The Way to a Turtle's Heart
The call came as a surprise to everyone. April had requested that they come to this small Japanese restaurant on the edge of town. She wouldn’t say why, only that they wouldn’t be disappointed. And so, they all took off across the roofs, fantasizing about what their friend wanted.
“Why do you think April called us?” Mikey wondered aloud.
“No clue.” Hisako replied, vaulting over a particularly wide jump. “My powers don’t stretch that far.”
“And she didn’t say anything else when she called?” Leo asked.
“Nope.” Donny answered. “But we’ll find out soon. We’re almost there.”
The turtles landed in a back alley beside a noodle shop called ‘Murakami’s 24/7 Noodles’. April was waiting for them, a long coat pulled around her against the chill of the night. As they landed, they all greeted her with high threes, or in Hisako’s case, a hug.
“Hey April.” Leo greeted as his sister finally released the redhead.
“Hey guys.” April replied. “I’m glad you guys showed. I’ve got some big news.”
“You and Casey are getting married?” Mikey guessed.
April’s face turned about a red as her hair as Raph slapped the orange turtle upside the head.
“What?” Mikey protested. “It’s not too far-fetched.”
“What is it, April?” Leo asked, ignoring his sibling.
April shook her head, clearing her thoughts, then undid her coat. She opened it up to reveal a yellow uniform that read ‘24/7 Noodle’ on the right breast pocket. Her name was on the other pocket, along with the words ‘delivery girl’
“I finally managed to get a paying job!” she declared happily.
“That’s great!” Donnie declared.
“Way to go!” Hisako proclaimed
“Woohoo!” Mikey cheered.
Raph crossed his arms and smirked.
“From intern at a highly respected technology firm to delivering noodles for ten bucks a bowl.” Raph quipped. “Kinda a downgrade don’t ya think?”
“Well, if you learned that the idol you’d looked up to since you were a kid was a psychotic sociopath, wouldn’t you want a career change?” April shot back.
Mikey thought for a moment, then shivered.
“I just imagined Splinter as a supervillain.” Mikey told them. “With razor sharp teeth, claws, and a cane that-”
Before he could go on, Raph gave him another smack on the back of the head.
“Besides,” April continued, ignoring Mikey’s antics. “I get paid here, even if it is only ten bucks a bowl.”
“We’re all happy for you April, but why not tell us over the phone?” Leo asked. “It’s not like we can come in and order anything.”
“Actually, you can.” She informed them, much to their collective surprise. “All of you can, not just Hisako.”
“Why?” Donnie asked. “The manager pro-mutant or something?”
“Something.” April answered, opening the side door into the restaurant. “Just follow me.”
“...Ok.” Leo responded hesitantly.
They all entered the restaurant, the smell of genuine Japanese food wafting through the building. The turtles and Hisako took in a whiff and immediately fell in love with the place. As if to add to the genuine feel of the place, the restaurant was decorated with Japanese paintings, shelves of antique Japanese pottery, and even a katana displayed over the main desk.
“Whoa… It’s like we’ve stepped through a portal to Japan...” Mikey commented.
“Couldn’t have put it any better, bro.” Raph agreed.
“Very cool.” Leo admitted.
About that time, an old man emerged from the kitchen. He was wearing a red outfit that resembled a Meiji era-styled garb. He had stark white hair that was tied back with a piece of cloth, and his eyes were completely glassy and blank.
He was blind.
“Guys, this is Mr. Murakami.” April greeted, gesturing to the old man. “He’s the owner of the shop, and my new boss.”
Mr. Murakami gave a respectful bow in their direction.
“It is a pleasure to meet the friends that April-chan has mentioned so often.” he greeted, his voice heavily accented and wizened.
“Thank you, Murakami-san.” Leo replied, “It’s an honor to meet you as well”
The turtles all gave a similar bow before straightening up.
“April-chan has informed me that your family is responsible for keeping the streets of this fair city clean of all filth.” he explained.
