Dis: I don't own TMNT

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Emma sat atop the closed lid of the toilet, shaking hand holding onto her cell phone with a death grip. She had gotten a desperate phone call from Joey and every fiber of her being wanted to call him and yet she was holding back. It could be another trick. He left the message last night saying he wanted to get out of the Dragons and get out of town. He had apologized for all the stuff he got her into and that siding with Hun had been a mistake. However, reading between the lines, a small part of her grew suspicious.

Then again he was her brother and she loved him and she wanted nothing more in the world but to believe what he said was true. She didn't dare tell anyone about this. The turtles would immediately say it was a trap and increase their security around her even more. Casey would more than likely take their side as well.

"Somewhere crowded," she murmured, opening her phone and quickly shooting out a text. "Where I won't be taken by surprise."

There was a mall about a ten minute walk from the lair. If she cased the area she could see if it looked like a trap and keep walking. She told him to meet her at the mall in two hours and to come alone before rising from her spot. She'd been avoiding them all today, especially Donatello and Raphael. She had climbed out of his bed without waking him and ran like a coward back to her borrowed room, which was where she was headed now.

She opened her bag and rummaged through the contents. She pulled on a black and white stripped long-sleeved shirt and over that a black jacket. She wanted to remain inconspicuous and that jacket would be like a beacon to her brother. She pulled her hair up into a bun and slipped on her glasses. Finally, over her skinny jeans, her boots settled nicely below the knee. Pocketing her phone and her wallet she opened the door and jumped because standing on the other side was Raphael.

"Emma..." His eyes traveled up and down her body. "Goin' somewhere?"

"I just need some air."

"You've been avoidin' me all day." Suddenly the tough exterior failed and Emma saw a man looking rejected and a little hurt. "Did I do somethin' or..."

"No! No! It's not you it's..." Emma sighed. "Joey. He's been texting me nonstop and I just need some air to clear my head. That's all."

"Yer not gunna go meet him, are you?" he asked suspiciously.

"Of course not," she said, but his eyes narrowed even more and she looked down at her feet. "He's my brother, Raph."

"Dammit, Emma, he's with the Dragons!" he argued.

"I know. I know that!" She licked her suddenly dry lips. "I'm meeting him at the mall. I figured if I was at a crowded place then..."

"At least let me call Casey to go with ya," said Raph. "I don't like the thought of you goin' alone somewhere."

"You're going to let me go?" she asked, surprised. "You're not going to try and talk me out of it?"

"I can't tell you what you can and can't do," said Raphael. "I can give my opinion, of which is that this is a stupid idea, but I'm not gunna tie you up and force you to stay."

Emma smiled, launching forward and wrapping her arms around him. Raphael only hesitated for a moment before returning the hug, beaked lips pressing to the top of her head. She heard his deep inhale and felt his arms tighten a bit more before releasing her.

"So you don't regret it then?" he asked, and she knew he was now talking about them sleeping together.

"No," she said. It was a lie, but she didn't want to hurt his feelings, and she kissed the area just above his armored chest. She DID regret it because she used him to try and get over someone else that didn't return her affections. When this was all said and done she knew she had a choice to make... Try and make things work with Raphael or risk losing everything she gained by befriending the turtles by turning him down. "I don't."

Relief flashed in his eyes before he reached into his belt to take out his phone. "I'm going to call Case."

Within a few moments she was walking with Raphael out the entrance of the lair. Michelangelo was watching television and the other two brothers were nowhere to be seen. She relaxed as Raphael wrapped an arm around her waist and they walked in silence to the ladder. She turned to face him, and was ready for a farewell, but he surprised her by kissing her tenderly: hands cupping her face.

"Please be careful," he said softly.

"I will."

"Here." He took his phone and handed it to her. "Open it up. See that red button on the panel? If things get rough push it and we'll get to you. Hide it on you as long as possible after pushing the button."

Emma nodded pocketing it alongside her phone. She gripped the rungs of the ladder and climbed, not knowing the danger that awaited her.

