Some Other World

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Some Other World

Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

30 Oct 2014, 06:03 #1

This came out of a plot bunny that hit me while working on "Last Stand". It takes everything you THOUGHT you knew about TMNT, and turns it on its head. Okay, so I went the evil Kirk mirror-verse route with it. Sue me. Anyway, enjoy!

Some Other World

Oruku Saki brought his wakizashi up to block a slice from the blade in his opponent’s left hand, and blocked the other katana with the claws of his gauntlet. The mutant named Leonardo growled menacingly, and slashed again with both blades. Saki spun aside, kicking out at the turtle’s right arm. He followed with a thrust from his wakizashi, hoping to catch the monster off guard. Leonardo leaned backward to avoid the blade, his katanas deftly flicking down to force his enemy’s weapon toward the ground.

“You’ll have to do better than that, Shredder,” taunted the mutant clan’s leader in an infuriatingly calm voice. Saki grimaced under the face plate of his helmet, annoyed by the arrogance of the adolescent reptile. “You’ve failed- again. You’re never going to stop us. We WILL win.”

“Don’t be so certain, mutant!” Saki roared in response, ducking low into a leg-sweep that took the turtle’s feet from under him.

Leonardo fell back onto his shell, one sword falling from his grip. Saki pounced, but the mutant was too quick, and rolled away before he could deliver the final blow. He came to his feet in a flash, snatching his blade from the floor. He looked around, suddenly realizing that his fellow turtles were losing the battle. The one named Michelangelo was pinned beneath Rocksteady, the former gang-banger turned mutant rhino; for once the jokester was unable to make any of his grating quips. Donatello was still busy fending off the attacks of the mentally-unbalanced fly-mutant Baxter Stockman, which meant he WASN’T downloading the data they had come for. And Raphael was struggling against the combined strength of the half-warthog Bebop- Rocksteady’s partner- and the half-witted Slash, a larger and stronger turtle than the four terrapin ninjas.

“Time to regroup, boys! Looks like the mission is a wash.” The leader called to his companions, falling back toward the elevator shaft they had used to reach the 35th floor office of a pharmaceutical company’s head research scientist. The bo-wielding turtle slipped one hand into a pouch on his belt, and drew out a small round object. He tossed it down, and thick smoke billowed up, blinding and choking both Baxter and Rocksteady, who was suddenly hit by a sucker punch from the pinned orange-banded ninja. He slid across the floor between Rocksteady’s feet, punching up again- this time at the coughing rhino’s groin, making him roar in pain- before he flipped back up to his feet and rushed to join his “brothers” at the shaft.

“How’s THAT for a parting shot?” The snarky mutant joked, sticking out his tongue and holding one hand up with his thumb against his snout and fingers wiggling in a rude gesture as he hopped down into the open shaft after Donatello. His blue-clad companion waited until all three had gone, before he turned to regard Saki for a moment, his eyes cold and narrow.

“This isn’t finished, Shredder. You may have won this round, but the war is FAR from over.” Leonardo said flatly, that irksome tone in his voice again. No matter how many times they failed to destroy their hated foe, he never seemed to lose his calm, cool demeanor. Saki would have been impressed by the young mutant’s determination and patience, if he hadn’t been the subject of the monster’s hatred.

“No, it is NOT. But I will rid the world of you abominations, make no mistake,” Saki replied, forcing himself not to give in to his own rage. He watched as the leader slid his blades back into their sheaths, before leaping down after his clan-mates. He heard the tell-tale snort and scratch of claws on the floor that indicated Slash was about to charge after, and held up one hand to forestall the lumbering brute. Slash was dim-witted, but had his uses. But now was not the time. “Let them go. We will have another chance.” He shook his head and sighed softly. One day- and very soon, no doubt- he WOULD finally kill them, AND their cunning master. Even so, he deeply regretted the necessity.

But that would have to wait. For now, at least he and his loyal recruits had kept the cold-blooded teens from getting what they had come for. He didn’t know exactly what they had been searching for, but he knew that it must be something of great value. If he hadn’t had his strongest soldiers with him tonight, they would have gotten their hands on formulae for any number of drugs, poisons, or who-only-knew what. And knowing that sneaky rodent they called a sensei, there was no telling what use they might put them to. Saki beckoned his warriors to follow him as he took a second elevator down to their waiting transport module in the basement. No doubt the turtles were already on their way to their secret sewer lair to report their failure to the rat. He could not bring himself to call him by his true name. The mutant who was once the man Hamato Yoshi now called himself Splinter. His only real consolation was that Splinter would NOT be pleased, and would surely punish them severely. It was no less than they deserved.

They slipped through the hidden door to their underground lair silently, hoping their sensei would not sense their return. Leonardo kept his head down, knowing that he would be the one most severely punished once their failure was known. And that was as it should be- he was the most disciplined, the most responsible; his brothers grudgingly acknowledged him as their leader. Scars of past punishments marked his arms, legs, and even his head; he had more scars from his father’s ire than he did from all the battles he’d ever fought. For that matter, so did his brothers. He tried to protect them as much as he could, but Splinter was prone to bouts of rage, often taking his anger out on his four “sons”.

Sometimes Leonardo wondered what their life would have been like if someone else had found and raised them. Not that he minded their way of life. Far from it- he enjoyed slinking like living shadows through the city, hunting their prey. The thrill of the hunt and the exhilaration of the kill were what he lived for. That moment when the quarry realized that death had arrived, or that moment when a successful theft was carried out, those were the things that excited him most.

His brothers enjoyed it too- each in his own way, and each for his own reasons. Donatello loved nothing better than to hack some security system or bank account, playing havoc with people’s personal or financial lives. Raphael liked pummeling his targets into the ground, giving free reign to his bloodlust by tearing them to pieces. Michelangelo was…. Leonardo frowned, recalling his “youngest” sibling’s disturbing habit of “playing” with his prey. He liked games, particularly when his opponent had no chance of winning. He would hunt them down like animals, often giving them a head start just to instill false hope, and then when the game was over, he liked to torment them mercilessly before the end.

It was even worse when the target was a woman. Though never one to deny his brothers their little pleasures, Leonardo sometimes felt sickened by the things his brothers did to them. They never lasted long. Most ended up as bloody, broken pieces of meat by the time the mutants were finished with them.

“BOYS!” The rat’s harsh voice echoed through the lair, rolling like thunder from one end to the other. All four teens cringed at the sound; their sensei’s wrath was the only thing they truly feared, and with good reason. In his former life, Hamato Yoshi had been feared and respected as the long-time leader of the Ashi no Kuran, the ninja organization better known as the Foot Clan. The clan had long been spoken of only in whispers, for they were deadly assassins, spies, thieves, and saboteurs.

“BU-STED,” Mikey muttered softly; his brothers all turned to glare at him with menacing expressions. Raph even went as far as to punch his shoulder and curl his lips in an angry glower. They all knew what their sensei’s yell meant. They couldn’t hide their shame from him for long, and when he discovered that they had failed their mission, it would not go well for them. The last time, he had forced them to remain awake for four days straight while practicing their kattas, without food. To add to the humiliation, they had only been allowed to relieve themselves in a bucket, and had been given very little water. By the end of their punishment, they had all been so hungry and exhausted that they had promptly scarfed down four entire extra large pizzas, and had then passed out for more than twenty-four hours. Splinter’s punishments were always harsh.

Four heads bowed low as Splinter entered the room, his beady black eyes glittering coldly in the light. Though they thought of him as their father and mentor, they still felt fear every time they were in his presence. They feared almost nothing- except his anger, for it was often violent and harsh. All four stared at the floor in front of them, unwilling to be the first to admit their defeat. Waiting for what they knew would come.

“I see you have returned safely. That is good. Leonardo, report! Do you have the data we were hired to steal?” The once-human rat asked, stroking the long fur on his chin as he watched his four “sons” closely. Though he had raised them as his own, they were little more than a means to an end. He had trained them, molded them into the perfect assassins and thieves, capable of getting into or out of almost any stronghold to reach their target. And the best part was that due to their very strangeness, they had little choice but to obey. The isolation and secrecy of their existence made honing them into skilled fighters and infiltrators easy. Even their natural animal instincts worked in his favor. They were cold-blooded killers, in every sense.

The blue-banded teen hesitated; he could feel his brothers crowding close behind him. Raphael was closest, standing just behind his left shoulder. The other two tried to hide behind the living wall the two eldest formed, for all the good it would do them. He knew better than to keep their sensei waiting, but he feared what Splinter would do to them once he knew of their latest failure.

“H-hai, Sensei. We- we were unable to extract the files from the Ima-Gen Inc. computers. We met with strong resistance, and were forced to retreat. We were unprepared for such opposition- the fault is mine. F-forgive us, Master.” Leonardo bowed low, keeping his eyes on the floor, shame churning in his gut. He knew the blow was coming even before it landed, yet to try to avoid it would bring even worse punishment. The sound of the old rat-man’s hand striking his snout was like a gun-shot in the silence of the room. Leonardo was knocked sideways by the force of the slap, but he didn’t dare get up yet. That would only set him off more.

“Unacceptable! You were trained to deal with ANY situation, no matter how difficult! There can be NO excuse for this defeat! Idiots!” Splinter roared at them- and any hope they might have had of getting off lightly vanished. Things were about to turn ugly.

