Family Struggles

By:EriRinLee

Act 5

Finale

Part 5

Brothers Forever

"I belong with my brothers"

SHING!

The sharp blades slid through the walls with ease. April would almost believe that there must have already been a hole there.

She shook in terror. She had never been scared like this before.

Shredder slowly pulled his blades from the wall and placed his hand back to his side.

"I ask you again, where is Splinter?"

April couldn't even retort with a snarky response. She was stone cold frozen. She could tell that he was nowhere near pleased with her silence. She winced backwards as if he was about to strike her when he began yelling again.

"As my patience grows thin so does the amount of life you have remaining!"

April finally gulped and nervously looked to him, "You know...m-my Dad is probably lo-looking for me. Y-you can't keep me hidden forever."

Shredder let out a soft chuckle. Even as a laugh it sounded pure evil, "And WHY would he come looking for you HERE, you stupid girl?"

April gasped realizing he was right. He father would never to think to look for her at the Technodrome office building of all places. That brief moment of hope quickly washed away and she felt scared again.

Alas, being who she was, she couldn't allow the helpless girl feeling to continue to wash over her. But she knew there was no hope for her now, so she just slumped her shoulders and looked down sadly. Clearly having given up the fight.

"It doesn't matter how much you threaten me...I will never tell you where MASTER SPLINTER IS!" With her shriek came a small boost of confidence. She charged Shredder and attempted to knock him over, but he stood firmly. There was no hope. He grabbed her shoulder and threw her across the room and into the wall. "AAAAHHHNN!" She grabbed her shoulder in in pain as she nervously opened her eyes to look at her enemy that stood before her.

He extended his swords towards her once more and she flinched. A few moments passed and she began to look back to him, but as she did so his swords were being retracted back into his giant metal glove. She lifted an eyebrow. Very confused to what was going on. Why wasn't he killing her? She was obviously not going to be of any use to him if she wouldn't divulge the information he wanted.

As he turned towards the door he looked to one of the Foot Ninjas that had been standing guard at the back of the room the entire time. "Return her to her cell." And with that order he was gone, and she was being pulled back to that horrible cold dark metal lower level of the Technodrome building.


She hadn't really moved around too much. Once the alarm had been sounded the day before she had walked back to her room and laid on the bed.

Karai had not made a noise, moved, or slept. She just remained on her bed. Her hand laying in front of her face with Leos torn mask in it.

She had tear stains running down her face. But no more tears could be conjured. She felt so empty inside.

She hadn't been old enough to really understand the pain that came with her mothers death. Especially since she had never really met her. She had always heard the other Foot Ninjas cry for days on end about specific lost brothers in arms, and she had seen her Father torn apart at night over her mother, but she had never understood it. She knew that one day she would lose someone she cared about, and she figured that she'd be sad but...now she was finally feeling the pain. That emptiness feeling that she had only had described to her before. The feeling of it not actually being real. It nowhere met the description. It was much worse.

Finally, after hours of no movement she pulled the mask to her face. Her eyebrows raised a little bit as the familiar smell of blood filled her nostrils, but...there was something else. It was THAT smell. The smell of him.

She gave a soft laugh which only resulted in more tears streaming from her eyes upon thinking about this.

If she ever told anyone that she loved the smell of a mutated turtle that lived in the sewers they would be freaked out. But...it wasn't that kind of smell...it was a..."Leonardo" smell.

For a moment she felt like he was right next to her as she closed her eyes. At least in Death...he was safe, and in her dreams they could be together.

But her dream ended as her door went flying open.

She quickly stood up and the mask was hidden before Shredder could even catch a glimpse of blue.

"My apologies."

Shredder stepped into the room and stared her down with her evil glare that stung like knives.

"Karai, Now is your chance to redeem yourself."

"Yes sir. What is it you ask of me?" She said sternly as she listened intently.

For a moment, he didn't say anything. In fact, he looked away from her. But she didn't even have a moment to react to his strange behavior since he quickly returned his gaze towards her.

"The prisoner we are holding is no longer of use to me. Dispose of her."

He began to walk away, and her heart sank with each step. She knew FULL well who the prisoner was, but she couldn't quit grasp that as reality yet. Not having lost Leo and now she was going to lose the only girl that hadn't really been forced to be her friend, "Uhm...D-Dad."

He stopped dead in his tracks and quickly glared back at her, "S-sorry! Master, uhm...w-who is the prisoner?"

He looked as if he was going to begin screaming at her, but his face grew soft for a moment, and then immediately back to angry as he turned away and began to leave her room again, "It doesn't matter, I gave you an order. Kill the Prisoner, and all will be forgiven."

Karai was left in the dark room alone.


Tucked under her glove was Leos mask. Everything else about her foot clan gear remained the same. The foot ninjas stood at attention as she passed them down the long narrow hallway of metal cells. Her face looked bitter and angry. Internally, she was praying that whoever she had to kill was just someone she didn't know. But a tight grip came over her heart as she caught a glimpse of ginger hair through the darkness in the cell.

She slowly opened the door, and closed her eyes as she entered. She looked upset like she was about to cry but she withheld it as she began to shut the door behind her.

"YOU!" Yelled April.

Her shoe was weakly flung across the cell at Karai who didn't move or react upon impact.

"April-"

April quickly interrupted her,

"YOU SAID YOU'D PROTECT THEM! Why did you help free them if this was going to happen!?"

Karai started to almost cry again, but breathed in and let it pass. Her watery eyes opened as she stared at April, "...I never thought this would happen...I knew he was coming after you...had they never appeared my father would have let you go after your questioning...It wouldn't have come to this."

Karai couldn't say anymore. She fell to her knees and placed her hands over her face, "APRIL! I'm SORRY! I'M SO SORRY!"

April could easily see that Karai was genuine in her tears. She moved next to Karai and placed her hands on her shoulders and the two slowly fell into an embrace. Tears poured down both of their eyes.

"Sniff...are they...are they really gone?" Whispered Karai as her tears began to slow down.

April sobbed a little harder as she remembered seeing Raph and Donnie lifeless, and then watching Leo and Mikey die. Her head slowly moved into a nod, and Karai grabbed her tighter.

For the first time since the brothers had passed April felt a little safe with Karai embracing her.

"Sniff...it's...it's good to see you Karai..."

