Hey all! Sorry for breaking my schedule already, but look, as promised (if you read my announcement on my profile) an update today!

This one is important and kind of marks the beginning of the end of the story. I might be a little late updating this Saturday as well, because I will be out of town. If I do not update on Saturday I will update on Sunday, do not worry. My schedule should be back to normal by next week.

Chapter Twenty One

After their fight, the two brothers went to their father to talk about some sort of plan to go about this discovery. Raph tried to show his father what he did, but he couldn't seem to replicate it, and neither could Leo. Master Splinter told them to not push it, and that the magic would become easier to control with age.

Throughout the next week, the two tried to get their powers to activate late at night when their father was asleep but whatever magic showed itself before didn't seem willing to do cooperate now. Leo was still continuing to train, and was meditating more with his father to try and keep himself from getting so frustrated over his lack of experience. Donnie was working hard, trying to figure out the secrets of the lair, and despite questioning the old master, was getting next to nowhere. Raph was getting especially antsy, not liking being locked up underground while people above were trying to find them, and Mikey was becoming more and more run down as the nightmares he was having didn't seem to want to stop.

Provisions were starting to wane and it was with a heavy heart that Master Splinter announced that if they were going to last down here they'd need to gather more supplies. Fearlessly, the three older brothers immediately volunteered to surface and get supplies.

They decided to go during the day, thinking maybe if they stuck around groups of citizens they wouldn't get attacked by Saki's men. They agreed that they should bring their weapons just in case and hide them under a trench coat.

The three spent a good part of the evening planning their movements and where they would go. After that, they went to bed, feeling determined but at the same time, uneasy.

This was a little different than the normal dreams he had been having. Mikey blinked, looking down an empty street of New York before glancing around, trying to find something to focus on besides the emptiness. Usually he would just be in a dark room and scary things would pop up and frighten him awake, but it looked like this one was more interactive than usual. Taking a tentative step forward, Mikey began to walk down the middle of the street. Everything looked relatively normal, despite the lack of people and Mikey couldn't help but relax a little. Maybe he was finally getting a break from the crazy dreams he had been having.

That quickly changed when he saw figures up ahead. Tilting his head in curiosity, he stepped closer, squinting dramatically in order to see what they were.

Stumbling back in shock, he gasped as he saw the four figures were humanlike in shape, but completely engulfed in a writhing darkness that gave Mikey the creeps. Mikey felt sick just looking at them, but he couldn't quite figure out why. They weren't necessarily scary looking, just very unsettling. In their hands were weapons, swords and staffs that looked pretty intimidating, but still Mikey has seen those before, in fact his brothers wielded them often enough that he was pretty used to their appearance, so that wasn't what was freaking him out.

Suddenly, one of the creatures moved forward, faster than Mikey could blink and held out a hand. The air around Mikey began to grow heavy and light was fading from his vision. Sickly chuckles filled the air around him, and while the figures didn't seem to move at all, Mikey just knew it was from them. The figure touched his forehead with a single outstretched finger and Mikey knew immediately why he was terrified of them.

They were pure, unadulterated evil.

Mikey woke up gasping, sweat dripping down his neck and feeling very exhausted. He tried to calm himself before looking around. He was on a mattress they had dragged into Leo's room, since his nightmares led him to go sleep in there anyway they figured they might as well bunk him with his oldest brother. He really hoped these nightmares went away soon, he missed sleeping in his own bed.

The thought of those creatures sent Mikey scrambling up and out of the knot of blankets he had put himself in and went over to his brother's bed and touched Leo's shoulder.

Leo jolted awake immediately. "Huh? What? Ah…Mikey…'nother nightmare?" The black haired boy asked sleepily, rolling over onto his side to look at his brother, yawning widely. Mikey's nightmares wasn't allowing him a lot of sleep either.

"Yeah…but it was kind of weird." Mikey said quietly. Leo lifted his blanket, offering Mikey room to curl up under it with him and the blonde did so immediately.

"Weird how?" Leo asked, his eyes closing as he tried to keep himself from falling back asleep.