“We do what we can.” Raph said.
“Then allow me to show you my gratitude.” He replied. “There are five of you, correct? Four young men, and a young woman?”
“Right.” Donny answered.
“Then please take a seat.” Murakami insisted, gesturing to a private table rear the rear of the restaurant. “I will have a meal ready for all of you shortly.”
April’s eyes began to sparkle.
“Trust me you guys, this is gonna be good.” she told them. “Just sit back and enjoy the show.”
The turtles and Hisako all settled into the seats, grateful for the clear view of the kitchen as Mr. Murakami cracked his knuckles. He then heated the stove to boil water then turned around and grabbed some vegetables for the soup. He then took out a knife and chopped them at exceptional speed, one right after the other without ever laying down the knife. Once he was done with that, he grabbed a thing of noodles and placed them into the water and added the broth.
The turtles and Hisako were completely amazed by the show on display.
“Wow.” Donnie marveled. “Mr. Murakami you are amazing.”
“You’re a like a ninja, but for food.” Mikey commented.
Finally, Murakami finished the dishes and presented them to his customers.
“Five orders of my restaurant’s famous noodle soup.” He said, waving his hands over the dishes. “Enjoy.”
If heaven had a smell, then it would be this soup. All five of the Hamato siblings eagerly licked their lips, then dug into their soup. They slurped it down, gulping the broth and slurping the noodles with gusto. Mr. Murakami chuckled at the sounds as April winced at her friend’s horrible manners.
“I take it your friends are enjoying themselves.” Murakami noted, a small smile on his face.
“Yeah.” April agreed reluctantly. “Perhaps a bit too much.”
Within three minutes, the bowls of soup were gone, and all five of them looked like they’d been to heaven and back.
“Wow...” Donny sighed happily. “It’s like I took a one way trip to Flavor-Ville”
“You said it, Don.” Raph agreed. “I think we’ve just found a new restaurant to enjoy.”
Mikey let out a belch after finishing his.
“Excuse me.” Mikey let out.
Everyone chuckled, then Mr. Murakami perked up. His face fell a bit as he straightened, making his way towards the front of the restaurant.
“Please excuse me.” he told them. “It would see I have more guests to attend to.”
There was the sound of a bell as the front door opened, then the sounds of heavy footfalls, several of them. Hisako’s fist clenched.
“Guys, we got trouble.” he whispered. “Purple dragons.”
“Let’s just play it cool for now.” Leo instructed. “We don’t want to cause a scene unless we have to.”
Everyone nodded, then they jumped onto the rafters, climbing towards the front of the restaurant. There, they saw a group of about five purple dragons approach the front counter. About two took up a table near the door, propping their boots on them as another pair leaned against the wall. The fifth, most likely the leader of the group, leaned on the counter with a cruel smirk. Mr. Murakami approached the counter, his face devoid of emotion.
“Can I help you gentlemen?” Murakami asked.
“Yeah.” The leader announced. “Ya see, my boys and I here are in need of some money. Ya know, a little something to help us do the town. We was hoping you’d be willing to lend us some.”
“I’m afraid I’ve been a bit short of business lately,” Murakami replied. “I cannot help you.”
“Aww, that’s too bad.” The leader remarked.
That’s when the guy drew a gun, aiming it right at Mr. Murakami’s forehead. Surprisingly, the man didn’t even flinch, despite the distinct sound of the hammer being pulled back,
“What about that sword ya got there?” The leader asked. “I bet that’s fetch a pretty penny. Maybe ya can let me have it. It should cover the cost.”
“It is just for decoration.” Murakami dismissed, though there was a strange note to his voice, as if he was lying. “It is worth nothing.”
“Then I don’t think you’d mind if I-”
Before the thug could even think about reaching for the blade, a halo of green energy surrounded the gun, yanking it upwards. Hisako snagged it, then took it apart manually, tossing the pieces aside.
“I do believe the man said no.” She commented, coming down from the rafters, “So kindly beat it.”
