The Lost Boy
part 1

He was wild and untamed; faster than anything they had ever seen. His laughter echoed through the streets and alleyways; unbridled and full of life, it resonated with the joy of living.

This was only the second time they had actually gotten a glimpse of him. The three brothers said not a word when they finally saw the flash of orange that proved they were not pursuing a phantom. Together they gave chase, fanning out in an attempt to box him into a corner somewhere.

They might as well have been after a will-o-the-wisp. It came to the eldest then that he was probably playing with them; giving the three mutant turtles a glimpse of a form exactly like their own before darting out of sight again. Only once did he truly stop long enough for them to confirm what they had guessed.

After two hours of endless pursuit that left them grasping nothing, the brothers conceded defeat and turned towards home. This night, like many in the last few weeks, was less of a patrol and more a game of tag. Though loathe to admit the fact, they had stopped being crime fighters almost as soon as this strange entity had made his appearance.

As Donatello pried back the heavy manhole cover preparatory to their dive into the sewers, the three brothers heard the lilting sound of their phantoms laughter reverberate off the surrounding buildings. The almost mocking tone would normally have infuriated the red banded Raphael, but he heard no disrespect in the voice. Mostly he heard a challenge; filled with the promise of fun and adventure, it made him smile.

Dropping into the darkness beneath the city, the brothers trudged home. In each of their minds ran an almost identical string of thought; where had this fourth mutated turtle come from? How could he look so similar to them, even to the wearing of a nearly matching mask?

It had taken almost two weeks for them to finally see him, and all three knew that had occurred because he had been waiting for them. No doubt his curiosity was as great as theirs, but not great enough to bring him to a stop when they called for him to do so.

Master Splinter could not provide them with answers when they had approached him. It was just after that first sighting that they had rushed home to the lair to question their Father about the mystery turtle. He could only guess that between the time of their contact with the mutagen that soon transformed the trio and his rescue of them, a fourth turtle had wandered away and lost himself.

Donatello, the brightest of the three, was intrigued at how a long, lost brother could have come to acquire such extraordinary skills without the advantage of a sensei to teach them to him. From what they had witnessed, this orange banded turtle had developed in a manner that was nearly parallel to their own progression, even down to his ability to fight.

Raphael, the most volatile of the three, sarcastically remarked that the phantom turtle seemed to have advanced further than they, since efforts to catch him had proven futile. The first intimation they had of his existence was a pile of unconscious Purple Dragons lying on a sidewalk in front of the convenience store they'd just attempted to rob.

Leonardo, who was the eldest and the de facto leader of their team, found the timing of their encounter with the new turtle to be compelling. Having lived their entire lives in the big apple how was it possible that they had never seen this turtle before? Had he existed in captivity and recently acquired his freedom, or had he been raised by one of their enemies?

All of their questions would go unanswered until they caught the crafty turtle, and they had certainly tried. Oh how they had tried.

This second sighting was much the same as the first; the turtle had stopped running long enough to let them have a decent look at him. It was obvious that it was his own curiosity that had stayed his feet rather than anything else.

His skin was sea green in color; his muscles lean and defined as compared to their bulkier musculature. The carapace on his back was of a slightly different shape, a bit smaller in circumference, possibly explaining his broader range of motion. In his belt he carried a pair of nunchaku; situated on his sides it gave the illusion of a modern day gunslinger.

Then Raph had taken a step towards the ladder the turtle was perched upon and the tableau had broken. In a flash, the orange banded turtle had fled from them, flowing over the rungs as though lifted by some invisible force.

That sea green skin rippled with supple grace as he vaulted onto the rooftop; gone from sight by the time the three brothers finally set foot there as well.

Other than the laughter, there was no other sign of him.

Walking through the sewers towards their home, Leonardo recalled the moment when his eyes had met and held those belonging to the mystery turtle. The brightest, most brilliant shade of blue, those eyes had captivated the normally stoic leader.

The other turtle had not stared so openly at either of Leonardo's brothers, or so Leonardo had hoped. Surely the twinkle in those eyes and the way his lips had pursed in a teasing challenge had been meant for Leonardo alone.

Whether or not that was the case, Leonardo found that he was enraptured. Whatever spell had been cast upon him; Leonardo was fully within its grasp.

A need that the turtle leader had never felt before settled into his very bones. It was no longer mere curiosity that drove him, though his feelings and thoughts were as yet too nebulous to put into words. All that Leonardo knew was that he could not stop pursuing the orange banded turtle until he had caught him.

What he would do then, Leonardo hadn't given much thought to; the impetus to give chase had become something of a biological imperative. Of one thing Leonardo was fairly certain; once he had caught the beguiling turtle, he would never let him go.