"I was in an actual location this time, and like…there were these…things." Mikey explained in a whisper.

Leo cracked an eye open. "Things? What kind of things?"

"They were like…shadow-y, if that makes sense." Mikey said, his eyes falling half mast as his was comforted by his brother's presence enough that he wanted to go to sleep.

It didn't, but Leo didn't really feel like arguing at—he glanced at his digital wristwatch— four in the morning.

"Are you really sure about going into the city tomorrow Leo?" Mikey asked suddenly, sounding hesitant.

Leo looked down at him. "Well, we need to if we want to eat."

Mikey frowned at him, causing Leo to chuckle a little. "I don't know, I just…don't have a good feeling." His little brother mumbled.

Leo sighed quietly. "I know, me neither."


Raph glanced up when he heard the inquisitive mumble and looked to see Donnie holding his staff contemplatively.

"What's up bro?" Raph said, putting his Sais in his belt and shrugging on his trench.

"It just occurred to me that my six foot long might not fit on my person under a trench coat." The brunette told him matter-o-factly.

Indeed, at five feet ten inches, the stashed normally on Donatello's back went over his head a good few inches. There was no way he could comfortably stuff it under a trench coat, although the attempts would probably paint a funny picture.

"Well 'm about six feet," Raph offered. "Maybe we could strap it to me fer now."

The coat back off, Raph let his twin put on another harness for the staff and slide it into the loops before putting the coat back on.

"Hmm…" Donnie narrowed his eyes as he took in his brother's appearance. "I guess that might work…." He reached behind Raph's neck and pulled up the hood. "Yeah that's better. Ugh I feel really vulnerable right now though."

"Here, I m'ght have a solution." Raph said, trotting out of the living area and up into his room. A few moments later he came down holding a rather impressive bowie combat knife that was about nine inches long and would definitely fit much nicer under the trench. "It would make me feel much better if you at least had this until you could get your staff."

Donnie took it and tucked it gently into his belt. "Meh, I'm not very good with short range weapons but oh well I guess." He grumbled. "Thanks bro."

Raph just gave him a strained grin.

"Well I think we're gonna try and not get into any fights today. Just a quick supply run." Leo said resolutely as he walked into the living area, zipping up his own trench. The swords on his hips kind of made the coat stick out funny but it would have to do for now. Mikey was trotting after him, looking tired and a little worried.

Mikey ran up to Raph and the red head immediately lifted him up. "You'll get me ice cream right?" The blonde demanded with a wide grin.

"Yeah, broccoli and turnip ice cream for Mikey." Raph teased.

"They don't make that!" Mikey argued angrily, squirming in his grip. "Don't get me that, get me normal ice cream!" He whined.

Raph just laughed.

Donnie leaned over and whispered loudly into Mikey's ear. "Don't worry Mike, I'll make sure he gets good ice cream. And if he gets the gross kind we'll make him eat it, okay?"

"Okay!" Mikey said, nodding seriously.

The three older brothers laughed, their nerves broken a little bit by the banter.

Raph put Mikey back down on the ground and patted his head before looking up to see their father walking up to them.

"Be careful my sons." He instructed gravely. "Please call me if you need me."

"We will father." Leo said sincerely, smiling at him. "We'll be okay, I got Don and Raph with me." He said, gesturing at his two younger adopted brothers. Raph puffed proudly, flexing his arms in show as Donnie just laughed.

Master Splinter chuckled and Mikey ran over to stand next to him as they showed the brothers off, watching as they entered the elevator that would take them to the abandoned garage above them.

There was a moment of silence before Mikey let out a loud puff of air.

Master Splinter chuckled and rubbed his littlest son's head. "That's how I feel too, my son." He said, his eyebrows creased in worry as he looked on from the elevator.

Getting some fresh air was definitely very refreshing after being stuck underground for two weeks. Leo couldn't help but take a deep breath and let it out as soon as they stepped out of the garage.

Of course, Donnie was quick to tease him about it. "Nothing like getting a good whiff of polluted New York air, eh?"

Leo shoved him good naturedly. "Quiet you, it's better than down there."