“Or we’ll beat you.” Raph added.
The purple dragons all jumped to their feet, their eyes wide with fright.
“It’s them!” One of them screamed. “It’s the-”
Donny throat-punched the screaming dragon before he could get another word out.
“I think that’s enough out of you.” he proclaimed.
“G-Get them!” The leader demanded.
“Take em down guys.” Leo ordered.
The turtles and Hisako ran towards the purple dragons. Raph kneed one of them in the gut and then kicked him in the chest sending him flying behind the counter. When the guy recovered, he grabbed one of the knives from the kitchen, holding it up in defense. Raph brandished his sai with a grin.
Donny was dealing with a purple dragon who managed to grab a kitchen knife. Don was able to dodge each slice that was directed at him. He then delivered a powerful kick that sent him flying towards Mikey, who was able to just barely able to dodge him.
“Hey I’m fighting here!” Mikey called out.
“Sorry Mikey!” Donny called in apology
Mikey continued blocking the attacks from the purple dragon he was facing while backing towards the counter. When Mikey felt a bowl make contact with his shell, he grabbed it then broke it over the purple dragons head, knocking him out.
“Forgive me, excellent noodles.” Mikey apologized.
Hisako drew her fans against her dragon, who was attempting to punch at her. She easily dodged his feeble attacks, even going so far as to yawn once. Finally, the guy made an attempt to grab her, only to find himself grabbed instead, and flipped into a table. It buckled under the sudden force and cracked. Hisako winced.
“Sorry Murakami-san!” she called.
“A table is a small price to pay for the sanctity of my restaurant.” Murakami replied with no sign of anger in his voice.
Leo was having only the slightest difficulty deflecting the attacks of his opponent, the leader of the dragons. Leo then grabbed an oncoming fist, then gave the dragon an uppercut, then a kick to the chest. Leo then turned around to check on his siblings, not noticing the leader getting up with a pocket knife in hand. Before anyone could react, the dragon jumped forward slicing Leo on the arm, causing him to let out a shout of pain.
“Leo!” the other cried out.
Leo then mustered enough strength to kick the dragon hard enough to send him flying into a wall.
“Get out of here!” Leo ordered.
The dragons all scrambled to their feet, picking up their unconscious comrades and dragging them away. Mr. Murakami disappeared into the kitchen for a moment, reappearing with a medical kit.
“Take this.” he insisted. “I can smell the blood.”
“Thank you Murakami-san.” Leo said graciously.
Donny took the kit and immediately got to work patching Leo’s arm. Mikey and Hisako went to aid April and Mr. Murakami in clean up as Raph sat down beside his brother.
“Leo, what happened back there?” he asked, “You usually see attacks like that coming a mile away.”
“I guess he just got the better of me.” Leo reasoned.
“Pfft.” Raph snorted. “A purple dragon? No way.”
“It’s no big deal.” Leo continued. “It’s just a scratch. If anything, the dragon got worse.”
“Still, Raph has a point.” Donny insisted. “I mean, you never, ever, let your guard down so quickly.”
“Guys it was just one fight.” Leo defended. “It’s not a problem. Besides, those purple dragons are long gone, and we’ll probably never have to deal with them again.”
The group of five purple dragons all cowered before Oroku Saki, who glared down at them like a wolf on a wounded lamb.
“You encountered the turtles?” he questioned. “And yet you still let them defeat you?”
“W-well, y-you see...” The leader began, “W-we didn’t think they’d be there. B-but I managed t-to get a c-cut on the blue one.”
This caught the interest of Saki.
“Really?” he questioned.
“Y-yeah.” The leader replied, fumbling for his pocket to pull out his pocket knife. “See? That’s his blood!”
Karai, who had been leaning against a nearby pillar, looked at the knife in surprise. Saki was even more so.
“Very well then. Leave us!” he commanded.
The purple dragons all scrambled for the door, grateful to escape with their lives.
