Notes: this takes place within the story structure of the recent reboot of the Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon. Though I've been a fan since they were first published, this new reboot has captured my imagination. That being said, I like to keep Raph a bit more edgy, more like the comics. In my version, Leonardo is a year older than Raphael, Donatello is a year younger than Raph and Mikey is the youngest. I prefer the origin story of the Nickelodeon version with Splinter being the mutated form of Hamato Yoshi. Splinter is their teacher and like a father to the turtles. I have my own take on the rivalry between Shredder and Splinter. I do have a few OC's that will be introduced along the way. This is my first ff story and I appreciate any feedback.
The music pulsed. It's heavy rhythm seeming to come from everywhere. It was a pounding assault against his ears, vibrating his shell, making him more disoriented than he already was from the drug they had shot into his neck earlier. His feet shuffled and he stumbled forward, unable to catch himself. His hands were bound behind him. Raphael gritted his teeth and braced for the impact, but the foot soldiers escorting him grabbed him roughly by his upper arms, stopping his fall and pushing him forward through the crowd. Hands smacked at him as he walked on. Taunting voices calling rude remarks rose up around him. Something was thrown at him, hitting him in the head and shoulders.
The escort stopped him. He heard a scraping sound like a metal grate opening. His hands were suddenly ripped free from the rope and the burlap bag pulled quickly from his head. Before he could turn to face the three soldiers who brought him there, one of the men kicked him in the back. The force of the blow knocked him forward and he landed on his hands and knees on to the gravel covered floor. The crowd roared. The ground swayed and he shook his head trying to get some clarity. Then he became aware that the frenzy of voices suddenly went quiet. The rhythmic music flooded down from above him, making it harder to focus on where he was and what was happening. He raised his head, blinking in the smoky light, trying in vain to clear his blurred vision. His head swam and he felt waves of exhaustion and nausea wash over him. He swallowed and took in a ragged breath.
He was in some sort of large cage. Stadium-style seats rose up around it, filled with dozens of people crowded together, some wearing the uniform of the foot clan. The best seat of the house, separated from the rest to allow for the best view, directly in front of where Raphael knelt, belonged to none other than the Shredder.
The blades covering his arms and shoulders gleamed. His hands tented in front of his face, head bent slightly forward, eyes regarding the visibly shaken turtle. His low, threatening voice spoke, cutting through the oppressive bass of the music.
Another gate opened to Raphael's right. An enormous man, clad in nothing but black jeans, steel-toed boots and tattoos, stepped inside. Raph knew his situation had just gone from bad to much, much worse.
One Week Earlier...
It was late in the afternoon as Raph paced back and forth across the floor throwing a few punches in the air as he did. Splinter had their practice end early that morning. He and Leo were just getting warmed up and before he knew it, Splinter cut in between them. There'd been nothing to do all day afterwards. Splinter felt the brothers needed some down time, but Raph disagreed. He felt antsy and had wanted to finish the sparring session with his older brother. Splinter would not allow it. Instead he had to put up with Mikey's pranks and bad jokes all day while Leo played chess with Donatello before settling in for some meditating. The boredom he felt was beginning to take on a physical presence in the lair. There'd been no trouble for weeks from neither the purple dragons nor the foot. No fun, no excitement...except that one night, a few weeks ago...his memory began to drift back before he caught himself. No, Raph shook his head. He was beginning to think that night was a dream or hallucination or something...
A crash shattered the quiet bringing Raph to attention. It came from Donatello's room. Raph glanced at Leo. Leo didn't move. He remained where he had been for the past hour, seated on the large cushion across the room, meditating. His eyes closed, legs crossed in lotus position, hands rested on the top of his knees. Raph looked from him to the doorway where the racket was coming from and thought to himself, yeah, you're so deep in meditation you didn't hear that, right?
"Yikes!" Michelangelo yelped as he sprinted into the room, vaulted over the back of their worn couch, grabbed a comic and quickly pretended to be engrossed in the story. Donatello stormed into the room holding two pieces of metal...something.
"Mikey, I told you to stay outta my room! Look at what you did!"
Mikey peeked over his shoulder. A look of innocence on his face.
"Hm? Oh, hi, Donnie. Were you talking to me?"
Donatello ignored the act. "Do you know how long I've been working on this?"
Mikey shook his head. Donnie sighed and pointed one broken piece at his guilty brother, "Just stay out of my room, okay? I catch you in there messing with my inventions again, I'm putting you on scrap-detail next time I go scavenging in the slimy part of the junk yard."
Mikey ducked his head and mumbled, "Okay, okay, sorry, man. Just wanted to see how it worked." Mikey smiled and shrugged at Raph as Donatello marched back into his room. "Whatcha up to bro?"
"You have a gift of breaking everything you touch, Mikey," he said with a shake of his head.
Raph stepped up to the punching bag and took a few swings as the lair settled back into the partial quiet that made up most afternoons. He swung. Right, left, left again. The poompf, poompf sound, the only noise above the occasional turning of Mikey's comic pages. Ugh. The ceiling felt like it was beginning to press down on him. If he stayed here any longer he'd start screaming. One more right hook. Poompf. Then he marched off without a word to anyone.
Mikey watched Raph go with a sense of dread stirring in his gut. He had tried his best to keep things light in the lair today, but tension was boiling up. Before he could say anything, he caught movement from the corner of his eye and saw Leo open his eyes and shift to one knee. He was watching Raph go as well. Not so deep in meditation after all. Leo stood, his eyes glued to the exit where Raph had just left.
