Leo walked beside Donnie, his face calm and collected. He kept glancing over at his brother to make sure they were still on the right track. They'd been walking for an hour already, and it seemed like they were getting close. Well, that's what Donnie said anyways. Donnie had barely spoken the whole trip. The only thing he said was 'It's this way.' or 'We're getting closer now.' He was silent, his eyes stuck on the screen of his phone.
Mikey, on the other hand… Not so much.
"I always knew Raph was more of a troll than a turtle. It's so dark down here!"
Despite the seriousness of the situation, Leo smiled a little at Mikey's attempt to break the silence and lift everyone's mood. But he was telling the truth. The only light there was down here came from their phones and April's flashlight. It was dark and silent and a bit creepy. Like some horror movie or a scary game.
Which Mikey was kind enough to point out.
"There could be anything down here! Chainsaw killers, zombies, monsters… It's like a sewer version of Slender! Next thing you know, we're all wrapped in tentacles and the creepy dude is right there!"
Leo looked over at Donnie as he piped up, a bit annoyed.
"Mikey, there are no monsters down here and I highly doubt that a faceless man in a tux would hang around in a sewer like this."
In the dim light, Leo saw Mikey stick out his tongue. But Donnie didn't see. He had his face so close to the phone that his breath was fogging up the screen. Leo sighed and opened his mouth to tell him to just relax, but Donnie suddenly stopped dead in his tracks, staring at the screen.
"No, no, no!"
Leo turned around and narrowed his eyes.
His brother's stricken face rose up to look at him. Even in the dim light of the phone, he could see the shock clearly etched on Donnie's face.
"The tracker… Raph's tracker! It's gone! It just went dead, it vanished!"
Leo grabbed the phone and stared at the screen. Sure enough, only four dots remained on the map. Leo bit his lip.
"Did his phone die?"
Donnie shook his head, looking slightly offended.
"What use is a tracker if it goes off when the phone dies? No, my trackers are designed to keep functioning whether the phone is turned off, dead or even water damaged. The only way for it to go out is if the tracker itself is destroyed."
So his phone is destroyed… Somehow, that doesn't make me feel any better.
April looked towards the dark tunnel, her eyes curious.
"Well, why don't we keep going? We know around where it was. If we can find it, we'll be able to figure out what happened to it."
With that said, she walked off down the tunnel, her flashlight beam leading the way. Mikey bounced after her, leaving Donnie and Leo to catch up. Leo looked over at Donnie. He was slowly getting a helpless look in his eyes, but as they caught up with the other two, it switched abruptly to a stubborn determination. The blue masked mutant held back a sigh.
His second youngest brother was seriously convinced that after finding Raph, he'd be able to solve it. Leo knew that from the start, Donnie thought he could learn anything. Solve any problem; make anything his mind could invent. Raph may have a temper and be stubborn with orders, but when it came to actual stubbornness, Donnie took the ribbon for that one. No other being on the planet could've come close to building the things Donnie's built in the time span that he did.
Metalhead was built in a few hours. The patrol buggies were a bit longer, but still. Whenever Donnie built, you knew it wouldn't take him long. No other mechanic on Earth could've had the patience or the stubbornness to just keep going.
This was a new challenge for him. Donnie was always the one that fixed stuff. Raph's sai, their wounds, their phones… everything. He fixed. It's what he did. But Leo feared silently that this might not be something that Donnie could fix alone.
But of course, he wouldn't tell him that.
Leo was jerked out of his thoughts by Mikey's yell. Immediately he quickened his pace and skidded to a stop next to his youngest brother, who knelt by the wall, bathed in April's flashlight. Mikey looked up at Donnie, who knelt down next to him. Donnie's face went blank, and then creased with confusion and frustration.
He turned around and looked up at Leo. It took one glance to know the phone was destroyed. But that wasn't what Donnie was frustrated about. Leo had already seen the mirror stab marks in the screen that had destroyed it. He narrowed his eyes.
"He destroyed the tracker himself."
Donnie nodded, pulling his bag from his shoulder and placing the remains inside.
