No longer teenagers, the brothers lives had become rather complicated in the last few years. Splinters health had slowly deteriorated until finally their father passed away. The Foot was MIA for now. And the brothers, well, they all had their own way of dealing with the stress. Leo was down south, training in the swamps, Donnie locked himself away in his lab doing who knew what for weeks on end, between his IT jobs over the phone. Mikey lived with Casey and April for a while until April had her baby. Now Mikey and Shadow spent all their time on the sofa in the living room playing games. Mikey didn't leave much anymore. Raph was the only one that went out into the city it seemed. Tired of being locked away in the abandoned subway station they called home, Raphael would leave at all hours of the night and train at home during the day.
Despite the foot not being around Raph would keep a constant vigil on the city. He always wanted to be prepared, besides, he was able to catch a few small thugs and robbers and stop them. It made him feel at least a little useful.
The terrapin scaled down the side of a building's fire escape, stopping on the tenth floor and gently knocking on the window. It took a moment before a familiar face pulled the curtain back. Pale face and long dark hair hung next to his bright eyes. A grin lit up Casey's face as he opened the window.
"Raph! What… What are you doing here?" Casey asked as the other nimbly climbed into his friend's living room.
He shrugged. "I was passing by, thought I'd stop in, say hi, see how things are going since you don't really stop in anymore."
Casey sighed. "I know man. I'm sorry but with April and C.J…."
"How is the little guy?" Raph interrupted.
"Asleep. It's midnight dude, he's three. He doesn't stay up this late." Casey frowned as he walked over to his refrigerator and grabbed a beer. He offered one to Raph but the red branded one shook his head.
"Am I ever going to get to meet your son?" Raph snorted. "April hasn't shown her face since Leo left, she was barely showing then. I only get to see her if I watch the morning news… I miss you guys."
Casey stopped, nearly choking on his drink. "You what?" he sputtered wiping a drop from his chin.
Raphael frowned. "Whatever. If you're too busy for us anymore, then good riddance. We don't need you." He went back to the window, pulling his trench coat back on as he climbed back out onto the fire escape.
"Ah come on man! I didn't mean it like that!" Casey called as he ran after him, but it was too late, he was gone. "Raph! RAPH!" He yelled out the open window before slamming it shut and cursing as he leaned against the wall.
Raphael made his way home. Slamming the door, he swore and fell into the couch. Folding his muscled arms across his scarred chest, he glanced over at his younger brother who was sitting on the other end. A headset was covering his ears, a half eaten pizza took the seat between them, and an assortment of controllers and games were scattered between the cords on the floors.
"Get back here you little twerp!" Mikey shouted as he smashed buttons on his controller and bounced around in the seat. His weapons were discarded to the floor, not touched in some time. Shadow was sitting on the floor, the young girl in cloths she probably hadn't changed in a few days, hair a mess, and otherwise a spitting image or Mikey, headset and controller and all. Raphael's eyes jerked up when he heard another door open and he was surprised to see Donatello come out of the confines of his room. A headset was on his head as well.
"I'm sorry that you lost your files sir, give me one moment and I'll see if I can retrieve the lost data." He didn't make eye contact as he walked over, grabbed a few slices of pizza and then retreated back into his room. It'd be another few days before he'd come out. Pizza was always a good lure to see them all in the same room.
The four brothers hadn't spoken much since Splinter died. They all blamed each other for different things and bickered and fought.
Rolling his eyes Raph snagged a slice of pizza before getting to his feet and wondering down to their training room. He pulled his sai from his belt and flicked them into the ground. The weapons wobbled a bit but stood still in the wooden slats, there were plenty of other little holes around them. It wasn't the first time he had done that. In the room there were weights, a bench, a heavy bag, anything one could want to train. It was where Raph spent most of his time.
He spent hours in there, beating away at himself and the equipment in there until his knuckles were bleeding. Muscles were screaming with every movement, he could barely stand as he kicked the heavy bag again. Panting, his punches slowed and slowed until he had to grab hold of the bag to support himself.
"You try too hard."
The voice sent an instant burst of energy through him and he whirled around and grabbed the female by the neck. Fist ready to strike, he relaxed and let her go, groaning. "What do you want Mona?" A Long time ago they had been something close to friends, but when Raph turned down her advances she grew bitter towards him and found herself someone else. Leo.