"Tell me about it." Raph mumbled, his senses on high alert as he glanced around, trying to keep his eyes open for anything suspicious.

The rest of the walk to the grocery store was pretty silent for the most part. Nothing seem to out of place and none of the other bystanders gave them so much as a glance so they eventually began to relax a little.

"Alright," Leo started when they arrived in front of the grocery store. "Raph why don't you stay out here and keep an eye out while me and Don go in and get the supplies."

Raph nodded and stuck his hands in his pockets, fingering his concealed weapons anxiously through the fabric. "'Kay. Hurry."

The two nodded and quickly walked inside.

About five minutes in Raph was growing uncomfortable. The staff on his back was making him have to stand straight and he really didn't like it or this situation. He really just wanted to grab his brother and get out of the open. Suddenly he thought he saw something flash in his peripheral and he whipped his head around, his eyes narrowing at a nearby alley. He watched for a few moments, waiting for something to appear, but then a man accidentally bumped into him and broke his concentration. Tsking in frustration, he went back to overlooking the rest of the street as he waited for his brothers to come back out with the groceries, tugging nervously at the tip of his hood.

Finally the grocery store doors opened and his brothers stepped out carrying a few bags of groceries.

"Help, help help." Donnie grunted, one of the four bags he was holding beginning to tip out of his arms. Raph quickly reached out and grabbed it and one of the other bags his twin was holding and chuckled.

"Think this'll hold for awhile?" Raph asked as they began to walk down the street.

"No," Leo sighed, looking at the two bags in his arms. "But it'll do for now."

Raph nodded and shifted his burden a bit before continuing on in silence.

It wasn't until they walked down the less densely populated part of the town that they began to feel suspicious. Leo's hair on the back of his neck stood up, and he shivered slightly as he felt like he was being watched. One look at his brothers and he knew they were feeling the same thing.

Raph was looking around as subtly as he could, but he only shrugged one shoulder. He couldn't see anything, at least not yet.

"I don't like this." Donnie murmured, wishing he could reach behind him and grab his staff for peace of mind. Too bad all of their hands were full of groceries and that was making them feel even more vulnerable.

Suddenly Leo felt a hand grab his shirt roughly and yanked him towards the wall of a building they were walking by. Leo yelped and twisted away from the hand, and his brothers immediately turned at Leo's cry, only to gasp in shock at what they saw.

Scrambling away, Leo turned to look to see what grabbed him and felt his jaw drop open. There, sticking out of the wall, was a dark black hand. While in a solid shape, the inside of the hand almost seemed to move, as if air was blowing through it, twirling the dark black and gray together.

"What in the-" Raph yelled, dropping his groceries and unzipping his coat to get to his sais. Leo quickly followed suit and unzipped his own, unsheathing his katana and holding them in front of him defensively. Donnie quickly reached behind Raph and grabbed his Bō, getting into his own position.

Slowly the shadow began to move towards them, showing more of the arm, a shoulder, a torso. A leg stepped out, followed by another one, before finally a head came out of the wall. It had no face, in fact it had no physical features at all.

"They're almost…shadow-y…" Leo couldn't help but thing. He thought of Mikey's dream last night and grimaced. "This is way too weird."

"What is that?" Raph growled, looking about ready to jump at it. Suddenly three more followed the first through the wall and the three brothers stepped back.

"I don't know but I don't' think they like us very much." Donnie quipped.

A low, vibrating growl seemed to permeate the air and surround them, making Leo shiver.

Then, the creatures attacked.

Leo grunted as he blocked an attack from a wispy katana that one of the creatures was wielding. Where that came from, he wasn't completely sure but he had a passing thought of it coming straight out of the creature's wrist and manifesting. The opposing katana pulled back for another strike and Leo dodged, swinging forward for his own attack. The sword went through the other creature's shoulder like it was nothing and Leo's shock allowed the creature to kick Leo in the stomach and send him back a few feet.

Leo grimaced and glared. "No fair, if you can touch me I should be able to touch you!"

The creature didn't seem to care much for his complaints and only growled louder, surging forward for another attack.