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Emma arrived at the mall an hour early and cased out the food court. She ordered a coffee and found a table to sit at. She pulled the stocking cap she wore down so it rested more securely on her head. She had gotten the text from Casey about ten minutes ago that he was on his way, ready to have her back if things went sour. So when the chair in front of her moved she had been expecting him but instead it was Joey.

"You're here early," he said.

He looked awful. His face was sweaty, eyes glassy, and he smelled like he hadn't showered in days. His fingers were playing with a lighter and he was licking his lips over and over again. He was nervous and she instantly knew that this was a trap. Her eyes narrowed upon her brother and she had to wonder when it was that their relationship fell apart.

"Why so nervous, Joey?" she asked calmly.

"I'm not," he said, leaning forward. His breath smelled as bad as his body. Like rotten vegetables one forgot in a crisper. Emma's nose scrunched in distaste as she reached into her pocket, fingering the textured cell, ready to make a move if she had to. "I'm just ready to leave."

"How did we get here?" she asked, looking down at the table. "You're my brother, and you're choosing the Dragons over me."

"If you had just listened-" he started, but snapped his mouth closed. He had blown his cover. "Don't go."

"Sorry to disappoint you, baby brother, but I don't fancy being your sacrificial lamb just so you can be part of a gang that will probably end up killing you by the end of the month."

She pushed back her chair, stood, then froze as a meaty hand clamped around her shoulder. Slowly she looked up and met the dead eyes of Hun himself. He was massive, his arms the size of her whole body, and he pushed her back down in her chair. Emma didn't hesitate in putting her hands into her pocket and pushing the button of Raph's phone hidden in her jacket. She bit her lip, holding the phone like a lifeline, as Hun took another seat beside her.

"Hello, Emma."

"Hun."

"I want those files," he said.

"I don't know what you're talking about," she said, making his meaty fist slam on top of the table. Passerby's hesitated in their steps, but upon seeing how large and menacing Hun was they kept walking. Emma noticed that a couple of them took out their phones. "You're making a scene, Hun."

"You don't get me those files, your brother is dead," he growled, pointing to Joey, who's eyes widened as he held up his hands.

"Boss!"

"Shut up," growled Hun as he leaned forward in his seat. Emma could smell tobacco on his breath as he got close. For her credit, she didn't flinch as he ran a solid finger down the apple of her cheek. "I have a gun. I'll shoot you both right here."

"Say I did have the files? Say… as soon as I died they'd be out for everyone to see," she said, voice barely wavering to show her fear.

Hun laughed, leaning back in his chair, crossing his arms over his expansive chest. He looked ever much like the gang leader that he was. The chair groaned under his massive weight caused not by fat but the copious amount of muscle on the guy. Emma felt another hand on her shoulder and she knew it was Casey.

"Hun, lookin' as grumpy as ever."

"Jones," growled Hun, looking between the two of them. "This has nothing to do with you."

"Oh I think it does."

"I've been too easy on you lately," said Hun. "How's that girl of yours?"

"You leave her out of this," said Casey. "You touch a finger on her and I ain't the only one goin' after ya."

"Right. Our mutual friends," said Hun, standing. He brushed off the front of his shirt before looking at Emma. "You have twenty-four hours or your brother is dead. After that, well…" His eyes flicked to Casey. "Others might pay the price for your stubbornness."

"Tonight," whispered Emma as Joey and Hun walked away. Joey didn't even pause to look back at her, but she noticed the exchange of something between their hands. "We send those files in tonight. He'll be behind bars and everything will be fine, right?"

"We can handle Hun," said Casey. "We've been handling them all for years."

"But Joey…"

"Leave the kid to me," said Casey. "I can be very persuasive."

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"I can't believe you let her go up to meet her brother alone," said Donatello, pacing back and forth beneath the manhole they were waiting for her and Casey to enter through. "How stupid are you, Raph?"

"Watch yerself, Don," said Raphael, leaning back against the sewer wall. Though he didn't show it he was just as nervous as Donatello. When his brother's phones started to wail due to his emergency beacon being activated a sharp stab of panic had entered through his chest. They had all gathered here but a call from Casey saying they were on their way back had Leo and Mikey heading back to the lair but both Don and Raph had decided to stay and wait for their return. "What was I supposed to do? Tell her no and tie her up? She ain't our hostage. YOU try tellin' her no."

