Summary: Something, or someone, is slowly turning the turtles insane, and slowly tearing them apart. But what has Master Splinter got to do with all of this? And just what, or who, exactly, is he hiding from the turtles?
Takes place a month after the end of the 2007 CGI movie.
Disclaimer: I do not own TMNT or any of the song lyrics that appear throughout this fic.
Warning: This will be a rather dark fic with dark themes such as violence, angst, hurt and comfort, possible tragedy, swearing, hurt feelings, possible torture and psychological horror. But I think this story will have a happy ending. At least I hope it does…
Notes: You'll notice at some point in the dream, it changes from Raphael recounting what had happened to what is happening. This is supposed to change in his dream to create more suspense, so don't worry, I know it's there ^^
If you see any mistakes in this story, or think that anyone is to OOC please let me know, nicely, and I will try to fix it as quickly as I can :)
Dedication: And finally, before we start this fic, I would like to dedicate it to my good friend, Toonytunes1. For if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have found this wonderful forum. So Toony, if you're reading this, I hope you enjoy it and thank you so much for introducing me to the wonderful world of the turtles^^ Oh and by the way…Raphael and Michelangelo forever!
~Hear Me Scream~
I could hear him. He was right behind me now. My footsteps echoed through the damp sewers, splashing through the dirty water as I pushed myself to go faster. My breath came in ragged gasps that pulled at my chest and made my lungs scream for more air. My heart pounded wildly in my chest and echoed in my ears, like an eerie drumbeat.
It felt like the walls were closing in around me, trapping me, confining me to the sewers, trapping me in the maze-like tunnels.
My arms flayed blindly ahead of me. I couldn't see in front of me, or behind me. But I knew without having to turn around, that he was getting closer. I pushed on, desperately straining my eyes, my ears, my mind, looking for something that looked familiar, something that would indicate I was getting close to the lair, to the safety of the others. Out here I wasn't safe.
I felt his breath, hot on the back of my neck, sending pin pricks of shivers throughout my entire body. I could hear his laboured breathing behind me, could feel his presence, like he would reach out at any moment and grab me. I could feel his eyes scorching through me, burning me alive with the intensity.
I felt a hand reach out and grab my arm in a strong grip, pulling me backwards, pulling me against him.
"No, let me go!" I cried, flaying invisibly at the hand that grabbed me, clawing, hitting, biting everything I could to make him let go.
I felt his grip loosen slightly and I yanked my arm free. Turning quickly, I raced ahead into the impenetrable darkness. My skin crawled where he had touched me, and I forced my legs to move faster. My body started to protest, all previous adrenaline that had been coursing through my veins, keeping me alive, vanished like early morning fog on a hot day. My heart was beating wildly against my chest, I thought for sure it would burst free, crack and splinter under the pressure building up inside my chest. My body was quickly tiring, but I had to keep going. I had to get away. I had to...
I saw a small flicker of light ahead. My hope soared for a moment. If I could just get closer...if I could just reach the others...
Pushing myself even harder, I ran around the corner, only to come to an abrupt stop. It was a dead end. The light was coming from a grate above my head. Racing towards it, I grabbed the cold steel bars in my hands and pushed with all my strength. It wouldn't give. It wouldn't even budge.
"Damn it!" I yelled in frustration, before realizing that yelling wasn't the best idea at the moment.
I stumble away from the light and retreat back into the heavy shadows, back into the darkness that has all but consumed me. My shell scrapes against the harsh brick wall and bites into my skin. I look around desperately for a means of escape, for a weapon, a distraction, anything that would get me away from here and buy me some more time.
My hands itch at my sides, itching for the familiar cool of my sai that I no longer have. I am weapon-less and utterly defenceless.
A low growl makes me snap my head around, makes my heart leap into my throat. He was here, eyes scanning the darkness for his prey. Me.
I gulp and press myself as far back as I can, trying to blend in with the wall. I hold my hand over my mouth tightly, not making a sound. My legs shake and I feel like I'm going to pass out. My mouth is dry and my heart is beating so fast I'm sure he could hear it.
I must have made some kind of noise, a small sound escaping me. Because the next thing I knew, his fiery eyes snapped to where I was concealed in the darkness. A low growl escaped his throat and his lips twisted up in a cruel smile as he advanced towards me slowly, like a lion would stalk its cornered prey.
I didn't realize I was doing it, didn't even know I had moved, but I became aware that I was screaming, screaming in absolute terror. This only made his grin widen, as his sadistic eyes sparkled, mirroring and capturing my own terrified eyes with his.
I tried to move, tried to run, but it was like my body was frozen. Suddenly his hands were on me and I was slammed into the wall. My head hit the rough brick, hard, making me grunt in pain. I fell to the floor, landing in the filthy water, unable to move. I turned my head around just as he loomed over me, leering at me with scorn, his face twisted in a grotesque mask. It was like I was in a movie, and it was stuck in slow motion. I saw his hands reach out towards me, wrap around my neck and hoist me into the air, cutting off my supply of oxygen.