The two slowly pulled apart and Karai nodded to her as she wiped her tears away, "You too."

Karai placed her hand down her obi and slowly began to pull a familiar purple cloth from it.

April choked back tears, but her eyes were still watery.

"In their memory...I didn't think it was right for my father to have them...I wanted to take them all, but I dare not risk angering him. Not at this time. But I took his...for you."

April quickly grabbed onto the purple mask and hugged it close to herself, "My ai..."

Karai let out a soft chuckle through her tears that had begun again, "My ai? I know what you're trying to say, but...it doesn't actually make sense."

April also released a soft laugh as she smiled at Karai, "I know...it was just a thing we did...Thank you, Karai."

Karais smile instantly vanished as she then stood up, "Don't thank me just yet."

April raised an eyebrow as the tears dried on her cheeks. She placed Donnies mask safely in her lab coat pocket, and walked beside Karai and grabbed her shoe of the floor as she struggled to put it back on, "Why not?...What's going on?"

Karai sighed, "I knew you weren't stupid...April..."

Karai didn't want to continue the sentence, but she had to. She turned towards April and sternly looked to her. "To earn my place back into Shredders good graces...I must execute you."

Had it been any other situation, April would have of course gone crazy and begun attacking like crazy, but this time...she just sighed, "He won't stop until he's killed everyone that's ever aided the brothers and helped hide Master Splinter...so I'll never be safe...it'll only be a matter of time before he gets to my father...and then...what do I have left? I guess...so you're at least safe...just kill me quickly."

Karai practically jumped out of her boots as she folded her arms, "April, I'm not gonna kill you."

April quickly looked up confused, "Then why the heck did you say that?!"

"Cause I'm supposed to. But like I said I'm not gonna. I just gotta find a way to get you to safety. How does Australia sound?"

April sighed, "Karai..."

Kari grunted and looked to the floor, "Yea I know...you're hell bent on getting revenge now aren't you? You're not just gonna disappear."

April shook her head, "Absolutely not."

Karai pulled the skin on her face as she groaned once more, "Ugh...fine. I already know that there's no arguing with you."

Karai and April both looked to the door of the cell and April looked back to Karai, "So...what are we gonna do for now? Everyone's expecting you to kill me."

"...I have no idea."


The two girls sat on opposite sides of the cell just staring at each other. As more and more time passed their faces gained more and more worry. Neither one could come up with and idea on how to get April out safely.

Karai knew the security system and knew where every guard was stationed, and how to get to every possible exit in the building, but...that was just it. She had dealt with security for the building, there was no way that she could get out. Especially not with trying to get April out.

Even with as good as Karai was she would get seen by something, and then her Fathers trust would completely vanish.

Karai clenched her teeth and slammed the wall that she was leaning against with her fist. This wasn't fair!

Both the girls suddenly jumped as a voice came through the small eye hole on the door.

"Miss Oroku. The room is ready. Would you like us to take the Prisoner there?"

Karai and April continued to stare at each other, but this time they both looked very scared, "...No." She slowly shook her head even though she knew the foot ninja couldn't see her, "I will take her."

The ninjas foot steps could be heard as he walked away. When they finally vanished Karai threw her head into her knees. "Dammit!"

April inched over to sit in front of Karai. She knew it was her death that was going to happen, but she felt she needed to at least comfort her friend.

"Karai...it's okay. You are completely safe from Shredder no matter what you do after you kill me. If you choose to get revenge for our fallen friends and take him out then do it...but...no one would think any less of you if you did this and then continued to serve him as you do...there's nothing left to fight for, but revenge...Master Splinter would probably get mad again...Donnie and Raph went after Shredder in desire for revenge and look what happened to them...if only one of us can make it out of all this...then...at least that's better than none of us."

Karai wanted to start crying again. She could tell that April was trying to appear philosophical...and failing miserably. To this she had to give a soft chuckle.

"April...I will do my best to keep Splinter from my father...as my own revenge against Shredder, I won't let him exact his revenge on all of you..."

The two smiled at each other in silence until it was finally broken by April throwing herself into a tight embrace with Karai.

"Thank you...for being my friend, Karai."

Karai tightly hugged her back, "Thank you for being mine..."

Their embrace lasted a few moments, but they knew they could not push their time limit anymore. The two slowly let go of each other and they stood up.

April pulled Donnies mask from her lab coat pocket and slowly tied it in her hair as a hair tie.

With that, both girls lost their smile and Karai opened the door of the cell allowing April to exit first. Karai slowly followed behind and led April everytime they needed to change direction.

Every time they turned a corner their steps became slower.

April slightly turned her head as she continued walking forward, "So...how are you killing me?"

Karai could tell that April didn't really want to know the answer, but she at least deserved to know, "Um...the door that leads outside of the room that we're going to leads outside...that way the smell of your death will vanish quickly...but um...the way...you're dying is...we lean you over a chopping block and cut off your head."

April flinched as she grabbed her neck.

"...I promise...it's the quickest way to end it...you'll feel a pinch for less than a second and then...it'll be over..."

April closed her eyes tightly and nodded. She looked as if she was about to vomit.

Karai wanted to apologize again, but what use would it be?

After what seemed like hours the girls reached the room. The door was small and inconspicuous. However, it was covered in locks and chains. Clearly no one was meant to get in here unless need be.

The two foot ninjas guarding the door started opening it upon Karais command. After a minute or two the door slowly swung open to reveal the most vile room April had ever seen. There was dried blood all over the place, weapons she had never seen before. The only light in the room came from the incinerator which she was certain was used for burning away any evidence.

What would channel 6 news do if they had uncovered something like this!? But this was perfect...no one would suspect a thing right under all these office buildings.

Wait...an incinerator...which meant that the smoke had to escape from somewhere...but where?! April desperately looked around until Karai softly touched her shoulder and shook her head, "...You won't fit through the chimneys..."

Once again Aprils hopes were dashed. She knew Karai wasn't trying to be mean to her, but it still hurt nonetheless.

April looked to the much smaller wooden door that led outside where they "took care of business". She could make a bolt for the door and then for ANY escape she could find. She was about to die, she might as well at least TRY for one last attempt at escape.

Without warning April pushed Karai into the wall and bolted for the door.

Karai pretended like she was hurt, and got back up very slowly.