"I…" He sighed, deflating before Raphael's eyes. Donatello rest his shoulder against the side of the ladder, arms crossing over his plastron. "You're right."

"You like her. Don't ya?" Don's lack of an answer spoke volumes and Raph ran a hand down his face. "She said… She said ya didn't…"

"I messed up," sighed Don. "It's my fault."

"I'm not gunna back off," said Raphael. "I can't."

"I know." He looked up, his brown eyes pained. "If I was in your shoes I wouldn't back down either."

"We don't wear shoes," said Raphael with a smirk.

"Indeed, we don't."

"Is this… Are we good?" asked Raphael.

"You're my brother and though it pains me to see you with the woman I desired I'm not going to let it ruin our relationship. I… I saw you two in the tunnel… I heard what you said. I heard you ask her if she was sure and… Logically, I can only blame myself."

"Shit, Don," muttered Raphael, wishing that Emma and Casey would hurry the hell up because it was getting awkward. "I'm-"

The sound of shouting and gunfire had the both of them tensing. Their eyes met and soon they were a blur up the ladder and tossing the manhole out of their way. What they saw had rage boiling in both their chests. The Purple Dragons were surrounded a badly injured Casey as well as a blonde woman who lay sprawled out on the street. In the midst of it all was a young man, holding a gun with a trembling hand. A young man both turtles knew would be dead before he even blinked.

"EMMA!" shouted Raphael, gaining the attention of the Dragons.

"Ah, shit!" cursed one of the members. "It's the turtles!"

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She had been laughing at something Casey had said, some stupid joke about a Priest, a Rabbi, and a mutant walking into a bar. She remembered thrusting her hands into the pockets of her coat because it was starting to get cold as the sun set. She recalled saying something about pizza being good for dinner that night and Casey added that a beer sounded better. Then they suddenly weren't alone. They had stood, back to back as gang members surrounded them with swirling chains and menacing looking pipes but there, standing in the thick of it, was her brother. He had a gun trained to her chest and he didn't even say anything. He just shot her. She remembered the gang members shouting because he wasn't supposed to shoot her until AFTER they got the files. Casey was fighting now with nothing but fists and she wanted to get up and help him but found that she couldn't.

Someone else shouted her name and then Don was there, holding her face lovingly while looking over her injuries. He kept telling her that she was going to be okay but she wasn't so sure. She tasted the blood before it started trickling out of her mouth. It was hard to breathe. At first it hurt but now she was numb. She was numb to everything and she knew that was a bad sign. She wanted to open her mouth and tell him that she was sorry. That she really did like him. A lot.

"You're going to be okay. You hear me? You're going to be okay!" No. She really wasn't. "EMMA!"

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"Joey Tate, the young man arrested just yesterday for the murder of his sister Emma Tate, was found dead in his cell earlier this morning. Guards say that they are uncertain how the young man managed to obtain the belt he'd hung himself on. The NYPD suspect foul play and-"

Donatello turned off the television in his lab. He was numb. Still in shock over was transpired four days ago. Emma, his beautiful Emma, was gone. Gone due to the violent acts of her own flesh and blood. Now, he stared blankly at the e-mail he was ready to send. This evidence would send a lot of powerful people to jail, including Hun. A small part of him wanted to go out and hunt him down. He wanted to slice his throat open and spill his blood in the same way he had spilled Emma's. He had manipulated her brother into killing her and had somehow managed to bribe the guards into killing Joey. There were no loose ends, save for the files he now had. Casey and April were already packed and ready to live in the lair for an undisclosed amount of time, both willing to take the necessary precautions incase Hun kept his promise of going after the two of them.