Donnie and Raph weren't having much luck either. Any expected attacks they sent for their opponents either went right through them or were dodged. Raph had it especially hard as two of the creatures decided to make him their victim. He was stuck between the two, twisting and turning as he parried and dodged attacks from a and a sword.

Tired of seeing his brother so cornered, Donnie grit his teeth and ducked under an overhead slash from his own opponent and surged forward behind one of the things attacking Raph and swung his staff into the creature's head. To his surprise the shadow creature flew to the side, stumbling to regain its footing.

"Looks like if you catch them off ground you can hit them!" Donnie exclaimed, jumping out of the way of an attack from behind and turned to block another one with his staff.

"Easy for you genius!" Raph yelled, slashing angrily at his opponent and bring up his leg for a powerful roundhouse kick to the shoulder that managed to send the creature reeling. "Haha! It looks like they don't like body parts all that much either."

"Ergh, I don't really want to touch them, thanks." Donnie teased. Even as he said that though, he brought his foot up and slammed it into the creature's stomach that was lunging him. The shadow creature fell to the ground and dissipated. The twins shot grins at each other over their shoulder before moving to confront their other opponents.

Leo wasn't having as much luck on his end. The shadow creature was fast and precise, and he was just barely managing to dodge its attacks. He wasn't very experienced with weapon combat, especially against another sword.

Suddenly the creature shot out it's free hand and grabbed him around the neck, actually lifting him up and slamming him into a nearby building.

Leo immediately wanted the hand off of him. It was cold and suffocating and made him feel sick to his stomach. With a cry of determination, he sloppily swung his sword for the creature's head. It went right through it, but the attack seemed to break the creature's concentration and his grip loosened, allowing Leo to drop down and slam a fist into the creature's abdomen, sending him back further.

The creature seemed to recover and lunged forward again. Leo quickly brought his swords up to block but the force of the attack sent him right back into the wall. The back of his skull hit with a crack and he cried out.

His two brothers whipped around at the sound and with twin cries of "Leo!" ran over to try and help him.

They were quickly intercepted by the other two creatures though, and the third that was fighting Leo slashed at his chest with his sword. Leo forced his dizziness aside and dodged, tripping over his feet and landing on the ground. He lost the grip on one of his swords but brought the other one up to block another attack. Leo then kicked the creature's kneecap, sending him stumbling backwards.

Leo glanced back at his brothers and saw the creature fighting Donnie dodge a strong hit from his staff. It twisted around until it was behind Donnie and lifted its sword for a overhead stab. Donnie twisted, trying to meet it with his staff, but knew he would be too slow and began to brace himself.

"NO!" Leo cried out. He suddenly felt heat burn from his chest straight down to his arm and without thinking he shot his arm forward, the need to protect his brother filling him with determination.

To everyone's surprise, a ball of fire burst from Leo's arm and flew straight into the shadow creature's head. With a scream, the creature dissipated into wisps of fire and darkness right before it could finish its move.

Leo hissed loudly, looking down in shock at his hand and nearly screamed when he saw it was bright red, and there was black edging around some of the burns. And it hurt. Really bad.

Donnie quickly shook himself out of his shock and reached into his belt to grab the bowie knife and threw it with precise accuracy at the creature that was about to attack Leo. The unexpected attack connected with the thing's shoulder and pinned it to the wall behind it before it exploded dissolved into a ball of wisps and disappeared.

Raph, spurred on by the attacks on his brothers finished off his opponent with a powerful roar and punch to the face. He ran over to kneeled beside Leo, who was cradling his wound.

"Holy crap bro." Donnie said, kneeling down beside him after yanking the knife out of the wall and gently took Leo's hand to inspect it. "That was amazing."

"I-I couldn't just let it hurt you." Leo said, sounding pained.

"What in the world were those things? I thought the Foot was after us not some weird ass monsters!" Raph gripped in fury. His protective instincts were working in overdrive as he helped Leo to his feet.

"Okay I'm freaked out and Leo needs his hand treated. Let's grab the food and get the hell out of here." Donnie instructed, gripping Leo's bicep with one hand and two of the grocery bags with the other.