April pushed straight through the door and began sprinting. She had barely made it out the door and saw an easy escape. If she could just get through that one opening in the wall she'd be home free! She felt like she had the spirit of a cheetah as she took off towards the crack, but it was short lived as she came to a screeching halt.

A cold metal hand firmly gripped her arm. She nervously turned her head back to have a look at her captor.

Sure enough, it was Shredder.

"This is your last chance...Where is Splinter?!"

April was terrified, and then she remembered once more that she was going to die. She furrowed her eyebrows at him and suddenly spit straight at his eyes.

Furious, her slapped her across the face and threw her to the ground. Before she could get up two foot ninjas pinned her to the ground and began tying her wrists together.

There was no chance at escape now. She was clearly going to be watched until she was dead. The lifted her up and quickly enough threw her once more, but this time it was over the chopping block.

Karai made her way next to Shredders side, but continued to nervously stare at the struggling April.

"Karai, get rid of her."

He handed her a short sword. She didn't look at it as she took it from his hand. Her shaking feet started to move forward until she reached Aprils side. She had hoped it would take her longer to make it to April. But such was fate.

April took one more desperate look at the tops of the walls surrounding the small courtyard. Deep down, part of her hoped she would see her friends...but there was no one.

Karai gently placed her hand on the back of Aprils head and pushed her down.

Anyone could tell that Shredder was pleased with what his daughter was about to do. Kill her best friend just to prove her loyalty to him. Of course no one could see under his mask, but it was obvious.

"Karai, do this and all will be forgiven. I am sure your mother is staring down at you...very proud."

Before Karai lifter her sword she looked up to the sky. The cold early winter air of the approaching night blew past her.

She was frozen...but not from the cold. She felt...something else grabbing her wrists...gently trying to stop her.

"Karai!"

Shredders voice brought her back into reality. Suddenly Karai's face resembled his glare that he so often wore.

"...Mother died in a fire because YOU were fighting with Hamato Yoshi...you fought him for revenge on something much more trivial...and now you wish to fight him again for revenge on what happened to Mom...but...she has seen what's come of revenge...and paid the ultimate price because of it...this has to stop."

Shredder appeared to flinch but his eyes made no such gesture, " Do it...NOW Karai."

Karai glared at him, and quickly lifted her sword and let it strike down like lightning.

April flinched as she felt the sharp blade against...her wrists? Just a scratch? She nervously looked back to see that Karai had cut the ropes keeping her tied.

Karai then grabbed April strongly around the arm and lifted her off the chopping block.

"Run"

was all Karai said before she charged straight for Shredder.

Karai was small in comparison to Shredder. When she made contact with him he merely grabbed her wrist and lifted her off the ground.

"I've given you EVERYTHING! You DARE say that your mother wouldn't approve of this!? You know NOTHING you ungrateful little-"

He was met with yet more spit in his face. This time courtesy of Karai. She evilly smiled as she pushed off him from his chest using all the strength in her legs that she could harness.

He angrily wiped his eyes and stared the two girls down, "You would give up everything...because I killed some mutant you had a little crush on? You fool."

Karai stomped her foot on the ground, "PLEASE! I'm no fool! No matter how much I loved someone I will always love myself MORE! I will always look out for myself first! Just like you taught me! But what you're doing is wrong! You're killing people that only wished to harm you because you came after them first! We could have been normal!...Well...as normal as a clan of highly trained ninjas could be, but you get my point!"

Shredder clearly grew more and more angry with every syllable she uttered.

His swords quickly found their way out of his gauntlets.

April nervously stepped behind Karai, "He'd kill his own daughter over something like this?"

Karais face remained uncaring even as the two nervously started backing away, "It would seem so. RUN!"

The two girls quickly turned around and started for the wall. Once again, their escape was short lived as they were met with more foot ninjas than one could count just by looking.

For a few moments the two fought off ninjas as best as they could, but there was only so much they could do when it was roughly 50 to 1.

The two quickly found themselves in the dirt.

They nervously stared at each other as they gasped for air.

"Well...at least we tried." Smiled April weakly.

"Yea." Karai weakly laughed. "I shouldn't have trained them so well."

They both looked up as best as they could to see Shredder walking towards them. Karai and April wanted to say more to each other, but what was the point? Their hearts raced as they knew their end was coming...

It was strange...Karai had always believed that she had grasped the idea of death and would not fear it when it came. She was very wrong. The feeling of helplessness...that moment that you realized that you wouldn't be able to do something tomorrow...because there wouldn't be a tomorrow. After this there was...nothing.

Karai managed to pull her arm free and reached for Aprils hand.

Realizing that the two were only trying to console each other before their untimely demise the foot ninjas allowed the girls to completely free one arm each.

Their hands tightly gripped each other as they bravely watched their Grim Reaper step forward.

"Do you think...we'll have stupid water balloon fights in death?" Laughed April

Karai smiled as she continued to stare at her father coming forward, "Yea...what fun is death without a good water balloon fight?"

Silence finally fell. The moon was high in the sky now...how long had they really been out here? Though the moon light washed over everyone in the yard it suddenly began to get very dark. As if there were storm clouds covering their line of vision...storm clouds?

April and Karai quickly turned to each other looking very confused until the cloud blocked them from seeing each other.

The sound of clashing metal and bodies hitting the floor echoed in the darkness. Karai suddenly felt very light, and realized that she was able to sit up. No one was holding her down anymore.

She felt a large hand grab her wrist and pull her. She was then flung onto something that was moving, but she still couldn't see through the thick clouds.

Whatever she was on was no longer touching the ground. They pierced through the layer of clouds and the moon light flashed over what was holding onto her.

"RAPHAEL!?"

As they started falling back towards the Earth on the top of the wall he smiled back at her, "Yea, sorry it's not Lame-anardo."

She wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly, " I've NEVER wanted to hug you until now!"

"Haha, don't fall in love with me now."

Only a few feet away Donnie had a firm grasp on April, as they escaped the smoke. Her eyes slowly opened and anyone could see by the look on her face she was dumb struck.

"D-Donnie?..." As she stuttered he only smiled at her. Realizing that she couldn't manage anymore words she tightly hugged him.

As they both landed Karai and April stood on the wall next to them, both in complete shock as they stared at the brothers. April walked to Mikey and placed her hands on his face. To which he replied with a giant smile.