Leo felt a hand on his arm, helping him up. He waved it off, not wanting to appear weak in front of their father. Father. That word burned in his mouth like acid, bitter and sharp. He hated that word. If he had the courage for it, he might be tempted to kill their cruel mentor while he slept, just as he had taught them to do to so many others. But he couldn’t. The instinct to obey was ingrained so deep in his mind that even entertaining such thoughts made him feel like a traitor and a disgrace. That had been the first lesson, learned even before they could speak. They owed their survival to him, and their loyalty. He was the reason they were able to remain hidden from the world, and the reason they were the best at what they did. And what they did was destroy lives.

Long ago, the Foot Clan had been in the employ of some of the most powerful noble families in Japan. As time went by and the world changed, the clan had remained much the same, though some of their methods had evolved. Hamato Yoshi had seen the benefit of joining forces with underworld factions such as the Yakuza- in secret, of course- to advance the clan’s power and influence. Even after the unfortunate accident that had left him horribly transformed and saddled with four infant humanoid reptiles, he had kept his ties with his former “business associates”. But he had lost his hold on the Foot when his rival and student, Oruku Saki, had challenged him and won. Under Saki, the Foot had severed its connections to the criminal element, and had instead turned to doing undercover work for law enforcement, as well as espionage and extraction for the government.

In other words, Saki had turned them into “do-gooders” and protectors of the people. In the end, the entire clan had chosen to follow Saki over their former Master, and now his only students were the four pathetic freaks who had just brought news of yet another failure. Yoshi had been humiliated by his defeat at the hands of his own student, and now his new students had proven incapable of completing a simple mission. It was disgraceful.

“B-but i-it wasn’t our fault, Sensei!” Mikey blurted out, causing all eyes to suddenly focus on him. “That goody-two-shoes Shredder was waiting for us when we got there! A-and he had his brute-squad with him! We couldn’t even get close to the computers to get the files!” He heard Donatello groan and face-palm beside him, and Raph flashed him a dirty look that promised a severe beating later. Leonardo just sighed and shook his head, realizing that his baby brother had just made things ten times worse.

“That is NO excuse!” Splinter snarled, baring his teeth at them. “I took you in, raised you as my own; I trained you to FIGHT, to know how to defeat your enemies, and THIS is how you repay me?! With FAILURE?! You four are fortunate that I did not leave you to die as infant freaks as some would have done, or sell you to some circus or research laboratory. Yet you continually disappoint me!”

Leonardo braced for the second slap; he knew he deserved it for failing their mission. He heard grunts of pain from his brothers, saw the two younger ones stumble and fall to their knees, and knew they had been struck as well. Raph stubbornly remained standing, refusing to let their “father” see any weakness. He was always trying to prove his strength. He let out a low growl, which Leo stifled with an elbow to his calf.

Mikey wasn’t so lucky. His outburst had had earned him the hardest hit, and when he was on the floor, Splinter kicked the youngest in his snout, causing him to yelp. That seemed to set the old rat-man off even more. He flew into a rage, punching and kicking all of them by turns until they cowered on the floor with their arms and legs pulled tight under their bodies, their heads tucked into their shells in a feeble attempt to protect themselves.

Eventually, Splinter’s rage burned itself out, and he ceased beating them- though mainly because he had worn himself out, and he was no longer a young, fit individual. He bent over, panting from his efforts, and then straightened slowly, his dignity reasserting itself. “I will give you one more chance. You will return to Ima-Gen tomorrow night, and finish the mission. If you fail me again, I will do as I should have done all those years ago, and tear you all to pieces! This is your LAST chance!” He snarled, his tail lashing wildly, before he turned and stalked out of the room to return to his private sanctum. The rice-paper screen slammed closed behind him, making it clear that they were on their own. They had never been allowed inside his room, for any reason. It was forbidden territory.

“That’s it,” Raph muttered angrily after they were certain he had gone. “We’re toast if we screw up again. I say we get da’ fuck outta’ here and don’t look back. I’m sick of bein’ smacked around all da’ time.”

“And where are we going to go?” Leo finally said, getting up. “There’s nowhere else. We don’t have a choice. You heard what he said. If we fail again, we’re as good as dead.”

“There’s always April’s place,” Raph suggested. Michelangelo was still on the floor, whimpering in pain. He’d gotten it the worst, as usual. Perhaps it was his apparent laziness and lack of intelligence compared to his brothers that the rat hated, or the fact that he had always been undisciplined and wild. Donatello was hurt badly, too, but he had remained stoically silent, accepting his punishment almost submissively. Though he wasn’t as strong as his brothers, he was smart enough not to draw their father’s attention to himself. That trait had saved him from the most brutal of Splinter’s punishments on several occasions.

“No, Raph, that’s the FIRST place he’d look. We can’t go there. We suck it up, and finish what we started. That’s all there is to it.” Don said at last. As always, he was the voice of logic and practicality. Leo nodded agreement. At times, he hated what they did; not so much the actual deeds, but the purpose. It felt hollow, somehow. Dishonorable. They were forever barred from being part of the world above, so why should they concern themselves with the affairs of humans at all? They received no rewards for their hard work and risk, except the occasional gifts from their “father” for a job well done. But lately, those had been far too few. And he sometimes felt that there was no sport or honor in what they did. No point to it. Yet what choice did they have? It was the only life they knew. The only future they could expect.

At that moment, they heard the distinctive sound of someone turning the wheel of the hatch into their home. Michelangelo shot to his feet in an instant, and they whirled toward the sound as one, weapons drawn. Their alarm was short-lived, as a familiar face peeked around the edge of the door. “Is it safe to come in? Where is Splinter?” The tall, attractive red-head asked as she entered. They relaxed, putting their weapons away as they realized it was only their only human associate and ally, April O’Neal.

“Oh, hi, April. Yeah, it’s safe- for now. He’s back in his room” Donatello said, sounding relieved.

April was the one human they knew they could trust- for a simple reason. Splinter had seen to that, using mind-bending herbs and hypnotism to mentally influence her, placing powerful suggestions into her mind to remain loyal to them, and to do anything they asked of her. In other words, she was now a willing slave to their needs, brainwashed to believe the mutants were her closest friends, and to keep their existence a secret forever, even if it meant sacrificing her own life. The four teenaged males turned to each other with wicked grins, for her visits always meant they could enjoy a rare indulgence in spending “quality time” with a female. It was one of the few privileges their father allowed.

Michelangelo looked at her with an almost creepy come-hither expression, and hobbled over to her, draping one arm casually around her waist, in spite of the fact that she was fifteen years older, and seemed to cringe slightly at his touch. April didn’t know why, but something about her young friends always made her vaguely uncomfortable. Maybe it was the way she simply couldn’t say no to anything they wanted, no matter how bizarre or disturbing. In any case, the youngest was the one who always seemed to have the most unsettling requests, and he rarely hesitated to try to monopolize her attention. She glanced around anxiously; of all the mutants, the one she eared most was Splinter.

“Hello, Sweet-cheeks!” Mikey cooed, reaching down to tweak her rear. She stiffened, but said nothing. She knew that if she protested, he would make her pay for it later by doing something even worse. And from the way he was buzzing around her already, she had a sinking feeling he already had one of his “games” planned. As much as she cared about the boys- heaven only knew why- she hated their idea of “fun”. More often than not, it proved humiliating and painful. Yet she couldn’t keep from coming back, no matter how creepy or unhealthy their hobbies were.

He led her back toward his room with an excited babble about having acquired a few new toys, and how anxious he was to show them to her. Leonardo raised a brow-ridge at his sibling’s display of blatant sexual appetite; he knew what his brother meant, and shuddered at the thought of what he had in mind. He sighed and shook his head in disgust, then he turned away to enter the dojo to meditate. It was his only real escape these days- escape from the pain, the emptiness, and the gnawing feeling that they had been meant for better things than this….
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

06 Nov 2014, 02:22 #2

Here's the start of the next chapter, and these guys are already looking pretty messed up. One's into SMBD, one's got a festering hatred for their father, and the others? These boys are going to put the FUN into dysfunctional for sure....

Chapter 2: Sins of the Father

Leo finished his meditation and spent the next two hours replaying his battle with Saki, trying to discover where he had gone wrong. When he came out, he found Raph watching a football game. Don was in his workshop- the light was on and the door was open; the sound of a welding torch could be heard.

“Where’s Mikey?” Leo asked, tapping Raph on the shell. The red-clad mutant gave him a noncommittal shrug, and went back to his game. Leo grunted his annoyance, and then passed through the kitchen to poke his head into Don’s workshop. He repeated his question loud enough to be heard over the arc welder.

“Still in his room, I think,” his brother said, without even looking away from the piece of metal frame he was welding.

Leo grumbled under his breath about his siblings not caring where their teammate was, as he headed for the bedroom area, dreading what he might find. He approached Michelangelo’s room, a small section of side tunnel bricked off from a larger line, listening for any sounds from within. Each of them had a similar room, though Leo’s was closest to their father’s sanctuary. This was both an honor, and a restraint; Leonardo had been given the space next to Splinter so that their parent and mentor could keep tight control over the boy. Raphael’s room was next, though he often rebelled at the strict and harsh rules the rat imposed. The other two had rooms that were both smaller, and further from their father’s presence- and they liked it that way. As far as the two younger brothers were concerned, the less they were around their parent, the better.

He knocked on the makeshift door to the youngest turtle’s room, and heard an answering growl from within, amid the sounds of thumping and whimpering. “Go away, I’m busy!” came the reply, without even a pause in the noises from inside the den of the most energetic and restless of the four.

Leo sniffed, and even with the door closed, he could smell the strong odor of arousal, and the metallic tang of blood. He grimaced, hoping his brother hadn’t done something truly sadistic to their only human “friend”. He had a habit of getting carried away with his games, which often resulted in the disposal of a body. Though Leo didn’t particularly care about April as a person, she could be useful on occasion, and he would hate to lose such a valuable asset.