Raph effortlessly picked up the four other bags and began to speed walk in front of them. "Sounds like a plan to me."

"This is very concerning." Master Splinter said as he looked over Leo's wound. "Not only with these creatures, but Leonardo, your powers are not supposed to hurt you this way."

Mikey had attached himself to Leo's side as soon as he walked in and saw that his big brother was hurt and was watching the hand worriedly, like it would shrivel up and blow away any minute.

Donnie had immediately gotten a bowl of cold water and stuck his hand in it and was now looking around for creams and light bandages to wrap it with.

"Well, they are. They've hurt me before to." Leo sighed, trying to keep the pain out of his voice to avoid worrying Mikey anymore.

"Your magic is showing itself too early." Master Splinter declared. "Your body is not ready to handle such energy. If only I knew what brought it on so quickly."

"You and me both father." Leo told him with a strained grin.

"Lemme see your hand." Raph said, sitting down next to his older brother and taking it out of the water. "I healed it before, maybe I could do it now."

Master Splinter looked like he wanted to protest, but decided to let it go just this once. His eldest was in quite a bit of pain.

Raph concentrated as hard as he could, trying to reach into his core like he had been instructed by some of the books he read, but he just couldn't seem to make the wound heal.

Finally he gave up and put the hand back into the water. "I'm sorry Leo, I-I can't do it. I don't understand why not!"

"My son, I told you," Master Splinter told him firmly. "Your powers are unpredictable, especially at this age. You cannot hope to control it so early."

"Maybe they react to your emotions more than anything right now." Donnie suggested, coming back in with a towel and a few creams. He kneeled down and gently took the hand out of the water and dried it before applying the medicine to it.

"Yes, that is what I am thinking as well, Donatello." Splinter nodded.

There was silence as they all watched Donnie treat Leo's hand and bandage it gently. "Okay Leo, here's some pain meds too." He said, putting two pills into Leo's undamaged hand. The black haired boy swallowed them gratefully, very much ready for the pain to go away.

Mikey had been strangely silent during the whole exchange and Leo glanced down at the top of his head and wrapped an arm around his shoulders. Raph had gotten up once he was sure Leo was going to be alright and stomped off to the dojo, obviously to blow off some steam after his failure. Master Splinter followed Donnie out of the room, carrying some of the supplies to put back in their proper places.

"What did you say those creatures looked like again, Leo?" Mikey asked, looking up at him with worried blue eyes.

Leo was silent for a moment. He knew that Mikey was thinking the same thing he was thinking and he didn't want to freak Mikey out even more. "They were like shadows, all dark and wispy. Their bodies moved even when they were standing still."

"…Sounds like what I saw in my dream." Mikey finally said after a moment of silence.

Leo just tightened his grip on Mikey's shoulder and sighed.

"What's going on Leo?" Mikey asked, sounding sincerely worried and unsure.

"I don't know Mikey, I just don't know."

"You FAILED?" Came an outraged cry that seemed to shake the entire foundation of the warehouse.

The shadows simply nodded.

Oroku Saki took a deep breath and turned, glaring at the demon that had taken over the entire wall behind him. "I thought these creatures would actually be of some use, however it looks like I was wrong."

"PaTiEnCE my FRieNd." The gravelly voice of the demon purred. "WhIlE thEY MiGhT hAvE faILeD oN tHE sUrfACe, yOu'LL fINd ouT thAT thEY AcComPlisHed MUCH moRe. SUch aS…wHeRe tHeY aRe HiDING."

Saki paused for a moment as he took in what the demon was saying before his face twisted in an evil grin. The shadows warriors continued to stand there, their unsettling laughter filling the airwaves like molasses. Karai looked on, her face twisting into an unhappy grimace. This isn't what she wanted, not at all.

Wow I hate fight scenes like…I hate writing them a whole lot. I am so sorry guys, this chapter is horrible.

On a lighter note, an average bo staff is about 6 feet, and I read that in 2k3 the turtles are about 5'1". IDK maybe he had a smaller one in the show but it's still kind of funny to think about.