"It's really you...but I...I saw-"

Mikey forced April into the tightest hug ever and kissed the side of her face. She couldn't help by laugh. She was so overcome with joy she didn't care what kind of voodoo magic must have brought them back. She was just so happy to see them.

Karai stared dumbstruck at Leo. He smirked at her, "What?"

For a moment she was breathless and started smiling, but she quickly shook her head and looked back down into the clearing smoke, "Good to have you back. We could use your help."

The brothers all nodded as they looked in the same direction as her. Except for Mikey.

"Guys, Master Splinter said not to fight him."

Leo nodded, "He's right. I'm sorry Karai. We can't help you."

She growled for a moment but silently nodded.

The brothers and April turned around to leap off the wall and escape, but Karai continued staring at the smoke. She was able to make out a few of the foot ninjas figures as they scrambled into each other trying to escape, "Like chickens with their heads cut off."

"Karai."

Karai didn't turn her head from the mess in the courtyard, "What?"

April stared nervously at her friend, "There's nothing left but your demise down there...come with us...please."

Karai sighed and was about to respond with an obvious yes, but her eyes widened as the smoke cleared. Her mouth fell open in total shock at what lay before her in the moon light.

April raised an eyebrow and looked down to see Shredder...it was so out of place...that she didn't even see who was with him until the brothers yelled out, "SENSEI!"

Their words could not be heard from where Shredder and Splinter were standing opposite each other. The sternness of their faces clearly showed that this would only end with one of them walking away.

"I had to come and see...you would put another innocent life at stake...attempt to silence your own daughter...Saki...old friend,...stop this madness. You will only bring about your own demise."

Shredder grunted angrily upon hearing the voice escape the rather large rats mouth. He instantly knew who stood before him, "Look at what has become of you Yoshi. You dare stand before me with a request!?"

Splinter shook his head, "With a command. If you attack me I will put an end to whatever suffering and hate you still hold onto."

"You had everything Yoshi...why couldn't it have been me...you took it all from me...all I did was return the favor."

Shredders eyes furrowed as he lifted his swords. Splinter shook his head as he prepared his stance. "Clearly...there is no swaying your decision old friend...Very well...I hope that when you are with Tang Shen she will teach you kindness...and when I arrive to meet you two...we can be the way we were."

There was obvious strain in Shredders eyes. Usually he would never attack first without the element of surprise, but he was blinded. He charged Splinter who took advantage of Shredders foolish rushing and knocked him away without any difficulty.

April started to leap off the wall, but was quickly grabbed by Leo.

"What are you doing?! We have to help him!" She yelled back at him.

Leo shook his head, "Clearly Master Splinter has the upper hand here. We'd only get in the way."

As Leo finished speaking the Foot Ninjas began to intervene and attempted to aid Shredder. The brothers and two girls looked back to Leo, "Okay, we can help now."

The six leaped directly into the fray.

Karai quickly located the ninja that held onto Aprils fan, knocked him out and took the fan. "APRIL!" She quickly threw the fan to her.

April snatched it just before it hit her face. Just in time. She swiftly opened it up and sliced through the two ninjas coming directly for her. "Try and capture me again." She smiled, clearly pleased with herself.

Seeing that April would be able to handle herself Karai smiled and charged into battle.

The four brothers were separated almost instantly. However they had no problem fighting off the ninjas that they faced.

Mikey quickly wrapped his chain around one foot ninja and used him as a weight. He began spinning which swung the chain around. The ninja he had wrapped up crashed continuously into several others until Mikey had a clear amount of space between him and anymore attackers. He pulled his chain and released the foot ninja. "BOOYAKASHA! HAHA! I missed SAYIN' THAT!" He smiled as he leaped off.

Donnie vaulted into several of his enemies in a constant onslaught of spins. He believed that he had never taken out so many foot ninjas so quickly before. As he continued to fight off his enemies with ease he couldn't help but think about how easy a time Splinter seemed to be having against Shredder. His brothers and him couldn't fight Shredder off for more than a few minutes. But they had no trouble against these foot ninjas. Even after several months of hardly any training. Maybe...no matter how much they may have doubted themselves...they had just been that good. They could still fail like anybody else, but now...Donnie realized just how good Splinter was...and he felt honored to have been trained by such a great ninja. "I'll make you proud, Father." He smiled as he leaped towards Mikey and took out a Foot Ninja that was sneaking up on him.

"Hey!" Complained Mikey. "I was gonna get 'im!"

Donnie smiled and shrugged, and Mikey did the same before the two started attacking alongside each other.

Raphael was having the best time. For one, he LOVED winning, and two, he loved fighting. So this was perfect. For so long he hadn't been able to freely fight off whoever just got in his way. He happily knocked out any ninja that came near him.

From a distance Leo rolled his eyes upon seeing his red clad brothers dorky smile.

Raph was making it a goal to punch each ninja directly in the face with the hilt of his sais. His count was well over twenty. It was obvious he had managed to take out the most of the four brothers. It was a game to him now.

A fair distance away Leo actually enjoying himself. As each new opponent stepped before him he quickly thought about the situation before they even had a chance to move and took out his enemy.

It was like he had never stopped training. Everything was coming back to him so naturally. He knew muscle memory was a real thing, but he didn't think it would be anything like this.

A blur of red ran past him and he watched his younger brother take out an enemy. He smiled as he looked around. Raph had clearly taken out his extent of the foot ninjas and Donnie and Mikey weren't far behind.

More and more ninjas fell, and some even retreated. Until only a handful remained. The four brothers came to each other and happily stared down their enemies.

"Take them out." Ordered Leo. The four brothers eagerly went flying at the remaining Ninjas and started attacking. The Foot Ninjas had no chance. The attacks were quick and completed.

They looked around and saw that only a few foot ninjas remained conscious in the entire area, but they were attacking April. They would have come to aid her but she was obviously not having any trouble.

Donnie smiled, almost kind of proud, "These Foot Ninjas...some of them have been training their entire lives under Shredder...April never started fighting until a year or so ago...look how much better she is than them."

Mikey smiled as the four brothers turned to Splinter who was still over powering Shredder, "Our Dad is the greatest."

Leo looked back to see that Karai wasn't fighting anymore, and none of the Foot Ninjas dare attack her. She silently watched the fight between the two Masters continue.