“It seems your little outings with the turtle have weakened his focus in battle.” Saki surmised.
“Well, I guess keeping him out all night could do that.” Karai remarked, coming out from where she stood. “I may not have been able to plant the tracker, but it seems I’ve done something even better.”
“Continue your efforts.” Saki instructed. “We can use his fascination with you to our advantage.”
“Of course.” She replied. “I guess the way to a turtle’s head… is through their heart.”
It was the middle of the night when Leo’s phone began to buzz, rousing the blue turtle from his slumber. Fumbling for his phone, he answered it without even bothering to check the caller ID.
“Hello?” he answered with a yawn.
"Leonardo!" Karai’s voice called out. ”You awake?"
Leo sat up in bed, now completely awake.
“I am now.” he replied. “What’s up?”
"I had so much fun the other night." She told him. ”Tonight, I managed to find this skate park that was closed down about a year ago. Ever try riding a skateboard?"
“... A little.” he told her. “Though Mikey is more of the skateboard guy.”
"Well you’re about to be one too. Meet me at 87 Thurston Avenue. I’ll bring the boards, you bring the snacks."
Karai hung up first as Leo began to try and maneuver his way out of bed. Unfortunately, his attempts were almost immediately thwarted by Mikey rolling over, his arm coming around Leo’s neck like he was a teddy bear.
“Don’t eat me Pizza face...” Mikey sleepily muttered.
Leo carefully moved Mikey’s arm off him and got up off the bed. He grabbed some clothes from the ever growing laundry pile by the door, shedding his pajamas as he made his way out of the lair.
Karai grinned as she heard the familiar sound of Leo’s bike pulling up. Leo turned off his bike before getting off and heading over to Karai.
“Miss me?” he asked.
“I did.” she admitted before tossing a fair sized rock at Leo’s head. “But my aim’s gittin better!”
“Ha-ha.” Leo laughed sarcastically. “Very funny.”
“What?” she asked. “Should I have used a bigger rock?”
“Do you write stand-up comedy for a living?” he asked in a playful tone.
“Nah.” she replied. “My day job is dragging hapless teenagers out of their beds in the middle of the night to teach them to do incredibly dangerous stunts behind their family’s back.”
“How much does it pay?” he questioned jokingly.
“With what looks like a large pizza and a pair of two liters.” Karai remarked, looking at Leo’s snack stash.
“Sounds like a great job.” Leo noted taking out the snacks. “Think you can give me a recommendation to your boss?”
“Heh, don’t count on it. This job is mine and mine alone. And you’re keeping me from it.”
She reached behind the rock she had been sitting on, grabbing a pair of skateboards.
“Pick a board and let’s see what you know.” She insisted.
After several hours of skateboarding shenanigans, and more than few falls on Leonardo’s part, the two parted ways for home. Leo drove the bike back to the garage, putting it in its usual spot. After stashing the equipment, he slipped back into his pajamas and back into bed for some much needed rest.
Unfortunately for the blue turtle, said rest only lasted about an hour or so.
“My children!” Splinter called. “It is time to awaken!”
Everyone else slowly rose from bed, hair everywhere, especially in Hisako’s case. Mikey snickered a bit at the sight, until the object of ridicule quickly tackled him and gave him a noogie.
“Help!” he yelled. “I’m being attacked by a hair monster!”
“I’ll show you hair monster you neon turtle monster!” Hisako playfully threatened
On any other morning, Leo would have been trying to get in between the two. However, this morning, he was barely able to keep his eyes open. A fact that didn’t go unnoticed by the brains of the group.
“You ok Leo?” Donnie asked. “You don’t look so good.”
“I’m fine Donnie.” Leo said with a large yawn. “Just need time to wake up.
“You sure?” Donny insisted. “I mean, usually you give Mikey a run for his money in the early bird department.”
“Hard time sleeping last night.” Leo lied, clenching his fist unconsciously as he said it. “I’m sure I’ll feel better soon.”