“Is she in there with you?” He asked, knowing the answer already.

“Uh, she’s kinda’ tied up right now, she’ll be out later!” The youngest answered with a chirpy tone. He sounded slightly out of breath.

Leo shook his head in disgust. Knowing his brother, that was probably literally true. “Mikey, let her out of whatever bondage equipment you’ve got her in, and get out here! It’s almost time for dinner. You’re cooking.”

“You’re cooking,” mimicked the other from the room snidely. “Why do I always have to do it?”

“Because Raph’s cooking always tastes like cardboard, and you know I can’t even scramble an egg. Or do you want one of Donnie’s ‘healthy’ tofu and veggie dinners again?” The leader asked pointedly. That was bound to get the other’s attention.

“Okay, OKAY! Coming!” There was a sound of rapid clapping, coupled with several rough grunts. Leonardo stood outside waiting patiently, until a final deep groan came from inside, and the noises stopped. A couple of minutes later, the orange-clad mutant opened the door, and the woman came staggering out, weak-kneed and wincing with every step. Her hair was disheveled, clothes askew, and she kept her head low, avoiding looking Leo in the eyes.

“We’re running low on some things, April. I’ll make a list for you, and give you the money from our last job so you can get what we need.” Leonardo didn’t ask, he simply assumed his request would be carried out without any protest, as it always was. The woman grimaced for a moment at the commanding attitude, as if considering refusing, but she glanced at the pair, and thought better of it. The last time she had dared to decline one of their requests, she had ended up spending an hour with Splinter, who had somehow “convinced” her to comply. She still had no idea what had happened or what he had said, only that when she came out, she’d been only too happy to do as they asked. That- and his frightening fits of rage- was one of the reasons she walked on eggshells whenever the rat was around.

Michelangelo watched them walk away, admiring her backside as she trailed behind his brother. Her gait was stiff and unsteady; he chuckled to himself, remembering the cause. Only five minutes earlier, he’d been grinding hard into that firm behind, a gag placed in her mouth, a pair of handcuffs on her wrists, and a collar around her neck as he had bent her over on hands and knees on the bed. He turned around with a grin and trotted off toward the kitchen to make their dinner, high-three-ing Raph as he passed by the sofa.

April followed Leo into his own room, and waited silently while he pulled a pen and paper out of a small desk and began to write out the list of supplies. Most of it was mundane items; food, cleaning supplies- Splinter insisted their lair be spotless, unlike the surrounding sewer tunnels- and the like. His room was Spartan, with only the desk, his well-made bed, and a single shelf holding a vase containing a simple arrangement of bamboo and orchids, a few books, and an ancient Samurai helmet. Of all the brothers, he was the only one she didn’t feel constantly on edge around. He rarely ever called her into his room to spend time alone, unlike the two youngest boys. When he did, he was always very polite and formal, making it clear what he wanted her to do, but without subjecting her to the shame of the unsettling fetishes and borderline torture. He simply told her what he wanted without preamble.

He handed her the note, which she tucked into a pocket of her yellow leather jacket. He pulled a small box out of the desk, unlocked it, and drew out several twenty dollar bills. “This should cover everything. And you can keep whatever you don’t use- call it a thank you for the trouble.” Leonardo was the only one who had ever expressed appreciation for her help. The others usually seemed to take it for granted. He gave her the money and she shoved it in the pocket with the note.

“Thanks, Leo. I could use a few extra dollars to eat on later.” She said, giving him a nervous smile. She started to leave, but he grabbed her wrist, holding her back.

“Have dinner with us. We could use the company. We- we might not get another chance to see you.” Leonardo didn’t want to admit it, but he liked having someone else around, and he sometimes thought of her as a sort of surrogate mother or “big sister”. “We came home empty-handed on our mission tonight, and Sensei wasn’t pleased. He’s sending us back out tomorrow night; it’s our last chance. If we fail….”

He didn’t finish. Didn’t need to. She nodded; she knew the rat’s moods well enough to understand that if they didn’t succeed this time, she would not see them again. “You should leave. Just get far away. You’re capable of taking care of yourselves- what do you need him for? You could go anywhere, and live your own lives. He’s too dangerous- get out while you still can.” She didn’t know why, but in spite of knowing what they did to survive, she felt sorry for them. It wasn’t their fault, really. They were what he had made them.

“You know we can’t. We owe him our lives. He’s our father, for whatever that’s worth. This is all we have. Absolute loyalty and obedience to clan above all, remember?” He said, shaking his head. “We are what we are, and nothing can change that. He saw to that.” He grimaced, his gaze falling to the floor in anger. He felt no remorse for what they did- he held no real love for humans, knowing that the humans would just as happily dissect them if given the chance. Why should he care about killing a few of them here and there? They were nothing to him. Even April, whom he at least considered useful.

Yet there was still that same tiny voice, the one that tugged at the corners of his consciousness, that told him this was not how it was meant to be. Maybe, he thought glumly, if things had been different…. Saki had once offered them a place by his own side, a chance to use their skills for something better than murder and theft. They had refused. Splinter’s rule was their only law, and it was absolute. If nothing else, they were loyal to each other- it was the only GOOD thing he had ever taught them. But their loyalty to him came first, always. That was the way of things.
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

18 Nov 2014, 06:33 #3

Here's the rest of chapter two! Hope you guys are enjoying this different take on these boys. I'm having a blast writing this one, as it really lets me think outside the box.

“Well, good luck, then. For what it’s worth, I hope you get whatever it is you’re after. I have to go back to the station; I’ll call you when I get the supplies,” she said softly. Leo simply nodded, saying nothing. He seemed tense, on edge. She knew that look well, for she’d seen it on him far too often of late. She suspected he had something on his mind, but was too proud to discuss it with her. She left his small room, and paused in the living room to say goodbye to Raphael.

“Heh, lookin’ good, Ape. See ya’ around!” He replied with a leer. April gave him a nervous smile, and poked her head into the kitchen where she found Mikey listening to a small radio tuned into a heavy metal station while he stirred a pot of what she thought was spaghetti. He was head-banging, and drumming the air with a pair of wooden spoons along with the music.

She passed by him on her way to Don’s workshop, receiving a wolf-whistle and a light smack on her rump with one of the spoons in passing. She grimaced, rolling her eyes at his often obnoxious lack of gentlemanly manners. As much as she tried to excuse his behavior at times, he really was a bit of a pig. The bondage gear and whip he’d employed earlier was just one more example of his perverse idea of “fun”. She didn’t know which she hated more, his sleazy come-ons, creepy fetishes, or his slightly sadistic games. But as bad as he could be, Raph was often worse.

Raphael was rough, crude, and insensitive; though Mikey had some very disconcerting habits, Raph’s were simply boorish. He would pick her up without a word, carry her over his shoulder like some sort of hunting trophy, toss her onto his bed, and order her in a gruff tone to strip down. And when he was done with her- which often took hours- she could hardly even move, let alone walk. Many were the nights she’d been forced to spend the night in his room with him, listening to his loud snores all night, simply because she was too sore, bruised, and exhausted to get up. Even Casey had never been so rough- and HE at least had the excuse of being drunk when he got violent.

She also knew for a fact that Raph drank- and even smoked on occasion- whenever he could. In that regard, Casey was a worse influence on him than Splinter himself had been. As daunting as Raphael was on a normal day, he was much worse when he’d been drinking. At those times, he was downright terrifying. When Raph drank, it was as if every bad trait he possessed was suddenly magnified. He had been known to go out with Casey during a binge, and beat the crap out of whomever they ran into, just because they could.

April slipped into the workshop, wanting to see the brainy brother for a few minutes before she left. He was, as always, contentedly working on some new project. She didn’t even know what it was- probably didn’t want to know- but she always found herself amazed by his ingenuity and talent, if somewhat unnerved by his “hobbies”. Particularly his habit of hacking into bank systems, and “playing” with the accounts of random people, closing them, removing or adding zeros to balances, changing account numbers randomly, or even uploading viruses to completely wipe databanks, for no better reason than that he felt like it. And then there was his most disturbing hobby. Somehow he had hidden mini video cameras disguised as electrical outlets, smoke detectors, or other innocuous objects in public restrooms, dressing rooms, and even motel rooms. He liked to watch his “candid videos” as he called them, occasionally even posting them up on-line.

“Donnie? I just came in to say good-bye before I leave. I didn’t get to see you earlier, and I know I promised to help you here in the lab, but it’s late and I have to go. Do you mind taking a rain check?” She asked hesitantly. Donatello could be erratic and high-strung, or cold and aloof, depending on his mood. She never knew how he might react to disappointments. The last time he had been annoyed with her lack of cooperation, it had not gone well. He had used a cloth soaked in chloroform to knock her out, and when she had come to, she had been chained to the wall above his futon naked, while he placed small electrodes on her nipples and elsewhere. Then he had begun making increasingly unsettling requests, using the electrodes when she didn’t comply fast enough. He had recorded the entire incident, to her dismay.

“Oh. Well, I don’t know…. I was really hoping we could continue with those Pavlov tests. I have some ideas how to improve positive response time, and I’m anxious to see what you think. But it might not matter after tomorrow. Not sure if I’ll be able to get back to it.” He shrugged, as if it was no big deal, and sighed. That was his way of dismissing the subject, though she was sure he was more upset than he let on. She looked around the room uncomfortably, but smiled and patted his shell in reassurance.