Oh boy, not again, Mikey thought. He hated when his brothers fought. There was a tendency for their fights to get ugly so quickly. And it was happening more and more lately too. They couldn't be in the same room without Leo criticizing. Or Raph blowing his temper. Why couldn't they just fight like he and Donnie did. A quick blow up, apologies made and forgiveness given. How hard is that? But Mikey knew it would never be that way between his older brothers. Michelangelo jumped to his feet, the comic thrown to the floor. Quickly and quietly as he could, he followed Leo out.
Donnie walked back into the room. "Hey, does anyone know where I left my..." Seeing the living area empty he stopped and sighed. "Ohh kay." He said to himself and turned on his heel and went back to his room. "Finally some peace and quiet. Maybe I can get these tracking devices working," he said to himself.
Mikey really didn't have a plan when he followed Leonardo, he just wanted to possibly catch up with Raph before Leo did. He thought maybe he could warn him or if he caught up with Leo before he confronted Raph, he could ask that his brother give Raphael a break this time. He seemed to Mikey to have been especially grumpy and distracted recently. Something more than what usually bugged Raph was going on. He moved quickly through the sewer, hoping with each step he'd catch one of them. But he wasn't quick enough. He should've known better, he heard voices up ahead and they didn't sound friendly. He walked towards the sound, one hand nervously trailing along the cracked bricks.
"What do ya want, Leo?" Raph's rough voice bounced along the tunnel.
Leo asked calmly, "Where are you go-"
"None of your business," Raph spat before Leo could finish.
Mikey moved around a slight bend in the tunnel to find Leo and Raph standing a few feet away, facing each other. Leo stood with his arms crossed in front of his chest and Raph was standing with his shell to a ladder. Mikey knew that this exit led up to an industrial park. He had followed Raph a few times out of curiosity but never managed to track him to his destination. Raph was too fast and stealthy.
"You can't keep going off on your own like this, Raphael."
"Who's gonna stop me? You?" The aggressive tone was there. Raph's eyes narrowed, ready to fight, hoping for it. Leo could see it plainly on his brother's face.
Leo sighed and pinched his eyes closed. This wasn't turning out right, but what did he expect. This was how their conversations had been going for months now. And since about three weeks ago, Raph had been really irritable and hardly spoke at all to him. When they exchange a few words, it ended in a fight each time. Leo took in a steadying breath and tried a different tack.
"Splinter wouldn't want you going out on your own. He worries, Raph." He paused, searching Raphael's face. Raph only stared at him, arms crossed. Leo sighed in irritation. "You should at least get permission first."
Raph snorted, "Oh, and be a good little boy like you, Leo? I don't think so. The lair only has enough room for one suck up in it."
Leo blinked hard at the insult and frowned. At the complete disregard of their sensei's feelings, he felt the calm slipping away from him and his own anger rising now.
"Besides, I can take care of myself. I don't need you..." Raph poked a finger into Leo's chest, "...bossin' me around or babysitting me, got it?"
Leo slapped away Raph's hand. Raphael's eyes narrowed.
"Don't poke me again," Leonardo said slowly, his voice low.
"I'm sorry, did you say something?" Raph taunted and poked Leo again, this time hard enough to make him step back. Leo smacked his hand away harder. Raph shoved Leo in the chest making him take two steps back.
While Leo was a more skilled and graceful fighter, he couldn't match Raph's bulk and brut strength. Their sparring matches were getting more and more intense with Splinter calling an abrupt end earlier and earlier into them. Just then, Mikey jumped from the shadows. He had to stop this before it got ugly. He got between his two brothers who were now grappling with each other. Growling and cursing filled the air.
"...you little suck up!" Raph said between gritted teeth. "Don't tell me what...to do!"
"You...stubborn ass!" Leo snapped back.
"Whoa, whoa, hey!" Mikey grabbed Leo and Raph's forearm and tried to pull them apart. Raph grabbed him by the face and pushed him hard.
"Stay outa this, runt!"
Mikey stumbled backwards, but jumped back in the fray just as Raph took a swing at Leo's face. Leo gracefully dodged the blow, but Mikey wasn't as quick. Raphael's fist struck him squarely in the jaw. Mikey's head snapped to the right. The impact knocked him back. He fell off the platform into the water.
Leo pulled away from Raph and jumped down to help Mikey up. He shook his head, his hand pressed against his cheek. With the back of his hand, he wiped a wide smear of blood from the corner of his mouth. Leo shot Raphael a furious look.
"Real nice, Raph."
Raph sputtered, "I told him to stay outta it."
Leo looked at Mikey's mouth. "You okay?"
Mikey stuck a finger and felt around, his cheek bulging. He Winced. "I think I lost a tooth..."
Leo looked back to where Raph had been standing only to find it empty. Ugh!
"Typical. Causes trouble then runs for it. I swear when I get a hold of him..."
"C'mon, Leo. It was an accident."
Leo looked at his younger brother, the one who was always quick to be understanding and be on your side. Then his eyes trailed to the blood dribbling down his brother's mouth and he felt the anger rise up again in his chest. Accident, he thought and snorted. That punch was meant for his face. He was sick and tired of Raph taking out his emotional problems on the rest of them. This was enough. He was going to need to settle this before Mikey or Donnie got in the way again and ended up really hurt. This would be the last time. They weren't going to bear the brunt of Raph's inner demons anymore.
He wrapped an arm loosely around Michelangelo's shoulders and together they made their way back to the lair.