know, but felt as if he had known all his life.
Nightmare pulled back slightly. "How do you feel?"
Raphael shrugged. "I don't feel any different," he replied truthfully.
Nightmare nodded in response.
"So now what?" Raphael asked reluctantly letting Nightmare go as she stepped back.
Nightmare gave Raphael a reassuring smile. "We go and say 'hello' to the Shredder. Come on, Donatello is trying to wage a war, and we do not need anything so complicated."
Raphael snorted. "Donny's smart, but Leo's better with battle tactics and strategies."
"True," Nightmare agreed. "But my Donatello, he has led armies," she said with a hint of pride in her voice. She turned her attention to his family who all sat about watching as Donatello continued to draw a diagram. "Donatello, the Shredder is expecting company, has probably been expecting it for well over a month now. We do not need anything so complicated," Nightmare said with a smile. "We will wait for nightfall, and give the Shredder what he wants."
Leonardo walked up to Donatello, who was watching as Raphael and Nightmare talked softly to each other. Leonardo could actually hear Donatello's teeth grinding together in jealous anger.
Raphael couldn't seem to keep his hands -or his lips for that matter- off of Nightmare, and Leonardo was positive that Donatello would have already torn Raphael apart if it had not been for her ordered command to leave her alone.
Donatello paced back and forth, walking close to them only to stop, unable to proceed any closer to the two figures.
Leonardo found this phenomenon incredibly disturbing, but was glad to speak to Donatello by himself; positive that if he could get him from beneath Nightmare's influence, that they may be able to break both Donatello and Raphael free of whatever hold she had over them.
"I know you think she loves you, Donny, but she doesn't," Leonardo observed softly.
Donatello looked over at him, the red light in his eyes prominent for a moment before vanishing. "You're supposed to be resting on the couch," Donatello growled, ignoring Leonardo's observation.
"I can rest later," Leonardo stated firmly. He glanced towards the kitchen, where Master Splinter and Michelangelo were preparing lunch.
Donatello let out an irritated huff of air. "Leo, go sit down before you fall down," he insisted, guiding Leonardo towards the couch.
Leonardo reluctantly sat, down on the couch, Donatello's gaze straying back to Nightmare and Raphael.
"If she loved you, she wouldn't be all over Raphael like she is," Leonardo observed again. Donatello glanced back at Leonardo. "We can help you, Donny. I know we can, if you'd just let us."
Donatello gave him a lopsided smile. "I know what you are doing, Leo, and it isn't going to work."
"I'm just telling you the truth. I am trying to make you see that you are nothing but a...a pet. She doesn't care about you; doesn't love you."
Donatello chuckled. "She loves me, Leo. I may not like to share, but I realized long ago that if I wanted to be with her, I would have to accept the fact that I am not the only one in her heart, or her bed."
Leonardo felt his eye ridges raise in shock. He closed his mouth shut with a snap as he stared uncomprehendingly at his brother's counterpart. "H-her bed?" he stammered, his cheeks feeling warm as a blush rose up in them.
Donatello grinned broadly at him as if it amused him to watch Leonardo squirm at the thought of the physical relationship Nightmare and Donatello shared.
"I currently share her with three other...males, at the moment; a number that will no doubt double." Donatello informed him, and Leonardo could feel his cheeks turn darker at Donatello's suggestive smile. He didn't want to think of the logistics of such an arrangement, let alone accept the fact that Donatello did not seem to mind it.
"Donny," he tried again. "If she loved you she wouldn't-"
Donatello cut him off. "Nightmare is what she is. If I want to be a part of her life, I need to accept it on her terms." Donatello studied Leonardo. "So although I do not like the fact that Raphael is touching her, it is more so because it is not my actual brother who is doing so, but your brother, instead.
Leonardo let out an irritated breath, realizing that there was nothing he could say to convince Donatello of anything. His gaze shifted again to his sword, wondering if he could just kill Nightmare, but accepting the fact that if he did so, Donatello would die as well, thus killing his own Donatello.
"So how did your Shredder die?" Leonardo asked, changing his line of thought. Leonardo relished the thought of a world without their hated enemy in it. He wouldn't admit it, but he wished that he had the resolve and bloodthirsty conviction to be able to kill the Shredder. But he never wanted to stoop to the Shredder's level by meting out that final justice which he knew the Shredder so deserved.
Donatello lost his grin, his face becoming grim. "I didn't say he was dead."
Leonardo frowned. "I thought you said-"
"I said that I hoped his fate is better than that of our Shredder," Donatello informed him softly. "There are much worse fates than death."
"What was the Shredder's fate?" he asked, curiosity aroused. If Leonardo did not have to kill the Shredder -if there was some way to incapacitate him somehow without killing him- Leonardo would be very much interested in such a solution.
"You don't want to know," Donatello said almost tiredly.
"I want to know if there is some way we can get rid of our Shredder without killing him," he insisted.
"Kill him, it would be a mercy compared to what happened to our Shredder."
"Donny." Leonardo reached out and clutched Donatello's shoulder.
Donatello looked at Leonardo in the eyes and sighed, shrugging off Leonardo's hand. "Our Shredder constructed a Devil's Trap, a circle that would be able to summon and hold the Devil."
"Who would even...why would anyone want to summon the Devil himself...herself?" Leonardo corrected, his voice filled with shocked horror. "I didn't think such a thing was even possible."
"I didn't either," Donatello admitted. "But humans are stupid and believe that they are smarter and more powerful than they really are. Our Shredder had access to powerful mystics, and he found a way." Donatello looked at him seriously. "Never make a deal with the Devil. It never turns out well. The Shredder learned that the hard way."
Leonardo swallowed. "What happened to him?" he asked, his voice shaking.
"In exchange for his soul, he asked for death to be unable to touch him. He believed he had asked for immortality, but in reality he only asked to not be able to die. Not being able to die just means you don't die, it doesn't mean that you can heal or are invulnerable, or that you will never grow old. The Shredder also mistakenly believed that if he couldn't die, that the Devil could not take his soul. He was wrong. By becoming 'immortal' he became in-human, his soul no longer subject to the rules that govern Heaven and Hell. The Devil can't take a living human to Hell, and she can't kill so that she can drag them to Hell either. It is against the Rules. But an immortal is fair game and so a demon tore the Shredder limb from limb, threw the pieces of his still living, agonized body into a sack, and had it thrown into the very deepest pit of Hell."
Leonardo felt himself pale in horror, spots beginning to dance in front of his eyes. "I..." He didn't even know what to say. "Did you make a deal, is that why the Devil has your brothers?" Leonardo asked, wondering if that was why Donatello knew so much about the Devil.
"No," Donatello shook his head as he stood.
"Then why?" he asked trying to stand, Donatello only turning back and gently pushing him back onto the couch cushion.
"Lunch time!" Michelangelo said as he and Master Splinter walked into the room with a tray of sandwiches and tea, effectively ending his and Donatello's conversation.
Both Donatello and Nightmare looked at the tray with something akin to disgust. They both politely declined to eat. Raphael ate as if he was starving, while Master Splinter, Michelangelo, and himself only nibbled at their food, too worried to eat.
Leonardo took a deep breath, calming breath hoping that the Shredder did indeed have Donatello's body, and that they would be able to get it back so that they could get their own Donatello back. Because the sooner his brother's doppelganger and Nightmare left, the better Leonardo would feel.
Things are about to get interesting I think;) Thoughts and opinions always welcome:)