Michelangelo was sad. The young turtle hadn't touched his videogames since Emma's death and instead remained locked up in his room. Donatello was certain he'd caught him crying a couple times in the kitchen. Another turtle that was locked up was Raphael. The one time Donatello saw his brother his eyes had been bloodshot and he had smelled of nothing but alcohol. Raphael blamed himself for her death. Blamed himself for not being adamant about waiting until they all could be there to help her against Hun, and blamed himself for the guilt Casey felt at letting the young woman down. Donatello looked at the screen once more before hitting the enter key, sending the e-mail off. Her death wouldn't be for nothing. She would be avenged not just by taking down the corrupt in that e-mail, but by the death of Hun. Hun WOULD die, be it by his own hand or that of a thug angered that Hun had allowed the information to be leaked out.

Donatello reached into his drawer and pulled out a lemon drop. He remembered her asking him about them. Her being pressed close to him as she inhaled his scent and suddenly he just FELT her there and his eyes closed as a fresh wave of pain hit him. He threw the lemon drop, then the whole bag, and then finally upturned his desk. Papers, his computer screen, and other odds and ends crashed to the floor. He ignored the sparking machinery and instead put his head in his hands.

"Emma… I'm so sorry."

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"You are certain, Miss Tate?" Emma looked up from her spot in the hospital bed. The police detective assigned to her case sat at the end of her bed. Officer Antonio Vargas was one of the good guys. She didn't see him being one to take a bribe from anyone. She was under his protection until Hun and whoever else would be taken down by those files, were put away. "It's been almost five days."

"Give it time," she said weakly. "It'll come."

A knock on the door had them both looking up and another officer came in. While Antonio was tall, dark skinned, and muscular to the point that his t-shirt was filled and then some: this woman was pale, had large eyes, and hair that fell down almost to her waist. Antonio Vargas and Shea Roberts have been nothing but helpful and supportive with her since the moment she had woken up. Apparently, she died three times before stabilizing in surgery. The bullet had sliced the edge of her heart but the great surgeons had repaired the damage. The fact that her brother shot her still stung, and she sobbed over it at least ten times.

"Any news?" asked Antonio.

"The e-mail came about an hour ago," said Shea. "This is big. Bigger than we thought, actually, since two of the men incriminated are government officials. Murder, drugs, guns: you name it it's in there."

"Christ," said Antonio.

"There's something else…" said Shea, eyes going to Emma. "We need to talk."

"What is it?" asked Emma weakly as Antonio rose from his place at her bedside. She wouldn't wait until she was strong enough to walk. Hell, strong enough to talk without feeling like she was running a marathon "Tell me."

They whispered, and Emma grew frustrated. If she had the strength to lift her arm she'd have grabbed the Bible at her bedside table and tossed it at them. Antonio finally came to her, hand rasping over his short hair atop his head. His brown eyes were now sad as he took her hand, his gold wedding band and cross necklace glinting in the dull light of her room. A wedding band he said he still wore even though his wife had died a year ago due to gang violence. One of the top reasons he had transferred into the Guns and Gangs unit.

"Emma, I'm sorry, but Joey didn't make it…"

"Dammit," she cursed weakly, eyes filling with tears and then releasing them so that they traveled down her cheeks. "Dammit!"

"Emma…"

"They killed my brother," she whispered, her grip tightening. "I want them to pay. Whatever you need me to do I'll do it."

"Your friend came through," said Shea, coming to the other side of the bed. "Soon, this will all be over and you can get back to normal."

"Normal," scoffed Emma, thinking about her life these past few weeks. "Right."

"We'll let you rest," said Antonio. "We'll be back later."

They left Emma alone with her thoughts. Here she was, lying in the hospital bed as a lead witness in a potential fucking RICO case, crying like a baby because her brother had almost killed her over a file her criminal of a father had kept. Her life officially sucked the big one. Surely dying would have been easier than dealing with this crap. Sighing she wiped her tears before closing her eyes, suddenly tired all over again. She hoped, after all this was done, that they would forgive her. Antonio had asked her if there was someone, anyone she wanted to know that she was alive, and she had said no. Just how would the Detective react to her emergency list consisting of mutated turtles, a vigilante that had trained at her gym, and an ex-lab assistant? No… She was better off doing this alone. She only hoped, after all was said and done, that they'd forgive her.

END