I was aware that I was staring at his carnivorous face; I could see myself reflected in his steel grey eyes. Then he was calling my name...
"No! Let me Go!" I screamed, struggling vainly in his un-relinquishing grip.
"No! Get off me! No!"
"Raphael wake up!"
My eyes flew open and I shot up in bed, sweat coating my body, my chest heaving like I had just run a marathon.
My head snapped towards the sound of the voice. I saw the eyes staring down at me; felt the strong hands restraining me.
"Let me go!" I yelled, struggling out of the person's grip.
"Raphael it's me! Stop, it was just a dream!"
"Raph take it easy, it was just a nightmare," Leo soothed, hands resting steadily, supportive, on my shoulders.
"Leo what are...?" I choked out, trying to catch my ragged breath.
"Here," Leo said, handing me a glass of water.
I took the glass gratefully and drank thirstily, the cold liquid soothing the burning ache in my throat. "Thanks bro," I murmured.
Leo looked down at me with worried eyes. "Want to talk about it?" He asked.
"No," I shook my head and pushed myself off my hammock, my legs still a little unsteady. "It was just a dream."
"You sure?" Leo pressed, eyes never leaving mine. "You were screaming. I heard you from the dojo."
"I'm fine," I growled, shooting Leo a look that told him to back off, whilst tying my bandana around my eyes tightly. "It was just a bad dream Leo."
"If you're sure..." Leo trailed off, waiting, hoping for me to say otherwise, to break down and tell him everything I saw. Yeah, like that was going to happen.
"I'm sure," I said firmly, my anger beginning to rise. There was no way in hell I was going to tell Leo about this. Hell I wasn't going to tell anyone about this.
"Well, seeing as you're awake, we can start training," Leo shrugged, dropping the subject, though I could see in his eyes that he was still curious, still worried.
"Tha' others up?" I grunted, grabbing my sai and sliding them into my belt.
"Yeah, Mikey's been up for a while, and I don't think Don left his lab last night."
"Typical," I snorted. "Come on then," I added, walking through the door and jumping over the railing, landing with a soft thump on the ground below.
I heard Leo land behind me as I made my way quickly to the dojo, hoping to avoid any more questions.
"Hey," I said, walking past the worn couch that Michelangelo was currently occupying, slapping the back of his head to get his attention. "Fearless is ready ta' train."
"Good morning to you to," Mikey grumbled, rubbing his aching head as he got to his feet.
Donatello emerged from his lab, steaming coffee mug held tightly in his hands. "Are we training now?" He asked, setting his mug down on the table.
"Yes, we're ready now," Leo told him before I could say anything. With a sigh I followed my brothers into the dojo.
"Good morning my sons," Master Splinter said, standing at the doorway to his room.
"Morning Sensei," the others nodded respectively. I nodded curtly and grunted in way of greeting.
"Leonardo is going to be training you all this morning," Master Splinter said, brown eyes meeting all of our gazes. "I know you will all listen to him and follow his instructions."
I had to fight the urge to roll my eyes, instead grumbling out something that sounded like an affirmative.
"If you boys need me, I'll be watching my stories," Master Splinter bowed, walking past us and disappearing out the door.
"All right," Leo spoke up once Master Splinter was gone, "I want us to pair off and work on our hand to hand combat, no weapons. Donnie and Mikey, you two will be together. Raphael, you will fight with me."
"Whatever ya' say Fearless," I shrugged, moving over to the practise mats.
Leonardo raised an eye-ridge in annoyance at the nickname but didn't say anything further. Getting into my fighting stance, I waited for him to make the first move.
Leo brought his own fists up to his face and narrowed his eyes, like he was assessing me, trying to figure me out. Well, I'd like to see him try.
Dodging to the left of his punch, I quickly spun around, aiming a kick to his chest which he blocked.
"You're going to have to move faster than that," Leo told me, hands up and ready for any moves I might try to make.
Grounding my teeth in anger, I lunged at him, feigning a blow to the left before quickly changing to the right. This time Leo only just managed to block my attack. Aiming another punch to his side, I ducked under one of Leo's punches and swept my feet out, trying to knock him down. But Leo just jumped over my legs and rolled to the side, out of reach.
"You need to make every move count," Leo said, jumping back up to his feet. "Don't give me enough time to figure out all your moves."
"Will you just shut up an' fight!" I yelled, not in the mood for one of Leo's daily lectures.
Leo narrowed his eyes at me. "I'm just trying to help Raph."
"Whoever said I need your help?" I shot back, my anger from the nightmare, from waking up and finding Leo fussing over it, to now in the dojo, listening to him going on and on, my temper just snapped.
"You are such a hot-head!" Leo said in frustration, fists balling at his sides, a vein in his neck jumping from the pressure of trying not to yell.