Raph smiled as he placed his hands behind his head, "Sensei can handle Shredder no problem. But...he does look like he's gettin' a little tired. Should we go help the Old Man out?" He laughed.

Donnie playfully pushed Raph and Leo responded to the question, "Yea. I'm sure he'll be thankful."

The four brothers pulled out their weapons again and took in the situation for a moment longer.

"We have the best family..." Smiled Mikey.

"After today, fear will be something of the past." Said Donnie Philosophically.

"We're ready for our orders oh great Leader." Smirked Raph

"...Take down Shredder." Smiled Leo, and the four took off.

Being the fastest Mikey reached Shredder first. He leaped over Splinter, and with a flip landed behind Shredder. With a swing of his nunchuck, the extending chain wrapped around Shredder. Of course the Shredder had escaped from this attack before, but Mikey was prepared. "Did you really think I'd use the same type of chain after you broke through them the first time?" He laughed.

Donnie appeared behind Shredder and lifted his bo staff over Shredder head and forcefully placed it under his chin. He jerked Shredders head back leaving him almost completely exposed and open to a direct attack.

Raph eagerly ran directly in front of Shredder and stabbed the tip of his sais beneath Mikeys chains and into Shredders arms.

He slowly pulled his sais down the rest of Shredders arms to make sure that he was in agonizing pain. As his sais finally made it far enough down the arm they hit his gauntlets that held onto his weapons. With a flick his gauntlets fell from his arms and onto the ground. He no longer had weapons. Not that he would have been able to use them very well after Raph had cut the top halves of his arms.

For extra assurance Leo walked up to Shredders side and placed one of his blades in front of Shredders neck. "Thanks for wearing him down Master Splinter. We can take it from here if you'd like."

Raph knew Leo was kidding of course, but Raph had a giant burst of hope that Splinter would allow them to do it.

Splinter stepped before Shredder. Splinters eyes looked sad but stern, while Shredder looked angry and fearful.

"You have done well my sons...Saki...As your friend...I would free you. We were always taught that revenge would only lead us down a path of destruction...and yet you still went down it. This is what you wanted...you knew that one day I would repay you for taking everything from me back when we were younger...and for now when you tried to hurt my new family. I could never forgive you. I'm not doing this to you out of revenge...in fact...this deeply saddens me...I do not wish to see my best friend before me like this. But I can't let your deeds go unpunished. If this is what it takes to protect my family then so be it."

For the first time since the battle had started Splinter removed his sword that had been hanging in his obi. "Please...say hello to Tang Shen and my daughter...Tell them to wait for me a little longer. For I am still needed here."

Shredder groaned in anger as he mustered out a few words,
"Your daughter is closer than you think..."

The whisper was to soft and Splinter could not hear him.

April finished taking out her last Foot Ninja as she turned around. She flinched backwards upon seeing Splinter lift the sword as he stepped closer to Shredder.

It was just out of place to see him looking so...so...violent.

But that didn't keep her attention for long.

The blur of red and black passing her face and sprinting straight towards the brothers and Splinters kept her attention.

"SENSEI!"

Splinter was in the middle of swinging the sword down on Shredder as he turned his head to see the young girl come flying towards him with a hate in her eyes that was so strong it stopped his swing. His sword quickly met hers instead.

Shredder could see very little of what was happening before him, but he was very aware. "K-karai." He managed to choke out weakly.

Karai used her sword to push Splinter back.

Of course normally Karai would have nowhere near the strength to fight back someone like Splinter. He only stepped back because he had allowed Karai to push him.

The four brothers nervously looked to the two. They were unsure if they should move and risk freeing Shredder.

"You are formidable, and am honored that you allowed me to raise my sword to you even once and live." She sheathed her sword behind her, and the four brothers calmed down.

She turned to her father as Splinter sheathed his sword as well.

"Sensei, what are you doing?!" Complained Raph.

Splinter didn't say anything. He merely placed his hand on Karai's shoulder to silently reflect that everything was all right. He then released her as she stepped closer to her father. Raph got out of her way.

The only things that stood between Shredder and Karai was Mikeys chains, Donnies staff, Leos swords, and about two feet of open dirt.

"To many innocent lives have been taken in this courtyard. There is no reason that more blood should be spilled. You've never been very good to me, but...you're still my Father...and I will protect you. But I cannot condone what you are doing as the right thing anymore. I will assume leadership of the Foot Clan. Your days of running people over with fear are over. I will be Shredder."

Karai took his helmet off of him and placed it under her arm.

He clenched his teeth together as Leo and Donnie began to slowly lower their weapons.

"What will you have of me?" He asked angrily. She knew very well that he was not going to let this happen...not without a fight.

She gave a soft chuckle and smiled, "Run away Simba...Run away and never return."

Leo, and Donnie finally released him, and Mikey allowed his chains to loosen up and fall to Shredders feet. He stood up and blood began to lightly drain from his arms.

Karai thought he should consider himself lucky. Those wounds would heal...Raph could have just as easily made his arms entirely useless.

She turned towards Splinter. She deeply bowed and handed Shredders helmet to him.

"Forgive us for everything that we have done to you and your family."

Splinter took the helmet, and placed his hand on Karais head soothingly. She slowly stood up and smiled at him. "Thank you, Child. For being so brave."

Just as Karai had expected. Shredder was not going to take this whole situation lying down. There was another short sword hidden in his armour. He quickly pulled it out and within an instant was clearly aiming for Karai.

It happened in a blink of an eye. Leo had knocked the sword out of Shredders hands, Mikey had pulled his chain back which wrapped tightly around Shredders ankles and was causing him to topple over. Within that same instant Karai had turned around with an angry fire in her eyes as she shoved her sword between his eyes.

Blood dripped down her sword as her Fathers begging eyes looked to her eyes that were so full of anger and hurt. She pulled her sword from him and he fell to the floor below.

She sheathed her sword.

For a moment, she stood strongly. After a moment of silence she couldn't help but think about the situation.

Her father was so angry with her that he was willing to put her...the one person who had always been by his side, always protected him...to her own death. She was going to let him live...how could he not live with that.

"Revenge really was all that mattered to him...and in the end he got what he wanted."

She couldn't hold back tears anymore. She threw herself over her now dead Father and cried.