Despite Leo’s words of assurance, things quickly went downhill for the blue turtle. Karai began calling him more and more, each time with a different nightly activity for him to participate in. Sometimes they would just ride around on the motorcycles enjoying the town, other times she would be showing him new tricks on the skateboard. One time, they even went and just star gazed for hours.
Unfortunately, for every night Leo spent with Karai, there was a day of a very exhausted and sloppy Leo. He began losing focus during training, falling behind on their stealth runs, and he even began losing training matches left right and center. This all came to a head after about a month, when Leo did the unthinkable.
He fell asleep during meditation.
At first, nobody had noticed it, all of them focused on clearing their minds and relaxing. However, their train of thought was interrupted by the sound of snoring. Raph let out a barely audible groan as he cracked open a single eye.
“Wake up Mikey.” he hissed.
Mikey also cracked open an eye.
“It’s not me, Raphie-boy.” Mikey told him softly.
“Well then, who is it?” Raph asked quietly.
Another snore came out, a bit louder this time. Master Splinter, who was also finding it hard to concentrate, opened his eyes to see which of his children had fallen asleep. When he figures out who, he was more than a bit surprised.
“Leonardo?” Splinter spoke, trying to wake him up.
Leo’s head was sagged forward, a slight snore coming from him. Mikey, who was sitting next to him, gave him a poke to the head. Leo snapped awake like he’d been shocked.
“I’m awake!” Leo said in a shock.
Leo looked around at his siblings and Master looking at him with confused and surprised expressions.
“Leonardo, are you feeling well?” Master Splinter questioned.
“Yeah, you’ve got bags under your eyes as dark as Master Splinter’s fur.” Mikey quipped before turning to his sensei. “No offense, Sensei.”
“I’m fine.” Leo tried to reassure them. “Just a little tired that’s all.”
Master Splinter’s eyes narrowed a bit, then gave a small nod.
“Then perhaps it would be best for you to take a nap in your bedroom so you do not disturb your siblings.” He suggested.
"Hai Sensei.” Leo agreed.
Leo got up and went to his room as Splinter instructed. As he left, Hisako closed her eyes, attempted to peer into her brother’s mind. However, she found herself stopped by a very well-fortified mind block. It seemed Leo didn’t want her in his mind, which only added to the suspicious feeling growing in her stomach.
“Master Splinter,” she began. “I think Leo’s hiding something.”
Master Splinter raised an eyebrow at Hisako’s declaration.
“What would make you say so?” he inquired.
“Well,” Hisako sighed as she began, “he’s been neglecting his training, he’s exhausted, even though he goes to bed when we all do, and he’s got mental walls up that rival yours Sensei.”
Splinter was intrigued by what Hisako had told him, particularly that last part. Everyone else also spoke up, having held the same suspicion for a while now.
“I have to agree with Hisako on this one.” Donny admitted. “Leo’s been distance for the past month, and frankly, I don’t think this is the first time he’s dozed off during meditation.”
“Yeah, something’s up with Leo.” Raph declared, “Question is, what?”
“Maybe he’s got a secret girlfriend.” Mikey suggested.
The others all looked at Mikey like he’d gone mad. However, that’s when they all remembered the pink-haired girl that Leo had been going goo-goo eyed over not too long ago.
“You don’t think-?” Donny began.
“No way.” Raph argued.
“Leo wouldn’t-” Hisako added.
“But he might.” Mikey countered.
Master Splinter let out a cough, drawing his students’ attention.
“Is there something the four of you would like to tell me?” he asked in his ‘dad’ voice.
The others looked at each other nervously before turning back to Splinter.
“Well...” Donny began. “You see Sensei… awhile back… we were doing our nightly training… when-”
“When Leo got distracted by this hot chick with pink hair!” Mikey interjected.
“Mikey!” The others, sans Splinter, shouted.
“What do you mean by ‘distracted’?” Splinter questioned.
Hisako answered this one.
