The voted story is beginning and this story I think will be a short one but not that short so do not worry anyways. Its going to start out a bit different form most torture stories and that's why I'm exited to see how this will turn out.

The scariest monsters are the ones that lurk within our souls...

-Edgar Allan Poe

Three miserable weeks, three weeks filled with fat salty tears, wrung up hands, pure black coffee and growing nightmares. Raphael glared at the wall, as if everything that had gone wrong was all the chipped up yellow cement wall's fault. He waited with little patience for his brothers to meet him at the entrance to start their search once again, which would be fruitless once again. The red clad turtle smeared a hand across his weary face, sighing as he did so.

Donatello arrived first, under his doe brown eyes were bags, indicating that for the past 72 hours or so, since he last took a rest, was fueled by his ground black coffee, and five hour energy drinks. The resident genius and medics eyes were alarmingly red and puffy due to all the nights he spent with his gazed fixed at the computer screen. His fingers trembled ever so slightly, still cramping from typing so fast and hard during these three torturous weeks.

Michelangelo came padding right behind, if not for the actions he just did, you would have thought he was dead on his feet by the way he gave you such a shuddering cold look and how his shoulders seemed to hunch. The young exuberant child he used to be was somewhere buried under this haggard looking face. After one week, the hopeful turtle had snapped, raving on and yelling obscenities and profanities, damning anyone who came near him. His last words before he retired to his room was, "I have given up, you may take these false hopes and drown them in my salty tears" It had left everyone quite stunned.

The threesome nodded to each other solemnly and took their leave out the door, closing it softly behind. Master Splinter, who was at the entrance to his room, watched them go. The rats onyx eyes glistened with a never ending sorrow. Through these three weeks it had felt like he had aged a couple of a hundred years by the way the stress pulled and stretched at his tired bones. His sons could tell that he leaned more heavily on his cane and that he faltered in his steps. The ninjutsu masters voice had gone as raspy as fall leaves being crunched in someones hands. His fur bristled and unkempt.

Splinter prayed to the deity's of the world, hoping that this search wouldn't be as futile as the others. That his pupils would somehow find a clue to their lost elder brother, who had disappeared without a trace three weeks ago. Leonardo had informed them he wished to go out for some fresh air, with Splinter's consent of course, which Splinter had let him. Now, while he bitterly looked at the morose lair, Splinter cursed at himself for letting his eldest go off to the surface world.

A petite pale hand on his shoulders shook Splinter from his distasteful thoughts. His onyx eyes traveled from the hand up the arm and to the face of the owner. April O'neil. Her face seemed paler than usual and her cheeks clung on to the bones on her face. Their human friends, April and Casey, had immediately started helping once they found out that Leonardo was missing. April would help Donatello, and go for groceries when the time called for it. Casey wandered the streets both day and night, trying to get some info on where Leonardo was being held captive.

April gave the old rat a shaky smile, linking arms with him and gently guiding him into the kitchen. April grabbed the rusty old kettle and set to work on making some much needed tea while Splinter fetched two chipped mugs and set them down on the table. They waited in silence for the water to boil, both staring at each other with weary eyes. As April opened her mouth to speak, the kettle whistled, interrupting the woman. She silently turned of the stove and poured the tea into both cup before she sat down on one of the chairs facing towards Splinters.

"Thank you Miss O'neil for your hospitality. Your company, as well as Mister Jones, was dire to my sons and I" Splinter murmured, breaking the ice of silence.

April cradled the mug in her hands. The cup was hot in her hands, yet it it gave her no warmth. The warmth which she desired so strongly. She looked up at Splinter,

"Please, you do not need to thank us Master Splinter. You're family and family needs to stick together" To try and lighten the mood she gave him another smile, but it was as empty as the lair itself. The kitchen fell captive to the silence again, the two residents finishing their cups of tea without a sound.

"I am retiring to my room for meditation, do you wish to join me, Miss O'neil" Splinter asked, already on his way to his room.

"No, thank you, I will be in the lab if you need" She responded, bowing her head low in a sign of respect. Splinter nodded and limped to his room, closing the door gently. April let her eyes droop,

How much longer can they hold like this? Since Leo left, they've been a shell of themselves. "We only have each other, if one of us goes down, we all go down" Oh Leonardo, you were so right. Each of you and your brothers have a special part to keep you guys up and around. With one missing piece it does not work. Like a body without a heart. Like a puzzle missing the last piece.

April examined the lair: Michelangelo video games stuffed on a shelf along with movies, collecting dust, the punching bag lying on the floor haphazardly, from the last time Raphael beat the daylights out of it, the missing sound of cheerful laughs from the kitchen as Michelangelo tried to teach his brothers how to cook, Leo's candles in the dojo crammed in a corner, not one lit since that fateful day. April let her exhausted small body collapse on the worn out blue couch, sinking into the cushions and dropping her head in her hands.

April was tempted to cry, scream, sob, anything but the horrible silence crushing her chest, but somehow it felt like her vocal chords had been ripped out with bare hands. The woman's head snapped up as the lair door opened and a chorus of frantic voices followed. Shuffled steps, ragged breathing, breathless whispers. April took a quick look at her watch, 1:20, they had only been gone two hours. They were usually gone at least four hours. April shot off the couch and turned around facing three turtles scramble around, reaching for medical supplies and fresh bed sheets for the cots. The turtles froze for a millisecond before returning to their duties.

April was shocked, in that measly millisecond she saw Leonardo Hamato curled up in Raphael's arms, barely breathing and covered in blood. He was back.

Okay, hope you like it! put a lot of effort into it, please review!