Mikey and Donnie had stopped their own sparing, and were now looking at us with slight fear. They always hated it when we fighted, only sticking around to make sure my temper didn't get the best of me, making sure I wouldn't pummel Leo.
"Ya' got anything else?" I asked, narrowing my eyes at Leo and folding my arms across my chest. "You've said that so many times now it's lost all its affect."
"Why can't you just stop being so angry for one day?" Leo roared, unable to keep his calm any more. "Why do you always have to go and ruin our days with your sour mood? Can't you see that we are just trying to help you? For once in your life can't you just accept our help without shoving it back down our throats?"
The room grew deathly silent, the silence so thick you could reach out and actually touch it.
"Ya done?" I asked, expression grim-faced as ever, though I could feel the rage there, right below the surface, boiling up inside of me until I was seeing everything through a red haze. "Ya feel better now Fearless, now that ya' got all that off ya' chest? You feel like a real man now?"
"Why are you so angry all the time?" Leo demanded, forgetting everyone else in the room except for me. "Why do you have to do this to our family?"
"Do what Leo?" I yelled, my anger finally breaking through the surface, like an erupting volcano. "Actually having the guts to stand up to you? To actually have enough sense to know that, despite what ya' may think you ain't right all the time!"
"And how do you expect me to be right all the time Raph?" Leo demanded, arms sweeping out to his sides in an angry gesture.
From the corner of my eyes I could see Donnie and Mikey backing away from us, eyes wide with fear.
"Despite what you may think Raph, being a leader isn't all it's cracked up to be!" Leo continued, ignorant to his other brothers' discomfort and growing horror. "You think it's easy being in charge all the time? Because who knows, it might be if you weren't there all the time questioning everything I do!"
"And ya' ever wonder why I always question ya?" I shot back, stalking up to Leo, standing millimetres from his chest. "Maybe I always question ya' because ya' ain't always right Leo, and someone around here has to take you down a peg or two! Ya' think ya' can just disappear for an entire year and come waltzing back in here like ya' own the place?"
"Are you still going on about this?" Leo cried in anger, hazel eyes flaring and dangerous. "I thought we already got over this!"
"You may have gotten over it Leo, may have forgotten what you did, but I still remember!" I yelled, poking him harshly on the chest.
"Oh for the love of-I told you I was training, training to be a better leader! For you, for this family!"
"You left us Leo! You left us and you didn't come back! Didn't you ever stop to think that we would be worried about ya' when you didn't come home when ya' were meant ta'? For weeks we were trying to search for you! For weeks we had no idea if our brother was even alive! Do you know how that feels Leo? Not knowing whether your brother is dead or alive? Because let me tell ya' it ain't a good feeling!"
"I couldn't come home! I wasn't ready!" Leo shouted back, seconds away from whipping out his katana.
"Oh you weren't ready?" I shook my head in disgust. "Well news flash for ya' Leo, you aren't the only one that counts around here! We're your family Leo! Family always comes first, Master Splinter taught us that before we could even talk!"
"I do care about this family Raph! That's why I didn't come back, because I was still training, training so that I'd never fail my family again! I only want what's best for you guys!"
"Did ya' ever stop ta' consider that being here was the best thing for ya' family?" I said in a low voice, eye narrowing to amber chips to glare at Leo. "Did you ever stop once on your pity party to consider that tha' best thing for your family, for us, was for you to be here with us, not half way across the world?"
"What was I supposed to do?" Leo yelled in frustration.
"I don't know, why don't ya' tell me? You are the leader after all. Ya' the one with all the answers, not me! I'm just the hot-head, remember?"
"Exactly!" Leo screamed, losing all his calm, all his senses, as waves upon waves of emotion swelled up inside of him until he found he was no longer able to control his tongue and the words that left his mouth. "You're just a hot-head Raphael! Always have been and always will be. That's all you'll ever be!"
I moved so fast Leo didn't have time to respond. Quick as a flash I had him pinned up against the wall, a glittering sai held close to his throat.
"Don't ever pretend to know me," I growled lowly. "You don't know me. You've never taken the time to know me. Face it Leo, we can all see it. I'm not a brother to you; all I am is a nuisance, a hot-head you don't have the time to deal with. Well guess what brother; there is so much you don't know about me. So much you will never know."
Removing the sai from his throat, I stepped back from Leo, turning my back to him and quickly stalking out of the room. I needed to burn off my anger. I needed to shout and yell and punch somebody until all this anger inside of me was gone.
I needed to get out before I hurt my brothers' further.
Not even casting a glance at Master Splinter, I quickly leapt up the steps and out the door into the cold sewers, running until I couldn't run anymore. But no matter how far I ran, no matter how fast I moved, I couldn't outrun the anger still burning inside of me, couldn't outrun these feelings of guilt and hurt that were trailing me like a shadow.
And I couldn't shake the feeling that I was being watched.