“I told Leo I’d call when I get the supplies you boys needed. If you still need help then, I’ll help you with- well, whatever you need done. I know it’s hard working on some of those delicate experiments with such big hands.” She chuckled nervously, trying to ignore his almost hungry gaze raking over her. She was well aware that he had an almost obsessive “crush” on her, and had tried to find ways to discourage him without making him angry. As dangerous as Raph was, in some ways, Donnie was even more frightening when he was angry. While Raphael would rage and snarl and throw or punch things, Donnie would become almost cold-bloodedly devious and creative in his retribution.

April gave him a last wave, and another to Raphael on her way out, moving quickly as if relieved to finally get out of the unnerving atmosphere of the small sewer sanctuary. Raph barely noticed her leave, still engrossed in his football game. He loved the brutality of professional sports, like football, hockey, wrestling or boxing. He had sometimes imagined being a boxer or wrestler himself, but that was all it ever was- a dream. His stomach growled soon after she left, and he scowled to himself, wondering if Mikey had finished dinner yet. He was a creature of few needs, and most of them simple. Food, sleep, and carnal pleasure were the ones he considered most important, though he was often happiest when wading into a fight, reveling in the sound of breaking bones, spraying blood, and screams of agony from those he faced.

He grumbled to himself and got up, heading into the kitchen to see if dinner was ready. He was just in time to see his “baby” brother putting the spaghetti into a large bowl. It was just the way he liked it, too- heavy on the meat and sauce. He padded over to the cupboard for a plate, then flopped down at the table to grab the noodle tongs, piling a heaping helping onto his dish.

“Dude, save some for the rest of us. That’s all we had. I hope April gets some more when she goes shopping for us. We’re runnin’ out of a lot of stuff.” The orange-clad mutant told him. Raph glanced down at his plate, then at the bowl, and reluctantly put some of it back. He might be a lot of things, but greedy wasn’t one of them. He would never deny his brothers their fair share of food.

The other two came in when Michelangelo called out that dinner was finished, and even Splinter shuffled in to join the. No one spoke, as the four young mutants felt the dark and forbidding threat of what would happen if they failed again. The only sounds that broke the silence of the small kitchen were the occasional clink of forks on plates, slurping noodles, and a couple of ill-mannered burps from Raph and Mikey. Splinter glared at each of them wordlessly, and both teens immediately cringed and gave apologetic shrugs.

After dinner, they each went to their rooms to retire for the evening, though sleep did not come easily to all of them. Mikey sat propped up on his small, lumpy bed, reading one of the secret stash of comic books he had hidden beneath the mattress. Splinter didn’t know about them; he did his best to keep it that way. It was his escape from the cold, harsh reality of his life. He couldn’t remember a time when their father hadn’t punished them for some perceived misdeed. Usually, it was for wanting to have some harmless fun, but he had been known to punish them for anything he did not like, even the “crime” of showing kindness.

He remembered a day nearly two years before, when he had gone up to the surface on his own to walk in the park at sunset. It was near Christmas- not that they’d ever had reason to celebrate the holiday- and he had found a half-starved kitten shivering in the snow. He had thought little of it at first, but the bedraggled feline had tried to follow him, and he had soon realized that it had no mother. It was alone, cold, and hungry. Yet still, it had been unafraid of him, in spite of his strange appearance. Something inside him had felt a kinship with the lost, orphaned animal. He had remembered Splinter’s reminders that he and his brothers would have surely perished without his intervention, and he made a decision. He scooped up the freezing kitten, and tucked it into his jacket to take home. It was the last time he had ever listened to his heart.

When he had arrived home a short time later that afternoon, he had proudly shown the kitten to his brothers, and had opened a can of tuna to feed the starving orange kitten. They had all taken turns playing with it after it had eaten its fill, laughing and enjoying the novelty of having a pet. Mikey had even given the little fur-ball a name- Klunk. And then Splinter had come into the kitchen, and had seen the cat. He was not pleased.

“What is THIS?!” He snarled, pointing at the kitten. Klunk looked up at him, and frizzed up in fear at the hostile intruder on its new-found comfort. “What is this filthy animal doing here?!” He demanded, his gaze sweeping the room. All of the boys had gone silent at his outburst, suddenly realizing they had done something wrong in his eyes.

“ANSWER me!” The rat roared; all four cringed, and three pairs of eyes turned toward Mikey. He froze, unable to come up with a response.

“I- uh, I found it out in the park. It was hungry and cold, so I thought…. I mean, we’ve never had a pet, and it wouldn’t take up much room, so-” He floundered, wondering why their father was so angry about the cat. It was so small and helpless, just like they had been once.

“A PET?!” Splinter sneered, his tail lashing wildly in anger. The kitten growled softly from the corner it had retreated to, tail held up like a bottle-brush, ears flattened back. Mikey gulped, a lead weight settling in his gut. He had a horrible feeling he had made a mistake by bringing the kitten home. “Idiot! Pets are nothing more than a frivolous luxury of humans, a useless burden that serves no purpose, and wastes resources we do NOT have! You would take food from your own brothers to give to a worthless animal?!” He struck the youngest mutant across his beak, snarling savagely. The others three turtles edged away, well aware that their father had slipped into another of his rages, though they hardly understood the reason.

“B-but I…. It was all alone! Helpless, like us! I-I felt sorry for it….” Mikey protested, hoping his words would remind their mentor and parent that he had once done the same for them.

Splinter seemed to pause for a moment, as if remembering his reason, but his ears remained flat, and his lips curled back into an angry sneer. He glanced down at the skinny orange kitten, and then back at his youngest son, and suddenly did something none of them had expected. He reached down and grabbed the cat by the scruff of its neck, holding it up for them to see. It spat and hissed, as if sensing danger, but he held it tightly. “Kindness is for the weak! It has NO place here. Do you know what comes of being soft and showing compassion? I will tell you- pain and suffering! I took you four in for one reason only- to train you to become warriors. You are ninja! There is NO place for pity or affection in this clan!”

And before any of them even knew what he was doing, he had grasped the kitten’s head, and twisted it swiftly, breaking its tiny neck with an audible snap. The small creature had gone limp, silent and still in an instant. He held its soft body up almost like a trophy, growling darkly at his four sons. “Do NOT bring another filthy animal into our home. This is your only warning.” And with that, he had tossed the small bundle into the garbage can, his tail whipping back and forth as he stalked out.

They stood silently for a moment, staring after their father in shock and fear. At last, Mikey had murmured softly, his voice cracking. “Why did he do that? Klunk wasn’t hurtin’ anything. Why’d he hafta’ go an’ kill a helpless little cat? I HATE him!” He growled darkly, glaring in the direction of the living room. The others had all nodded mutely, and had slowly left the room one by one, each to his own personal tasks. He had been left alone in the kitchen, the small furry body in the trashcan a solemn reminder that caring for anything- even something so small and insignificant- was a punishable offense in the eyes of their Master. That was the last time he had thought of Splinter as his father. It was also the last time he had ever cried.

Tears in his eyes, he had secretly taken the body out of the trash, and had raided Donnie’s small workshop for a small metal box- he’d emptied it of the assorted nails and screws, nuts, bolts, and other small items it held- and had gone back out to the park, to the very spot he’d found Klunk. With a stick and his bare hands, Mikey had dug a hole, laid the box in it, lined with leaves and dried grass, and placed the tiny corpse inside before closing and burying the box. The small grave was unmarked, but it didn’t matter. He still knew where to find it, even after nearly two years.

He had learned an important lesson that day, though. Happiness was nothing but a lie. Love and acceptance were something he would never know, and all he could hope for was a few stolen moments of amusement here and there. All that mattered was taking whatever he wanted while he could, enjoying what pleasures he could find before they were snatched away. His life had become a never-ending pursuit of hedonistic desires, as he tried desperately to fill the empty void that was his heart.

In his own room, Donnie sat at his laptop, watching the day’s compilation of video from his hidden cameras. He saw little of interest besides a couple of teenaged girls shoplifting outfits by hiding them under their own clothes in a department store dressing room. He considered e-mailing the footage to the police department along with the names of the girls- he found them easily from their personal profiles on a social media site- but decided it was too much trouble. He did, however, post comments to them suggesting that he knew what they had done, knowing full well that the shame once their circle of friends discovered the theft would be even worse than any legal repercussions. He fell asleep at his desk, only waking when the snores from Raph’s small room became loud enough to startle him awake. He finally decided to call it a night, and closed the laptop down, crawling into his bed tiredly, his mind still filled with thoughts of Splinter’s ultimatum. His last waking thought was that their time might have finally run out.
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

12 Dec 2014, 19:48 #4

And now for a bit more on the other side of things. Yup, we get to learn more on Shredder and Krang, plus some of the history between Saki and Yoshi. Enjoy!

Chapter 3: Tangled Skeins

Oruku Saki cursed himself once again as he recalled his battle with the four mutant menaces. If only he could have convinced them to abandon their vicious sensei during their first encounter. If only HE had been the one to find and raise them, rather than that cold-heard vermin Yoshi. Their skills were impressive- even more so when one considered their humble origin- and he was saddened that they wasted so much of their potential by engaging in wantonly destructive behavior. Such a terrible waste of four extraordinary lives.

The transport module slowed to a stop as it came to rest at the end of the pneumatic tube. His two most loyal “men” opened the hatch and stepped out; he heard the familiar buzz of wings that told him Baxter was anxious to get out of the cramped vehicle, but had been gracious enough to wait for his “Master” to exit first. Saki rose, ducking his head as he stepped out into the Technodrome’s hanger bay. As strange as it seemed, it was good to be home again.