Sure he had never been much of a Father figure, but...he was her father. She never wanted to see him like this...

"Otosan...Watashi o yurushitekudasai."

Leo looked sad watching her act this way. He went to place his hand on her back by Splinter pulled it away and shook his head.

Leo respectfully did so.

April walked forward, but Splinter did not stop her. She got on her knees next to Karai and laid her arm around Karai. After a moment Karai rushed into a tighter hug with April as she let all the pain and hurt from the last eighteen years pour out.

A few moments passed and the courtyard began to fill with unarmed Foot Ninjas. She stood up and wiped her tears. She turned to them and looked stern. "What are you doing? There's work to be done. Get moving!"

The Foot bowed to her and each took off in separate directions. It was clear that Karai was not going to have any trouble taking control of the entire clan.

Leo walked beside Karai. She wouldn't look at him, but he was very sad for her. "Karai...I'm sorry...it turned out like this."

She shook her head, "No...I'm not. My Family Struggles had to come to an end. I'm just glad that yours ended a little happier." She turned to face all of them.

"Now that the Foot Clan will never be hunting you again I would like to extend an offer. All of you have an offer to join the Foot Clan as high ranking officers if you so wish."

Splinter smiled, "I believe my time in the Foot Clan came to an end long ago, my dear."

Karai smiled at him, and then looked to April and the brothers. It was clear that none of them had any intention of joining the Foot clan.

"Well...maybe not yet. But maybe some day. The offer will remain open until all of you die. I suppose. Now if you'll excuse me. I have a company to run, and a funeral to plan."

And with a smoke pellet, she and her Fathers body vanished.

"Come my sons..." Splinter also smiled to April, "And "daughter", let us return home."


WHACK!

"I told you no going after Shredder under ANY circumstances!"

WHACK! WHACK!

"AH! Geez Sensei! We're sorry!"

Splinter merely let out somewhat diabolical chuckles. He was pure evil when he wanted to be.

"Very well. I suppose you have all learned your lesson. You are free to go."

Splinter smiled as he turned from them. The four got up and bowed miserably.

Splinter thought they had left the room but was met with an attack of hugs from his four sons.

"All of you need to lose weight." Complained Splinter jokingly.

"We love you too Dad." Said Leo as he got off him. The four finally completely released him and left the dojo. Splinter smiled and shook his head.


As the four left the dojo April and Karai walked into the lair from the tunnel.

"Hey guys!" Yelled Mikey as he leapt across the room and hugged the two of them.

After he released them Karai took a look around the lair, scanning it with her eyes. She had been invited over for the first time, and was still a little creeped out that her father had been right and that they actually lived in the Sewer.

"What's wrong Princess? Our homes not good enough for you?" Said Raph jokingly as he walked up to Karai.

Leo smacked the back of Raphs head, "You look tired."

She shrugged, "Well you know. Suddenly taking over the entire Foot Clan was hard enough...and...in my Dads will...he left me the entire Technodrome corporation. I'm the sole owner. That was kind of nice of him I guess."

"Sounds rough." Added Mikey playfully, not wanting the mood to become sad. "Come on! I want to see if you can beat me in a fight using nunchucks!" He started pulling Karai to the dojo, and Leo and Raph followed behind.

April stood with six pizza boxes in her arms. Karai had paid for them but in return April had had to carry them. Fair trade she thought.

Suddenly it became lighter as the pizza boxes were lifted from her arms. "Hm?"

Donnie didn't look at her, or say anything as he took them. He just started walking into the kitchen with them.

April followed him into the room and watched as he set the boxes down.

Instead of taking any pizza he walked past her once again without looking at or saying anything to her. As he made his way to his lab she walked to the end of the kitchen and stopped. She...shouldn't...follow him.

He opened the door to his lab and finally looked back to her. He looked so sad she felt her heart break. Once he realized that their eyes had met he quickly turned around and started heading back into the lab.

"W-wait." Squeaked Aprils voice.

Once her voice made it's way to him he was instantly frozen. It was like the first time she had ever spoken to just him. He wanted to take in every syllable. Of course he was firmly grasped onto the thought that nothing would happen.

"Yes?" He answered. He was happy that his outer voice was nowhere near as shaky as his internal voice.

"Are you working on something?"

"Yea...re-programming Metal Head again..."

The room became silent again.

"Can...Can I watch?" She asked kind of nervously.

She had never been nervous with Donnie when they were friends. It wasn't until she knew she liked him had she started acting that way around him. And now it felt like just before they had started dating.

He blushed and turned from her, "Look you...don't have to pretend that you care about what I'm doing just because we used to be together...you can go watch them spar. Don't worry about me..."

He hadn't even heard her come up behind him. She went to touch his hand, and he flinched upon feeling her skin against his. His hand quickly pulled away.

She started rubbing her hand that had gone for his, "Uhm...okay..."

He nodded and started to walk into his lab leaving her behind. He could hear her soft whimpering and his heart stung from the sound. He continued forward to his desk until he couldn't take it anymore. He turned around to face her, "Apr-"

"YOU'RE AN IDIOT!"

She yelled. He was completely taken back. He blinked in shock as she came storming up to him. She started pushing him as tears poured down her face and she was clearing trying to express just how angry she was.

"How could you just leave me like that!? I told you not to go after him! Everything turned out fine but I still had to see you dead for a few minutes! You broke up with me so you could go fight!? You're an ASSHOLE!"

She had been pushing him harder and harder even as he took steps back to avoid it through her whole rant. She went to push him one last time. He had nowhere to escape to since he was now pushed against the wall so he grabbed her wrists to stop her. Before she could react he pulled her into him.

She tried to struggle out of his embrace but it was too tight.

"I'm sorry..."

He laid his head on top of hers and she finally calmed down as they slid to the floor.

"I swear...I thought I was protecting you...I never wanted you to be scared...and I NEVER thought all the things that did happen...would happen. I didn't want to lose you to death...so I figured losing you...having you no longer be mine...was a price I was willing to pay if it meant you'd be safe."

From his words April tightly embraced him back. Her tears poured out like rivers now. She finally felt calm as he stroked the back of her hair with his hand.

He gently kissed the top of her head, which followed by warm tears falling form him and into her hair. She didn't care.

"Can you ever forgive me?" He asked through his quiet sobs.