"Raph must've seen us going after him. Either he doesn't want to be found, or the thing inside him doesn't-…"
Donnie's eyes went wide. Leo whipped around to see a naked tail like a worm vanish into the dark. Mikey took a step back towards April, and the girl grimaced in disgust. Donnie took a breath, and opened his bag, looking at the phone, and back to the place where the rat vanished.
His face blanched.
"I know." Leo replied instantly.
This wasn't good. If he was the one that took over Raph… and then attacked Donnie… and broke the phone… This just got a heck of a lot more complicated.
Mikey bit his lip.
"We talking about who I think we're talking about?"
All four of them looked at each other. The older three nodded, and all of them replied at once, with a sigh hidden underneath each despairing voice.
"The Rat King."
April raised an eyebrow and looked over at Mikey, who shrugged, trying to look innocent.
"Hey, all the villains got a name. Not my fault it's a stupid one, I didn't name him!"
Leo shook his head, raising a hand to his face. Sometimes, Raph was right in calling them all dorks.
Suddenly Donnie stiffened.
"You guys hear that?"
All four of them went deathly quiet. Nothing but the water dripping reached their ears for a few moments, until a sharp yelp made them all whip around. Leo felt his heart beating fast in his chest, and a single word escaped his lips.
He heard Donnie shove the phone back into his bag and then Leo bolted, throwing a yell over his shoulder.
He groaned and brought his hand up to his head. Oh man, that hurt. Shell.
That didn't take as long as I thought it would. Welcome back to the land of the waking, Raphael.
The turtle jumped and snapped his eyes open, sitting up instantly. He growled, looking around into the darkness, but finding no light.
"Who's there? Who are you?"
What-you don't remember…?
He narrowed his eyes, clenching his fists and getting to his knees. Silence for a moment.
No. None of the memories are there! Argh, you stupid turtles!
"Tell me who you are!"
This is pitiful. But… but perhaps… yes, this will work nicely.
This voice, in his head… It was making him angry. No answers came from him, so he climbed to his feet and reached out a hand into the darkness. A cold concrete wall met his touch and he looked up, reaching as high as he could, but the concrete didn't cut off.
Wait a second…
How did I get down here?
"Well that was dumb." He found himself replying, although not really meaning to. Voices in your head weren't exactly the greatest sign of sanity.
It took a moment for the thought to settle, and then his face fell, his hand falling from the wall in shock. He didn't know who he was. There was no 'me' here. He didn't know his name, his home, anything. He couldn't remember anything.
No, that wasn't right. The voice had called him something when he woke up…
"Hey! Creepy bodiless voice dude. What'd you call me?"
Oh, this is annoying. But useful… Raphael. Your name is Raphael.
Your brothers called you Raph.
"So you know stuff about me." Raph stated, sitting back down onto the concrete. Might as well get some answers if he was stuck down here.
"Alright then. What'd you mean by brothers?"
Heh. They are your brothers no longer. They attacked you, turned on you, and drove you down here. They betrayed you. You fell and hit your head. But they don't care. They're searching, though. I can feel them. Looking for you… to finish what they started.
"Doesn't sound like brothers to me." Raph snarled.
No, they aren't. They are useless. Evil. Vermin that don't care.
A strange feeling welled up in Raph's chest. Brothers didn't betray each other like that. He recognized the feeling at once. Hatred. He was angry. Furious.
"Who are you?"
My name is the Rat King. Me and a friend of mine have been trying to take care of you since your brothers turned bad, but you got… interrupted on the way here. The way back up is quite simple, if you'll allow it. You don't exactly have a choice, though, on that matter.
Rat King? Wow. Stupid name.
Raph suddenly looked up. Light was shining from the floor above. He could see the corner. It was only about ten feet or so. And the walls here were relatively close. Wouldn't be that hard to jump up. But then he heard voices. Urgent voices, angry voices.
They are here.
"Alright. So what do I do?"
Feel beside you. You have weapons, and you know how to use them.