He had grown accustomed to the cold, impersonal, and even alien environment of his current home over the last two years, in spite of the harshness of the stark metallic interior. It suited his Spartan outlook, and in truth, he needed little in the way of comforts or companionship, so the relative lack of either did not bother him. Even the trio that had accompanied him were not really friends- they were merely employees, and he treated them as such.

Only ONE of his odd assortment of associates could truly be counted as a friend. Krang. The two had met many years before, when the inter-dimensional alien inventor, scientist, and statesman had inadvertently been stranded on Earth after an experiment in dimensional travel had gone horribly wrong and had sucked his entire research base through its own portal, tank-treads and all. Saki had been the only human present that night, and he had been awed by the sheer size and power of the station. He and Krang had quickly established a rapport and a partnership, and had wisely decided to dig deep down into the ground to hide the station from hostile military forces.

Saki made his way to the main bridge to discuss the next move. Though he had prevented the turtles from gaining what they were after, he knew they would not give up easily. He was certain they would strike again soon. He knew his enemies far too well. Hamato Yoshi was nothing if not persistent, and he did not tolerate failure. Saki knew this from hard experience. He had once been one of Yoshi’s most gifted students, a Foot warrior of nearly unmatched skill. But during a routine retrieval mission for a wealthy businessman in Kyoto, Saki had refused to kill a young woman who had seen them taking the ancient heirloom dagger from the home of the man who had stolen it. When Yoshi had learned that he had left a witness, he had become enraged and struck his own student with the very dagger they had been hired to return. He still carried the scar of that night.

His growing ambition and ruthlessness began to grow more apparent day by day soon after, until Saki had been forced to find a way to oust him from the clan and take his place. It hadn’t taken much- all he had needed to do was trick Yoshi into attempting to assassinate their clan patriarch in full view of the rest of the clan. The man was labeled a traitor and stripped of both his rank and his honor. In retaliation for his disgrace, Yoshi had killed the Grandmaster and many of the clan’s chunin before fleeing to America, leaving Saki to pick up the pieces and take over what was left of the clan.

Saki’s first task had been to rebuild the Foot, and attempt to restore its honor by taking missions to uproot terrorist cells, quietly free political prisoners, and engage in righting many of the wrongs for which Yoshi had made the Foot responsible. Then he had led the Foot to New York on a personal quest to bring his former mentor to justice. In that, he had only been partially successful. By then, he had already met Krang and formed the partnership that had benefited them both.

His confrontation with Yoshi had taken place in a rat-infested alley, with Saki giving his former master the choice between an honorable death by seppuku, or becoming in fact what he had always been in spirit- a monster. Yoshi had surprised him by choosing to become like the rats. Saki had watched in fascinated horror as his former mentor had transformed right before his eyes. In minutes, he had become the vicious, conniving rat in body that he had always been at heart, and had then further startled his student when he grabbed the canister with the remaining mutagen and slunk off into the sewers.

Saki didn’t know quite when or how Yoshi had found the four tiny turtles that had fallen into the sewer, but he had used the mutagen to change them, and had trained them to seek revenge for him, by poisoning their minds with his venomous hatred for his former pupil. And now they were the killers Yoshi had always intended them to become. Saki felt a measure of guilt for that, having been partially to blame for their creation. Never had he imagined that Hamato Yoshi would seize the chance to create his own “clan” of cold-blooded- in a very literal sense- assassins and thieves.
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

12 Jan 2015, 07:50 #5

As promised- heeeeere's Krang! And Lotus, too. Hmm, looks like there is some dispute as to how they should deal with the "mutant menace".

Krang was busy watching his soaps when he entered the large room that held their command hub and Krang’s inter-dimensional portal. As always, Saki was both amused and perplexed by the alien’s odd fascination with television dramas. And that was only one of the strange little alien’s personality quirks. He was also, in spite of his generally benevolent nature, quite caustic in his attitude, fond of belittling and outright insulting those who displeased or angered him with cutting barbs that were, at times, blatantly cruel. Saki didn’t mind though- he could give as good as he got, and their verbal sparring matches had become something of a game.

“Ah, Krang- I see you are hard at work solving our current power issues, as usual!” Saki said in a tone of mock appreciation. That was how it always started; one of them would comment on the latest endeavor of the other, and his partner would respond with a snarky observation of his own, and it would be game on. Oruku Saki enjoyed these battles of wits, as it was a welcome distraction from the constant difficulties of dealing with a station that was always breaking down or being damaged, whether by those thrice-damned turtles, his own men’s often glaring incompetence in operating the high-tech equipment, or one of Krang’s experiments going awry.

“Don’t patronize ME, Shredder. The tanks for the power core’s cooling system were frozen, and I had to thaw them before they cracked. I’ve shut down power to all but life support and communications until they unfreeze. There’s nothing else we can do until power goes back on-line! And you sound like you’re in a bad mood- I take it the mission wasn’t entirely successful? Not that I’m surprised. I TOLD you taking those idiots along was a bad idea!” The over-sized android that housed his companion half turned to regard him, without completely taking his attention from the enormous screen in front of him. On it, someone named John was telling a woman named Marsha that her long-lost sister had been masquerading as a man for five years, and was his own best friend. Saki shook his head in annoyance, wondering what Krang saw in such drivel.

“Those ‘idiots’ may not be good for much, but they kept the turtles away from the data they were after- for now. But I am certain they will try again. Hamato Yoshi is not one to give up once his mind is set on something, and his pupils share that stubbornness. He has trained them well, for good or ill. That is why I intend to return to Ima-Gen tomorrow night, in case they make another attempt. If I know that rat, he will send them back out to finish the job.” Saki scowled under his face-plate, remembering how the battle had ended in a stalemate. They were getting better, no doubt about that.

“I’ve already taken that into account, Shredder, and that is precisely why I have brought in some ‘new blood’ to aid us. I believe you remember that young kunoichi I hired some time ago to help us hunt them down?” Krang asked, turning to his partner with a sly grin. The expression made him look oddly shark-like. He pressed a button, and the door opened behind them. Saki whirled to see a tall, lithe young Japanese woman, probably no older than twenty. She had a pale, delicate beauty, but Shredder knew her appearance was deceiving. She was a highly skilled ninja in her own right, as deadly as any Foot warrior, including himself.

Saki groaned. “Not HER?! I will NOT play second fiddle to a female again!” Saki fumed. If he hadn’t known better, he might’ve thought Krang had brought her back just to annoy him. There was nothing he hated more than being bested by an upstart girl.

“Oh, don’t get your panties in a twist, Saki- she will be under your command, but if you wish to stop those reptiles once and for all, you are going to need help. COMPETENT help.” Krang had just put his foot down, so to speak, and Saki knew it was no use arguing with the brain when he got like this. He could debate the subject until he was blue in the face, but Krang wouldn’t budge.

“And what IS your command, Master?” The girl said in a lilting voice, moving forward to kneel respectfully before him. “Krang has told me that you require my assistance to deal with the turtles. I, too, wish to see them stopped. They have hurt too many people already, and my honor as a ninja demands that their crimes must be avenged!” Saki regarded her for a long moment, but didn’t bother to point out that she herself was engaged in the same sort of activities, though he knew she only ever killed as a last resort, and never took jobs that might endanger innocents. She worked only when the cause was just, yet still worked only if the pay was high. He found it mildly hypocritical.

“Very well, Krang, I’ll take her along. So long as it’s clear that I am in charge if this mission. I will not be ordered about by a mere girl.” He turned to regard the young woman for a long moment. Lotus Blossom, as she was known, was a clan-less kunoichi, trained- by her own choice- by the jonin of no less than five clans, though she had been adopted by none. She was like the fox, clever, stealthy, and solitary by nature. She was also unpredictable, as likely to turn on an employer if she thought she was being cheated as she was to complete her mission.

“Good! And take Baxter back out when you go- his constant buzzing gives me a headache!” Saki groaned at the alien’s command, and whiled back to face him, cape swirling around his feet.

“We certainly can’t have THAT, now CAN we?” He said in a caustic tone. “After all, that brain is all you’ve got!” He was rewarded by the sound of Krang’s flustered sputtering and growling as he tried- vainly, for once- to come up with an answering retort. Saki laughed, pleased with his small victory, and strode out of the room to return to his own quarters for some much needed peace and quiet.

He spent the next two hours in meditation, then rose and began his daily kattas. He was no longer as young as he once was, but was still at the height of fitness and strength for a man pushing forty. He was halfway through a sequence of naginata attacks when he heard the soft swish of the door sliding open. He knew without needing to look who had entered. She stood just inside the door, and bowed deeply.

“Konichiwa, Master Shredder. May I speak with you alone?” Lotus. He disliked the girl on principle, though whether it was because she had humiliated him in their first meeting, or because he did not trust her, he couldn’t tell. She was good, there was no denying that. Her skill with the katana was second to none. Only the mutant Leonardo was her equal in that regard. Though an expert swordsman himself, Saki specialized in hand-to-hand and the use of small blades that were easily concealed- as a TRUE ninja should, he felt.

“Very well, you may enter. Speak your mind, and be quick about it- I’m in no mood for chit-chat.” He hoped that was clear enough to show her his feelings regarding their partnership.

“I know you do not trust me, Shredder. I have lived as a master-less ninja my entire life, and I prefer to work alone, as do you. But I feel a personal responsibility to bring these rogues to justice, just as you do. Can we not put aside our differences for our common goal? It is for the greater good, after all.” Lotus frowned, her pretty features marred briefly by the dark expression. She had once felt a connection to the leader of the mutant clan, the one named Leonardo. She had certainly admired his skill, and his sense of honor, however twisted it might be. And that was the problem. He was an enemy, and a criminal, and she could not afford to have feelings for such a creature. Yet she had.