"Only if you go out with me again."

Her response was so quick and unshaken that Donnie was actually a little surprised. Before he could react to it April placed her hands on his face and kissed him.

The two smiled at each other and hugged again. Both finally happy.


"AAAAHHHHHH!" Screamed Mikey as he went crashing into the floor.

"PFFT! HAHAHAHA! Oh my god!" Raph couldn't hold back his laughter.

Karai easily took Mikey down using only nunchucks.

"That was really good, Karai. Glad you only use a sword." Smiled Mikey as he stood up.

Karai smiled and examined her weapon, "This is a pretty good pair." She walked to the wall and placed them back in their holding spot. Her eyes made their way over to the extra pair of sais hanging on the wall, "Come on Raph, don't you wanna have a go?" She evilly smirked.

Leo could tell that Raph was about to eagerly say yes, so he interrupted.

"Um, So. Karai. When we went on Patrol last night I saw something that could really use your expertise. Since you're here and all would you come check it out with me?"

Mikey looked at his brother and lifted an eyebrow, "What'd we see?"

Raph quickly covered Mikeys mouth.

Karai shrugged and followed Leo out of the dojo.

Raph released Mikey, "Dude! What was that for? What'd we see?"

Raph rolled his eyes and groaned, "You're stupid."

"Hey! Not so much recently." Pouted Mikey. "...Hey Raph..."

"What is it?"

Raphs voice seemed calm which kind of took him by surprise. It was very rare that Raph ever felt..."content" that when they heard it it was almost concerning.

"Do you think...that now that we've faced our enemies...we'll get lazy again...you'll pull away again?"

Raph turned back to his younger brother and seemed a little surprised. He hadn't really thought about it. "I suppose...last time I did pull away a little..."

With Raphs words, Mikey started to feel a little uncomfortable. He didn't want his family to pull apart again.

"No. That won't happen again." Said Raph in a loud whisper. Mikey peered over, wide eyed at his brother.

Mikey began spreading a creepy wide smile across his face as he opened his arms letting Raph know he wanted a hug.

For a moment, Raph looked around to make sure they were alone and groaned upon realizing that they were.

He moved to Mikey and hugged him. Of course, regardless of how much of a non-hugging person you were, Mikey had the best hugs, and Raph fell into it.

"Ahhh~ feel the love my brother." Said Mikey jokingly. And with that the hug had ended by Raph throwing his brother into the ground.

"We're not gonna get lazy again because we're gonna train every day like normal!" Feeling pleased with how he had defeated Mikey he once again began to head for the lair, but Mikeys voice squeaked out again.

"Have you thought about that at all?...Every day...how many every days do we have?...Is our mutagene unstable and eventually it'll kill us?...Or...because of how it heals us...will we out live everyone we ever meet?"

Raph sadly looked back to Mikey who was no longer looking at him. Raph didn't know what to say other than, "Th-that's a question for Donnie."

"Yea..." Replied Mikey sadly.

Raph shut the dojo door, walked back to Mikey and sat next to him. His arm found his way across his brothers shoulders, "You shouldn't think like that. It's not like you. Besides, what if we're completely normal? What if our healing powers only help a few things? Maybe it WON'T extend our lives. And maybe if we do or didn't have it...we should just keep living every day as happily as we can. Cause if you sit around thinking about stuff like what if...you can't enjoy what is."

Mikey looked to Raph with a very surprised look on his face.

"WHAT!?" Complained Raph.

Mikey laughed as he gently pushed his brother, "Don't talk like that It's not like you! HAHAHA! I love you man."

Raph rolled his eyes and smiled...right before shoving his brother back into the floor as hard as he could again.

Mikey couldn't stop laughing. Raph couldn't handle these kinds of "feelings" situations which always resulted in Raph wrestling his brothers.

Raph was just happy to see Mikey smiling, and Mikey was just happy to see Raph be who he was.


The sun was beginning to set across New York. Normally this was still too early for Leo to come out, but he felt it was necessary this time.

He knew he didn't need to but once Karai poked her head out of the sewer he gently took her hands and pulled her out the rest of the way.

"Thanks." She groaned. Not pleased with the help.

He cleared his throat, but didn't say anything. He leaped up the side of the building and stopped halfway up by hanging on a pipe. He looked down to see Karai staring up at him with an unpleased pout on her face and her arms crossed. Was this a test? He didn't know.

Clearly he wasn't going to get it. "Okay so you'll help me out of the sewer even though I didn't need it, but now you want me to scale a building. Which I can do, but not in flats and a skirt."

It was as if he got an actual exclamation point over his head. How had he not picked up on that. He leaped down and offered his back for her to climb onto.

To which she rolled her eyes.

Leo was very confused, and decided to stay silent instead of furthering her dissatisfaction with him.

"I'm in a skirt. If I get on your back I have to spread my legs. I'm not doing that."

Leo found himself rolling his eyes now. Who would be here to see up her skirt? Even still he lifted her into his arms and began to leap back up the building.

He felt this was unnecessary and felt like she was being a tad demanding, but then...she nuzzled her head into his neck nonchalantly.

He blushed realizing what was going on.

As they made it to the roof he gently set her down.

"...Leo."

He felt like he had been day dreaming until he heard her voice. He realized that his hands were still on her hips even though he had put her down.

"So what is it?" She asked.

He found himself just staring at her, "What's what?"

She glared at him very uninterested in his "game", "What did you want to show me?"

"OH! RIght! Um...this way."

The two walked to the edge of the roof and Leo pointed to a burnt symbol on the side of an apartment building.

"Seen that before?" He asked finally falling into his serious mode.

Karai stared at it for a moment, "I'm not sure. I've never seen it before. It's to...elegant of a symbol to just be some gang kids. I've located Xever so maybe he'll know. He comes back to work under me this week so...I'll ask. Then I'll send you the information. It could be something we work on together maybe? Keeping the city streets clean...ish?" She laughed.

Her laugh actually seemed kind of girly, so Leo couldn't resist looking to her with an eyebrow raised.

She quickly darted her head the other way.

"You know...you should really think about taking my offer to join the Foot Clan. You're a great Leader Leo...I'd give you my old position."

Leo looked away from her and lightly smiled, "I belong with my brothers."

She smiled but anyone could tell she was kind of disappointed.