His hand scraped over the floor and hit something metal. He picked it up and felt it, grabbing the handle instinctively. Sais. Huh. That's weird; he knew what his weapons were but not his name.
Jump up and be ready. You must finish them before they finish you. I am your teacher now. Understood?
Good. Now… finish them.
Leo panted, stopping on the middle of the tunnel. This is where the cry had come from. But he wasn't here.
The others ran up behind him, the light bobbing with their steps. Leo looked back, his face uncharacteristically angry.
"I heard him! I know I did, it was him!"
Donnie raised his hands.
"I heard him too, Leo, calm down. We just have to find him so we can end this."
See? They don't care. And neither should you.
"I don't." Raph snarled, his fists clenching around his sai.
A strange feeling took over Raph's mind, blinding him and sending a shock of fear through his chest. He wasn't in control anymore, not of his actions, or of his thoughts.
I'll take care of this.
Mikey groaned, leaning against the wall.
"Never liked playing hide and go seek with Raph. He always cheated."
April shot Mikey a look, and he closed his mouth. Donnie was pacing, hands on his head, concentrating, trying to figure stuff out. But he didn't say a word, and neither did Leo.
In fact, the first sound was Mikey's yell.
A blur of green and red shot from the ledge below and tackled Mikey, sending him to the ground in a whirl of metal. Mikey screamed in shock and then pain as Raph whirled his sai and sliced it across his shoulder, leaving a bloody gash.
Leo reacted immediately. Brother or not, he had to protect his siblings. He unsheathed his katana and went straight for Raph, but his brother leaped up first and hit him head on, punching him in the chin and kicking him away. Leo landed on his shell and gasped, rolling out of the way of another blow.
Donnie swung his staff with incredible speed and hit Raph head on. The enraged mutant fell to the floor, and then he was back on his feet and glaring. Donnie took a step back, and the whole scene froze for a second.
Leo stared, lying on the floor on his shell. Mikey held his hand to his shoulder, frozen in shock at the sight and speed of the sudden attack. April was off to the side, immersing the whole scene in light, and Donnie stood, staff ready, face set but surprised. And then there was Raph. He was in a total outrage, fists clenched, teeth bared, his eyes filled with hate and anger and malice. He didn't seem like the brother he had been at all.
And then Donnie slammed the end of his staff down beside him like Splinter did when he wanted attention. Raph snapped his gaze towards him, and Leo immediately noticed the look in Raph's eyes. Memories flashed back, to their fight with Splinter, the fight that was the hardest thing they'd ever done. The same look... And Donnie spoke, angrily, forcefully, and pleading.
"Raph, enough. This isn't you; this is what Falco wants you to be. You're my big brother! Snap out of it."
Leo didn't know what was scarier. The fact that Falco had taken over his brother and almost killed Donnie, or Raph's reply.
"No! You're lying to me! You betrayed me! You drove me down here! You're no brother to me, and I am not a brother to you."
And then he was gone, vanished into the dark. Leo stared at the empty space for a second, then got up and sheathed this katanas. He saw Mikey getting up, and Donnie sheathing his staff. Leo looked to Donnie, and saw his confusion and hurt clearly reflected on his face.
"What's he talking about? We didn't…"
"It's not him." Donnie whispered. "It's not. It's Falco. Somehow he's convinced Raph that we're the bad guys."
"How?" Mikey asked. "Raph knows we didn't-"
"Did you see the bruise?" Donnie snapped. "He hit his head. If it was hard enough, Raph could've temporarily lost his memory. That would be the perfect chance for Falco to implant fake claims in his head. Raph seriously thought we were the bad guys here."
"I can tell." Leo muttered, rubbing his chin. "So what do we do?" It felt weird, asking that. Usually he was the one being asked.
Donnie glared into the darkness, angry, furious, and hurt.
"You go to the source and cut it and nothing can function anymore. So that's what we're gonna do.
"We're gonna find Falco. We're gonna beat him. And we're gonna get Raph back."
END OF PART ONE
Okay, so Part Two will be up soon. I don't know when, but hopefully soon.