“That depends. Can you put aside your compassion for those monsters and do what MUST be done?” He asked, bringing her out of her momentary reverie. “I know you had feelings for that reptile. But make NO mistake- he is as cold and cunning as his wicked Master, and will use any advantage against you he can find. Do NOT underestimate him. Or any of them. Even the foolish one.” He put the weapon back in its place on he rack, and picked up a small towel to wipe his face.

Lotus sighed, and nodded. “Yes, of course. I will do what I must, but only if there is no other way. I STILL believe they can be saved, even if you do not.” She bowed again, and then turned, exiting without another word.

Saki huffed, shaking his head at her stubborn insistence that the turtles could somehow be salvaged. He knew better. As much as it pained him to admit it, they were too far gone, sunk into the depravity and cruelty their mentor had fed into their hearts since infancy. Damaged beyond repair, and there was only one way it could end. He hated the necessity, but it was the plain, simple truth, harsh as it was. Lotus might disagree, but Saki knew- the mutants had to be eliminated.

He thought back on all the lost souls he HAD saved, most particularly his two most loyal soldiers. Incompetent as they were, the two former gang-thugs had proven themselves time and again to be faithful and well-intentioned. They had truly reformed, and had even given up their entire human lives to dedicate themselves to their “savior” and his cause. Idiots they might be, but Victor “Rocksteady” Sterenko, and Anton “Bebop” Zass were as loyal a pair as he could ever hope to find. Besides, he mused, they were occasionally entertaining in their own way….
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

02 Mar 2015, 06:18 #6

Chapter four is now up, and we learn more about these "damaged" boys, and something of Leo and Raph's inner thoughts about their past. Also, Leo's been keeping a secret even from his brothers, one that has helped define who he is and why he is beginning to have doubts about his purpose...... Warning- this chapter contains some very adult language, themes and situations!

Chapter Four: Children of the Damned

Leonardo had not slept well. He was plagued by unpleasant dreams, something that had rarely ever been a problem before. In his dreams, he had failed, and saw his brothers slaughtered while he watched, helpless against the fear of their father’s rage. The first thing they had learned as children was never to disobey Splinter’s commands, for the punishments were severe. He wondered if other children had ever had their arms and legs struck with bokken until they were more purple than green, or forced to hang motionless for hours until their arms felt like jelly, or given only water for days on end. Or….

No, better not to think of that. But that obedience was drilled into them for as long as he could remember- and so was the fear of punishment if Splinter was displeased with them. Only Raph had ever dared stand up to him- and had paid dearly for it, with a permanent crack in his plastron as a reminder. None of them had ever argued or raised a hand to him again after that.

Yet as harsh as he was, Leo had never believed their “father” would be so cruel as to sentence his own sons to death. But Splinter never bluffed, and what he threatened, he ALWAYS followed through on. That was the most frightening part. They had failed him as warriors, and Leo knew it was his fault. Were he a better leader to his brothers…. He hated that so much fell to him, but that was his place. To keep the others in line, and ensure that they followed their Master’s orders with efficiency and stealth. More importantly, to protect them from harm, even if it meant taking punishments meant for them. And he had, oh yes, he had. That was his burden alone to carry, and his secret shame.

He knew they had to succeed tonight, if they were going to survive. The nature of their work demanded it. Splinter’s decree aside, there were others who would hunt them down if they failed. They had never even met most of the underworld bosses and political power-mongers they worked for- everything was kept anonymous and secret for the sake of safety- but they knew the dangers of disappointing such people. After all, they were not the only “enforcers” out there- just some of the best.

He rose, sensing that it was pointless to remain in bed any longer, and crept to the dojo for some uninterrupted practice. It was still very early; his brothers wouldn’t be awake for at least a couple of hours yet. While he ran through a series of arcs with his blades, he tried to focus on the task ahead. He knew it would be even harder to break into the labs a second time, but they had little choice. Retrieving the data for the new drug was the first priority. It would fetch a high price to Ima-Gen’s competitors, and would pay for their needs for some time. He tried to go over the building’s security again in his mind, but he knew the security on the computers, at least, would be increased after last night’s attempt. Probably more guards, too. That presented a problem. He was still practicing an hour later, no closer to a solution than before.

Raphael woke and yawned, rubbing his eyes as he sat up slowly. He looked over at the small clock by his bed, and scowled. He hated getting up early, but something had awakened him prematurely. He listened carefully; something was off about the sounds of the lair. He heard a soft noise from beyond the living room, and let out a low growl. He picked up his sais from the small nightstand beside his bed, and crept silently toward the source of the sound. He stood for a moment in the archway between the living room and bedroom commons, listening intently. There it was- a soft, rhythmic swish and thwack coming from the dojo. He sighed, and slipped up to the doorway into their training room. Figured it would be the teacher’s pet up early.

“You coming in, or are you just going to stand there?” The question came without his brother ever looking his way. Raph never understood how Leo could know when someone was sneaking up on him. He hadn’t even taken his eyes off the sparring pole he was attacking. For some reason, that always irked Raphael. Leo was better at almost everything- except for being the cold-blooded killer they were supposed to be. That was one of the few things Raph excelled at more than any of his brothers. Sometimes he wondered if big brother was going soft. That could be bad for all of them.

“Lookin’ ta score a few brownie points?” Raph sneered, stepping inside the room. “Even YOU don’t get up THIS early.”

Leonardo sighed, putting away his blades and closing his eyes for a moment. Raph just didn’t understand the burden he was under. He didn’t know the reason Leo played the dutiful soldier. “Couldn’t sleep worth a damn. I notice YOU didn’t have any trouble sleeping. I could hear you snoring when I got up. We can’t afford to lose again, Raph. You know Sensei doesn’t go back on his threats. This is our last chance. He won’t tolerate another failure- and that’s what worries me.”

Raphael growled softly. “I don’t see why we don’t just-” He began, only to be cut off. Leo whirled on him, getting right in his face and looking him straight in the eyes.

“No, Raph. That’s NOT the answer. What would you have us do? Bite the hand that fed us all these years? That kept us safe from the outside world? Taught us everything we know?” Leo stared his brother down coolly, knowing he had no real counter for that argument. For all their fights- some of which had been vicious- the one thing they had always agreed on was the need to stick together and protect their “family”, such as it was. The others relied on their strength to make it home from dangerous jobs, and Leo knew that Raph’s protective streak was the one thing he could count on to shut down even the most stern opposition to his leadership. He used it now to make his point, though he was unsure himself if it even still mattered. But he couldn’t back down- not without appearing weak. He knew Raph would pounce on it if he faltered.

“We can’t keep livin’ under his thumb, Leo,” Raph pointed out finally. “Sooner or later, that psycho’s gonna get us all killed. And you think he’d care? FUCK no!”

“I know, but what choice do we have? If we leave, he’d just come after us and make things even worse. Or have you forgotten THIS?” He asked, tapping at the cracked edge of Raph’s plastron. The injury was long healed, but the missing sliver of shell was a harsh reminder of what happened when they dared to go against their Master.

“So why do ya’ kiss his ass so much? Ya’ think he’ll let ya’ off da’ hook if ya’ play by his rules?” The question caught Leonardo off guard, and just for a moment, he wondered if Raph knew, after all. But, no, he couldn’t. Leo lowered his gaze, and turned away.

“It- it doesn’t matter. You don’t know what kind of burden I’ve had to live with. Everything I did, was all to protect the rest of you. Just forget it.” Leo was too ashamed to tell him the truth, the worst part of what their father was. Splinter had been human once; they had always known that. He had told them of how he had been transformed by Saki into a freak of nature, heaping humiliation on top of defeat and dishonor.

Leo knew he had lied, though. Yoshi had been given a choice of an honorable death, or life transformed in body to the monster he was at heart. Yoshi had chosen survival, and had nursed his hatred over the years into a thirst for vengeance. Yet he had not forgotten what it was to be human, or to feel the pleasures of his former life. It had taken him only seven years to realize that his four children could serve as more than just the tools of his vengeance- they could be used in other ways, as well. He had naturally begun with Leonardo, knowing that if he could dominate the “eldest”, the others would be easy to control.

But Leonardo’s fierce loyalty and protective streak had bubbled up immediately, and the boy had sworn to do anything his Master asked, if Splinter would leave his brothers untouched, and use him alone. He had promised to keep his father’s secret, to keep the others in the dark about what went on. He had remained the “teacher’s pet”, while his brothers were left believing that the “extra lessons” were just that. Leo hated that Raphael had become angry and contemptuous toward him for being what he considered the suck-up, never knowing that Leo had done it to protect him from their sensei’s illicit attention. But what else could he do?

Raph looked at him sharply, his eyes narrowed as he caught the hint of hesitation. He remembered how Leo had always been the only one Splinter would teach privately. Raph had always been jealous that Leo was their father’s favorite, but now he began to wonder if that was such a good thing. Leo’s response set off an alarm in his head, and he reflected on all the times their sensei had taken the young leader aside, and how Leo always came out of those sessions with his head down and his face haunted. He would never meet his brothers’ eyes, and for the first year or two, had often run straight to the small makeshift bathroom to retch. He had never explained what he did during those lessons, but now Raphael suspected he knew why- and his anger grew hotter at the thought of the possibility that had just planted itself in his mind.