"Have you spoken to your brother lately?"
Raphael found a bottle of water and took a drink. "You'll have to be more specific. I have three of them."
"Damn it Raph, Leo. Have you spoken to Leo?" The woman that had been turned into a mutated lizard out her hands on her hips, her tail twitching behind her.
"No I haven't spoken to that one. Or any of the others actually." He slid to a seat against the wall, still trying to catch his breath. He waved a hand at her trying to get her to leave him alone.
The woman stomped her two toed foot. "Raphael!" She shouted. "Leo hasn't called me in three weeks!" Her anger dissipated, the worry starting to show. "He called me every few days. Then nothing. I'm really worried. I think something happened to him."
"Your point?" Raph looked up at her, sideways, before looking away again.
"He's your brother! Go…. Go do something! Make sure he's okay!"
Raph pushed himself to his feet and crossed the room to her. Glaring down at her a moment he moved and plucked his weapons from the floor. "Do it yourself. He's your fiancé."
"I can't!" She ran her hands though her hair. "I've almost completed my work. I can't leave it now… I've almost found a cure for us."
Raphael froze. "You mean a cure for you." He snapped. "You go back to being human. We go back to what? Being someone's pet?" He punched the wall. "I don't think so. Keep your damn cure, I like being a freak." He turned and stormed out, a frown on his face.
Mona made a move to follow him but stopped herself. "Will you go look for Leo?" She called down the call.
"Maybe." He said just before he slammed his bedroom door shut. The terrapin set his weapons on the stand beside his hammock. After wrenching off his mask he slapped it down on the night stand and looked into the mirror. Starring back at him was one hazelnut colored eye and the black eye patch that concealed the ugly hole where his other eye used to be. A scar stretched up across his face and eye, like someone had taken a knife from his cheek to his forehead. An ugly memory of a long ago fight with the foot. He hung his head and flicked the light off before turning and climbing into his hammock.
With a foot dangling over the edge he stared up at the ceiling, gently rocking himself as he used a toe to push off the wall. He closed his eye and took a few deep breaths rubbing his rough hands over his face. "Damn it Leo…" He mumbled. "What the hell are you doing out there?" He closed his eyes and tried to get some sleep. But rest didn't come easy to the turtle of forest green. He tossed and turned in his bed until finally he just sat up, exhausted, but unable to lay there any longer. Swearing he rolled off his hanging bed and grabbed his bandana, tying it around his face. He shoved his Sai in his belt and stormed out into the living room.
It was early, the digital clock on the wall flashed four am but the big TV in the living room was still on, some game playing on the screen. Walking up behind the couch, Raphael stared down at Michelangelo's sleeping form. On the floor sat Shadow, playing the game. "You should be in bed Babyface." Raph smirked down at the girl.
It was hard to think that the girl was almost 10. When Mikey moved out of her parent's house she came with him, pretty much living here with him. They were attached at the hip. Raph couldn't recall the girl ever going to an actual school or hanging out with humans. Just them.
"But I'm almost done with this level!" She protested.
"Bed. Now." He said more sternly.
The girl frowned and clicked off the TV. Dragging her feet back to Mikey's room, Raph waited until he heard the door shut before he reached down and shook his younger brother awake.
Mikey flailed out, his hands smacking at the air as he sat up. "Foot ninjas!" He mumbled as he swatted at Raphael, still half dreaming.
"Wake up idiot." Raph smacked him in the head.
He rubbed his skull and sat up straight looking up at his brother. "What do you want? I just got to sleep." He frowned. The youngest turtle hadn't been his normal happy self since Splinter died. It made things a lot less chipper at home.
"I'm going to find Leo. He might be in trouble."
"What?" Mikey rubbed at his eyes, a little more awake now with that comment.
Raph rolled his eyes. "I'm leaving. I'm going to find Leo." With that he turned and left. He found his motorcycle in the tunnel near the entrance of their home, his custom made helmet and gear draped across it. After pulling on his gear Raph mounted the bike and the machine purred to life before he spun the back tire and sped down the tunnel. Water sprayed up behind him as the tires slid over the trails dripping down from the storm drains.
"I better not be coming all this way for nothing Leo… Or else I'm going to kick your ass." Raph muttered under his breath as the bike skidded out onto the gravel of an alley way and then he turned onto a street in the dark morning and sped towards the edge of the city.