"Maybe in a couple years. But right now...I'm their leader. We work well as a small team. But the day Master Splinter releases us from his dojo permanently we'll probably come running to you. Haha."

She smiled. Without speaking the two sat down on the edge of the roof next to each other.

"So...how does it feel to be running the whole Technodrome company and the Foot Clan?" He asked. Not wanting there to be any awkward silence between them.

Karai gave a soft chuckle, "The Technodrom corporation practically runs itself. Other than I get the final say in everything. I told April on the was here that when she finished college at was done being all fancy at her university that I would hire as one of my lead scientists. I'd like for the company to expand to more that just weaponry and machines. I believe April would be perfect for that. As for the Foot Clan...I was BORN to do that. I love it. That's something I wanted since I was little. THAT much was never forced on me. Haha."

Leo smiled, " I've never seen you like this...you get so excited talking about something..."

She groaned as she blushed and looked away.

Leo messed around with his fingernails...or lack thereof until he smiled and suddenly remembered something. He had been holding onto it in his belt for some time. He pulled it out and Karai couldn't help but turn to see what he was doing.

Instantly she recognized it. The black lace choker of hers she had given to him a year ago.

He turned to her and started tying it around her neck. Which she did not oppose, and even held her hair up to help him.

They sat in silence a little longer until Leo finally broke it, "So...it's probably a little cold in that dress...do you want me to keep you warm?"

She groaned and stood up. She began walking away to which he quickly followed behind, "Don't push your luck Leo. We can just go back into the sewer."

Leo silently groaned. The situation was not working in his favor, and by this point he was going to give up.

She waited for him by the side of the roof to be taken down.

For a moment he stood staring at her, unmoving. He watched her eyes, and suddenly it became very clear to him.

"Karai...how are you doing...now that Shredder's gone?"

She furrowed her brow, "Shredder's not gone. I'm Shredder now." She turned to see his gaze was far more serious. She sighed and looked to the ground as she nonchalantly hugged herself. "If you mean my Father...siiighhh...to be honest...I didn't think I'd miss him this much...I like not having to worry about my safety but...he was my Father...and he did love me..."

"He tried to kill you, remember?" Said Leo while raising an eyebrow.

"Yea...but that's just how he is. I always knew that his revenge came first, and I should have known he would have acted the way he did. It was like getting between a hungry wolf and its dinner."

Leo felt a little uncomfortable and didn't know what to say, "Maybe I'm missing something...but...I just don't see how you can care for him."

Karai sighed, "I don't expect you to understand."

Leo got angry, "Then do you think it would have been better if he had killed you?" Karai quickly flipped her face to him. The lowering sun shone on her face revealing the waterfalls of tears she had been trying to hide in the shadows. At first Leo backed away, feeling like those had been his fault.

"No! I knew what needed to be done! Even if he had listened to me he would have been going behind my back to try and seek his revenge! I don't want to live in a world that my Dad was trying to create. It was awful! But I didn't follow him blindly. I knew perfectly well what I was doing...that's why I want to make things right. One city at a time I will do my best to clean up the messes my Father has left behind."

Leo smiled, "That's pretty noble of you." Her tears wouldn't stop and she didn't bother hiding them anymore.

"Thank you...for giving me back my necklace...I didn't think I'd get it back after I thought you died."

Leo began to look smug as he stepped closer, "Really? That's what you were worried about when you thought I had died? That you'd never get your necklace back?"

She growled at him as she turned to faced him. She was taken back realizing just how close they were to each other now.

"I'm not sorry about what happened to Shre-...the previous Shredder...I am sorry that you lost your Father though...And...I'm here for you."

Leo didn't expect anything to happen. So he was very surprised when Karai went flying straight into him. She buried her face in his chest and he could no longer see her crying as she held onto him with a death grip. He didn't know what to do or what to say. So he hugged her back gently.

"Just do what you need to do." He said this in his leader tone rather than the caring tone required. Even still it made Karai give a small laugh through her tears.

She lifted her head and kissed his cheek before falling back into her previous position, "Don't talk to me like you're my leader Leonardo."

He just smiled.


As the winters moonlight shone above it illuminated the streets. There was nothing that could be hidden in the shining rays of the moon. Or...so people thought.

Four shadows leaped across an entire street onto a roof on the other side.

The four shadows silently emerged from the darkness of the buildings that towered over the roof they were currently on. Their glowing eyes were the only things that could be made out in the darkness besides their silhouetted figures.

A small light shone on the purple clad ninja as he lifted his phone to see the screen.

"He's in the alley. We go to the next roof to the east and we'll see him."

The phone was put away and the four shadows once again took off per the blue clad ninjas hand signal.


In the dark alley snuck a man. He looked just like a random thug doing less than good deeds. The only thing different about him than other ill-will doers was the symbol on his leather jacket. Though it was drawn, it looked like a burnt in image.

He felt he was in the clear as he cuddled a leather bag close to him. He greedily smiled as he opened the parcel to look inside.

The man looked up as a cold chill ran down his spine. He was not prepared for what he saw. Four giant turtles stood before him, each more menacing than the last.

Leo smiled through the darkness, "I don't think that belongs to you."

The man did what any other sane person would do, and that was scream and take off back the way he came.

Raph quickly pulled out his sais with a flourish and grinned, "I love it when they run."

Yet again Leo released a hand signal from his hand and the four vanished.

Or at least appeared to do so. The man thought he was in the clear until he looked up to see that he was being chased by the four turtles. Once again he began his desperate sprint.

Of course, Mikey ran faster than his brothers and began to barrage as he threw his chain to capture the man, "BOOYAKASHA!"

Being aware that you might not understand the full situation is brave, but unnecessary...

Harboring pain is noble, but foolish

Rage from the loyal will only lead to disaster

Leadership comes in many forms, but not when you're trying to be someone else.

I will always belong with my brothers.


Final Authors notes: That's it! Thanks to all my readers for giving me feedback throughout the entire project! Next month (July 2013) I start the next TMNT Fan Fiction that IS canon with Family Struggles.

Pay attention to my tumblr and deviantart (links on my fan profile) for TMNT...comic (hint hint) related stuff. ;] See all of you next month. Follow me as an author on this website and you will automatically see when the new stories are out!

And I'd still love to get feedback on this last chapter!

Love loves!