“Leo-” He grabbed his brother’s arm as he turned to leave the room, and Leo glanced back at him, jerking his arm away with an irritated scowl. Their eyes locked briefly, and Raph KNEW. As much as they sometimes pretended to hate each other, there was an unspoken bond between them, a form of silent communication as brothers that needed no words. With just a look, Leo had unwittingly told him all he needed to know. Raphael let out a soft growl, not at his sibling, but at the sudden understanding of what he had kept from them all for the past ten years.

“Son of a bitch.” He swore darkly, looking back toward the rear of their home, where the aging rat-man still slept. “Why didn’t ya’ ever tell us, bro?” He asked, giving his older sibling a look of concern.

Leo was taken aback by the hot-headed turtle’s question. He shot a fearful glance at their Master’s room, and shook his head in denial. “Raph, just- let it go, okay? I did what I had to do to protect the rest of you. You could have handled it, maybe, but Donnie? He’d have been broken by it. I’d bet Mikey would, too. It was bad enough that he did that to me- I couldn’t let him do it to you guys, too. Anyway, he hasn’t done it in a couple of years- my guess is he’s too old now, and can’t. So it’s over. Got that?” He concluded forcefully, knowing what Raph was thinking. He continued his retreat, crossing the living room into the kitchen.

Raph followed. “No, Leo, it AIN’T over. Of all da’ crap he’s put us through, ya’ wanna’ just shove ’dis under da’ rug? It AIN’T RIGHT. Man, I know we’ve done some bad shit for ’dat rat, but ain’t none of it’s worse than what he’s been doin’ to you. And now ya’ tell me to let it slide? FUCK ’dat!”

“You guys want to keep it down?” A soft groan came from the bedroom area. They looked up to see Donatello stumbling out of his own room, rubbing his eyes. “What are you guys doing up at this ungodly hour, anyway?” The purple-banded sibling asked groggily. Apparently, he had heard their voices, but thankfully not what was being discussed. Leo sighed in relief. The last thing he wanted now was to drag the other two into this. It was humiliating enough that Raph was aware of the matter.

“Go back to bed Donnie; we just couldn’t sleep, that’s all.” Leo said in that soft, but firm tone he sometimes used- the one that told his brothers that he truly DID care about their well-being, even though he wasn’t always good at saying so. Raphael grimaced. His brother hadn’t lied, but he hadn’t told Don the whole truth, either, and that irked him. He was half tempted to tell Donatello everything, just to get it out in the open and force Leo to consider the option he himself had been contemplating a few moments earlier. It might be treasonous, but really, what else was there? He couldn’t let it go, no matter what his big brother said. It wasn’t in his nature to do so, and Leo knew it.

“Well, as long as I’m up, anyone want some coffee?” Donnie, predictably, headed into the kitchen and pulled down a can of coffee from the cupboard. He scowled when he saw that there was only enough for maybe two pots left. That would never do. “Good thing you gave April the money for supplies, Leo. We’re almost out. And Mikey’s almost out of his precious sodas, too.”

“Yeah- coffee and sodas; God forbid we run outta’ ’DAT shit,” Raph sneered sarcastically, rolling his eyes. Leo shot him a dark glance for the language. Raphael just smirked back at him.

“Geez, dude, isn’t it kinda’ early for you to be such an ass?” Michelangelo carped, yawning as he shuffled into the room with a bleary-eyes gaze. Raph growled at him, but Leo just stepped between the two, knowing that if a fight broke out at such an early hour, Splinter would certainly punish them severely.

“Yeah, I think we should all just get an early start on preparations for the mission tonight. Mikey, since you’re up, you might as well start breakfast. It’s going to be a big day.”

Mikey groaned. “Man, I shoulda’ stayed in bed. Damned tyrant, is what YOU are, dude.” He griped lamely, but set to work preparing their morning meal- and never mind that it was more than an hour early. He sighed; it was going to be a LONG day.
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491

Joined: 28 Nov 2007, 20:55

17 Aug 2015, 06:42 #7

It's been a while, butI finally got another chapter up. This one is so gut-wrenching to write, because of the dark tone and the rather tragic twist to the mythos. It's just hard on my feels, LOL! But anyway, enjoy!

Chapter Five: This Is What We Do

A half hour later, breakfast was on the table, and all four brothers sat down to eat in silence, as their sensei shuffled in for his morning tea with onigiri rice balls, red bean paste-filled anpan sweet rolls, and miso soup. Not caring much for such fare, the turtles themselves were content to wolf down the toast, sausages, and poached eggs Michelangelo had prepared. Raphael continued to shoot glares at both Leo and their father- the first for having kept secrets from his brothers, and the latter for…. Well, for too many reasons to name.

Afterward, they endured the usual grueling morning workout- made even more so by Splinter’s residual anger over the previous night’s failure- before the aging rat left them to their own devices while he went off to watch his favorite daytime drama shows. Raph was too angry to let the matter go so easily, but he knew Leo was right about not getting the others involved. He understood that Leo’s pride and dignity would never survive the blow-up that would ensue, and their family would never be the same. He might disagree with his brother more often than not, but they were more alike than he liked to admit, particularly where honor was concerned. Bringing it out into the open would cause the others to lose confidence in their leader, and that was something they could not afford- especially now.

Not knowing what else to do, he remained in the dojo after the others had wandered out to their own activities, pummeling his battered old punching bag for the millionth time. Seemed he was always hitting something, but it was never enough. It never made the pain and shame of his pathetic existence go away. Even in the heat of battle last night, when he’d been savagely trading blows with Bebop and Slash, it had still been there, that ever-present reminder that his life was empty. His entire purpose revolved around blood and death. He was sick of it, to be brutally honest. But there was little he could do about it- and the one thing he COULD do, Leo had utterly forbidden as treasonous.

Leo, on the other hand, padded silently off to his room to meditate and plan. He knew they could not afford to leave anything to chance; there was too much at stake this time. Still… What if they failed again? What if…. No, he refused to let himself be distracted by fear or doubt. If they didn’t succeed tonight, they would need a contingency plan. He went over every possible outcome in his mind, and eventually, he came to a decision. His brothers might not like it, but in the end, perhaps it would be for the best. Of course, they might not even go along with it, but he was certain that once they understood the reasons, they would see that it was the only way. They were family; they were loyal to each other. He was counting on that.

Mikey retreated to his own room, his personal sanctuary, where he could at least pretend that life was good, by immersing himself in his comics and hand-held video games. His brothers often derided him for his hobbies, but the truth was that it was his way of escaping the life they were forced into. He had always daydreamed of a different life- one where they were invisible heroes, rather than the vicious killers Splinter had made them. As much as he enjoyed playing his “games” with their targets, it was hollow pleasure at best, much like what he did with April. It meant nothing, in the end. He wanted to do something that was worthwhile, something that really mattered. Slaughtering helpless innocents felt empty; pointless bloodshed that always left him feeling disgusted afterward, no matter how fun it was at the moment.

Donatello, meanwhile, had waited until everyone else left the kitchen, before he put his own contingency in place. He had been up late, as usual, and while he’d been watching his videos, an idea had come to him. As often as they relied on his knowledge and skills with technology and machines, his brothers- and Splinter, even more so- tended to forget that he was skilled and knowledgeable in other areas, too. He was exercising that knowledge now. If nothing else, he would have the satisfaction of having the last laugh if they failed. It was the least he could do for his brothers.

The best part was that by the time it became apparent, it would be much too late to undo. It took so little time to implement, yet it would be so satisfying in its very simplicity that he almost wished he could be there to watch. When he had finished, he took a thermos of coffee- most likely the last he would ever enjoy- and went back into his workshop to continue working on the problem of the security at Ima-Gen. He spent the next few hours trying to crack the newest upgrades in their system, hoping to find the weakness that would give them the time they needed to do their job.

All too soon, it was time for their early evening practice, and once again, the old rat made them work harder than usual, his tail lashing in agitation every time one of them faltered, and forcing them to begin again. For once, there were no complaints, for all four were walking on eggshells around their sensei, understanding that he would tolerate no protests or arguments. Dinner was a simple meal of chicken gyoza dumplings, a nabe stew of udon noodles, sweet potato, daikon radishes, and bamboo shoots, and edemame- boiled soybeans with wasabi and soy sauce. As usual, Mikey had outdone himself in the kitchen, though he had saved back some of the left-over marinara sauce and meat from their spaghetti the night before, and combined it with sliced pepperoni and grated mozzarella to make what he called pizza gyoza. Splinter merely sniffed and turned up his nose at them, but the other turtles had eagerly wolfed them down, grateful for anything that took their minds off of the task ahead of them. Besides, they were pretty damned good, and since they could rarely ever get to eat actual pizza, the dumplings were the next best thing.

Soon, however, dinner was over and they knew it was time. They took their time preparing to leave, knowing that it might very well be the last mission they ever undertook; they were in no hurry to do so, for their sensei’s ultimatum was very much on all of their minds. Yet they could only stall for so long. Eventually, the impatient thumping of their Master’s tail- and his cold glare- sent the four brothers scurrying out into the night to make another attempt at stealing the data from the Ima-Gen computer network.

They had gone several blocks underground, before finally emerging out into a dark alley littered with garbage, and stinking of rotten food and the urine of passing transients. This was their world- the shadowy underbelly of the city, where a knife-blade or a drug needle were the two most common causes of death. They were at home in seedy neighborhoods where the wise locked their doors, barred their windows, and stayed inside after dark. Swiftly climbing up a fire-escape to the top of a tenement building that was home to more rats and cockroaches than humans, they began a fast trot across the rooftops, leaping the gaps between with ease, never missing a stride as they made their way toward their goal.

All four reveled in the relative freedom of these runs, sometimes playing a game of “ninja-tag” as they went, content for a few brief moments just to pretend they were no different than any other teens playing games and having fun. They tried to pretend they were simply out for a lark, enjoying the cool night breezes that whipped through the man-made canyons of New York’s streets. It never lasted, though. The grim reality of their station in life always came crashing down on them.

Tonight was to be no different, it seemed. They had nearly reached their destination when Leonardo suddenly skidded to a halt. He’d seen a flash of movement out of the corner of his eyes, something that did not belong here, in their empty, quiet rooftop world. The others saw him pause, and all stopped instantly, realizing their leader had caught something amiss. Leo was good at that. He sometimes seemed to have a sixth sense for when trouble was headed their way, and he had been right often enough that they all heeded his warnings.

Donnie turned to glance his way, his expression asking a silent question. The eldest responded with a slight nod, flicking his gaze toward a water tower atop the next building. Without turning to look, Donnie nodded back, and moved in close, beckoning the other two to join them.

“Leo? What’s up, dude?” Mikey asked softly, understanding without being told that something was wrong. As often as the others joked that he was the “dumb one”, he knew well enough when there was danger afoot.

“Yeah, bro- what’d ya’ stop for?” Raphael grumbled.

“We’re being watched. From over there, I think. I saw something. It wasn’t much, but- I think I saw one of the shadows beneath that tower move.” The blue-clad turtle said softly.

“So what do we do about it?” Michelangelo asked, casting a sidelong glance in the direction his brother had mentioned.

“I say we go over ’dere and bust somebody’s skull. No witnesses, remember?” Raph growled, cracking his knuckles. That had always been Splinter’s rule- leave no trace of their presence, and no living soul as witness of their existence. Raph relished the last part, sometimes a bit more than he liked to admit.

“Calm down Raph. Why do you always have to turn every mission into a bloodbath? It lacks class.” Donnie chided, rolling his eyes. He preferred doing things more discreetly, and the fewer bodies they left behind, the less suspicious the humans would be, in his book.

“Donnie’s right. We’ve been getting careless lately, and doing too much unnecessary killing. It’s sloppy and dangerous.” Leo admonished the often bloodthirsty member of their family. He understood Raph’s anger and frustration- of course he did- but he knew that simply killing anyone who crossed their path was not the best way to do their job.

“Yeah, whatever, Leo. Figures you’d side wit’ ’da nerd.” Raph grumbled with a glare at the eldest. “So what are we gonna’ do?”

“We’ll pretend to continue on to the Ima-Gen building, and when we drop to that lower building over there, I’ll break off and circle around behind whoever is spying on us. I’ll signal you when I’m in position to strike. Then you guys can double back and we’ll take them down.” He pointed to the next block down; the others nodded understanding of his plan, and they all broke and began to run again.

As soon as they had cleared the edge of the hotel next to the office building Leo had indicated, leaping down to continue their run, Leonardo grabbed the casement, and swung down to the window below, then made his way across the narrow ledge outside until he reached the corner. He quickly threw out a grapple- padded to silence any sound of metal- and swung around to the next block over, where he repeated the move until he was on the opposite side of the building with the water tower on top. He silently climbed up the fire escape, drawing one of his blades as he approached the roof. He peeked over the edge of the roof, but found it utterly empty. There was nothing.

Confused but cautious, he slipped over the edge and crouched low, scanning for any sign of whomever had been there. Surely he hadn’t been wrong? He moved closer to the tower, his keen eyes searching the shadows for movement. Still nothing. He was just beginning to relax and signal his brothers on their cells that it was a false alarm, when he heard a tiny sound above him- from atop the tower itself. Belatedly, he remembered that threats could come from ANY direction, and looked up. He was too late. A flash of something dark above him caught his eye, but then he felt something sharp against the side of his neck. A blade.

“I would not move, if I were you,” said a soft, lilting feminine voice. “You are very clever, Leonardo, but not clever enough. I anticipated your little trap as soon as I saw that you had disappeared.” He knew that voice, though he’d only ever heard it once before.

“Hello, Lotus. What brings you here, if I might ask? This is a bit outside your usual territory, isn’t it?” He felt the blade move slightly, and slowly turned to face the owner of the voice. He could smell the heady fragrance of her perfume- the flower whose name she bore, and a hint of rose. It was damned near intoxicating, much like the woman herself.

“I have come to speak with you, Leonardo. I wish to make you an offer. Will you listen?” She stepped back from him, still holding her tanto up, but moving just out of her blade’s reach of his neck. She was allowing him the space to defend himself if it came to a fight, affording him a warrior’s honor. He said nothing, but lowered his own blade for the moment, nodding his acquiescence. For now.

“I was hired once again by Krang, to aid in your destruction. But I would rather it not come to that. I admire your skill and discipline; it would be a shame to waste such talent needlessly. So I give you a choice- turn away from the path you and your brothers now follow, and you may live. It is not too late to redeem yourselves, Leo-san.” She gave him an imploring look, hoping to draw on his sense of honor and pride.

Leonardo gazed at the young woman before him, and- not for the first time- found himself contemplating a different kind of life, one where he and his brothers were free to be something more than cold-hearted killers. But aside from that, he had always admired her beauty and skill with a blade. She was every bit as good as he was, a fact which had often led him to fantasize about pitting their respective talents against one another in a friendly competition. They had only met once, yet…. Something about her had sparked something in him, a desire to know more about her, and perhaps to become something other than enemies. Friends, perhaps? Or- he shook his head, dismissing the thought as preposterous.

“You are offering us a job? Lotus, you of all people should know that a ninja’s path is not his own to choose. This is what we were born to do, it is why we were created.” Even as he said it, the words sounded hollow in his own ears. They left a bitter taste that made him want to spit.

“It does not have to be this way. You can be more than this, if only you will turn back. You could do so much good, all of you. Why do you choose to stay with your master? He is cruel, and cares nothing for you.” Lotus tried reminding him of what he and his brothers meant to the old rat, but it did little good. He simply sighed, and shook his head sadly.

“You don’t understand. We owe him our lives- our loyalty. I’m sorry.” Leo answered with a finality that told her he had already made his choice. She looked at him sadly, knowing it to be the wrong one.

“You are wrong, Leonardo. You owe him NOTHING. He keeps the four of you chained by this belief, doing what he wishes because he has filled you all with the poison of his lies and hate. But that poison will destroy you if you do not change!” Lotus pleaded once more, hoping in vain that she could convince them to walk away from the one who had turned them into monsters.

Leo turned away, well aware that he was turning his back on an enemy, but he didn’t care at that moment. In a way, he almost hoped she would strike him down and end the battle for good. She was right, and he could feel it already. The rage and darkness had long ago seeped into the core of their being, snuffing out whatever light had been there once. They were- broken. Lost. And worst of all, he knew there was no way back.

“It’s too late,” he whispered softly, “Too little, too late. There IS no other path for us- he saw to that.” And without warning, he whirled and raised his blade to cut her down, knowing that this was the only way they could ever meet- in battle.

Lotus grimaced as she brought her own blade up to parry; she had expected this, though it saddened her that it should come to violence at all. His gaze hardened as their swords met with a clash, and he stepped back and to the side, his blade spinning lazily in his hand before he swung in from the side. She twisted to meet it, and their weapons rang out again in the ancient song of war.

She changed her stance, becoming more aggressive, and thrust at his middle. He crouched low and to the right, deftly swiping his own blade at her leading knee even while avoiding her own attack. Leo leapt up over the upward slash of her next attack, then blocked another, deflecting her movement with his katana and knocking her blade off course. He pivoted in toward her, reaching up with his free hand to pull backward on her long black hair. Her own sword barely came up in time to stop his katana from slicing into her midsection, and she was forced to kick up with one foot at his head to make him let go. She spun on her other foot to face him again as he backed off, falling back into a more defensive position.

Leonardo tried to press the attack again, slowly pushing her back toward the edge of the roof. Lotus soon realized this, however, and dove suddenly to kick out at his legs, slicing across at his middle at the same time as a distraction. It didn’t work. He slashed down at her while she was on the ground; she brought her tanto up to parry, the two blades screeching against each other again.

“You have improved, Leonardo,” she panted, impressed. “Why must we fight? You could come with me and be a TRUE shinobi warrior, not merely a hired killer.” She knew it was useless, but she couldn’t resist trying.

“And abandon my brothers? You don’t know me very well,” he replied, growling darkly at her suggestion.

“Of course not,” she huffed, slicing at his head. He tucked it into his shell for a moment to avoid the attack, smirking at her frustration over the move when it popped back up. It was a dick move, to be sure, one no human could make, and she hated that he was capable of removing the target from her reach so easily. “They may come, too, of course. But surely you must realize that your current path can only lead to destruction? Is that truly what you want for yourself? For THEM?” She must have hit a nerve with that last remark, for he growled and slashed angrily at her legs.

But then he hesitated. Perhaps she was getting to him, after all. His blade wavered, and he finally growled and turned around, taking off at a run- back toward where his brothers were fast approaching. “Stay out of this, Lotus. I don’t want to have to kill you, but I will, if you persist. Forget about Krang, and us, and go back home. What happens to us is none of your concern.” He called back over his shoulder as he leapt across the gap to the next rooftop. Lotus merely shook her head sadly, and sighed.

“No, Leonardo, you are wrong,” she said softly to herself as she watched him race into the night. “I care for you too much to let it end like this. Like it or not, you ARE my concern….”
"Well, this is another fine myth you've gotten us into..."
-from "Myth Directions"

"Where Science ends, magic begins." -Spiral, Uncanny X-Men #491