“We were racing to Mario Brothers.” she explained. “When he didn’t show up, we went looking and found him watching this girl from a lamp post. He was acting funny back then, but we brushed it off.”
“We figures Leo would be the last of us to make a mistake like that.” Donny agreed.
“Yeah, though now I’m thinking we should have pressed him harder.” Raph muttered.
Splinter stroked his chin, thinking about what his children had told him. None of it bode well, both for Leonardo, and for their family as a whole.
“I suggest that we all keep an eye on Leonardo.” he decided. “And if he is doing something that could jeopardize our secret, then I believe the time for questions will end, and the time for answers will begin.”
The others nodded in response as the resumed meditation.
That night, Leo laid in bed, watching his siblings sleep quietly. Once he was sure they were awake, he slipped his shell cell out from under his pillow, turning on the text messenger.
“We still on for tonight?” He sent.
After less than a minute, he got a reply.
"You bet we are. Meet me by the interstate overpass, and be prepared for the race of a lifetime."
“I look forward to it.” he texted back.
Slipping out from under his blanket with practiced stealth, having forgone changing into pajamas to save time, Leo made his way up out of the lair and into the garage.
At the interstate overpass, Karai waited with a group of about five of her biker buddies, all of whom were experts in the field of bike racing. As Leo pulled up, he was mildly surprised by the number of people present.
“Leonardo!” Karai called. “Glad you could make it. Hope you don’t mind that I invited a few buddies tonight.”
“Uh… no.” he replied. “Not at all.”
“Great.” she told him. “Cause I’ve told them about you and how great of a rider you are. Problem is, they don’t seem to believe me, so that’s why I arranged this.”
She climbed onto her bike and pulled her helmet on.
“Ready for your first street race?” she asked.
“Bring it.” he responded with a smirk.
Lining up at the light, the group revved their engines as the light turned from red to green. In that split second that the light changed, the riders all sped down the road at top speeds, cheers and shouts mingling with the sounds of motorcycle engines.
Hisako slowly opened her eyes. They quickly snapped open when she realized where she was. She was back there, back in TCRI. She looked down to see she was strapped down to an operating table hooked up to a series of monitors.
“No… Not again...”
She struggled to free herself from the table, her movements becoming more and more frantic. However, the more she struggled, the tighter the straps seemed to get. She then looked over to see her brothers in similar restraints, struggling to free themselves.
“Guys!” she called out.
Just then, the sound of footsteps filled the air. She looked over and saw a face she hoped she’d never see again.
“Stockman...” she gasped.
The man let out a maniacal laugh as he grabbed a large knife from a nearby table. The blade was coated in red liquid that covered the tray, as well at the doctor’s hands, arms, and chest.
“Haven’t you learned by now, Oracle?” the man cruelly chuckled. “Nothing will keep you from me. Not even your precious brothers!”
Stockman lifted the knife over Mikey’s restrained body, bringing it down numerous times. Hisako screamed and cried, shouting her brother’s name.
Hisako sat up, her eyes glowing brightly as a few small household objects went flying away from her. She let out a blood curdling scream, one that pulled everyone from their slumber. Raph, Donny, and Mikey all launched upward, grabbing their sister as she gasped for air and tried desperately to regain composure. Master Splinter also emerged from his room, kneel down beside the large bed.
“Hisako, it’s okay!” Raph insisted.
“It was just a dream, my child.” Splinter added.
Hisako was hyperventilating, stammering so fast and hard that her words were completely unintelligible. Donny took hold of her arms, making her face him.
“Hisako, Hisako.” He called out to her over her desperate stammers. “Sis, what’s your name?”
Hisako looked at her brother, trying to answer his question.
“H-Hamato… Hisako…” she said, slowly regaining control over her breathing.
“What are you?” Donny questioned.
“A-a kunoichi.” She answered.
“And what are you not?” Donny finished.
While Donny worked on pulling Hisako back to reality, Raph moved up beside her, wrapping his arm and his blanket around her. Mikey went and found Klunk, pulling the orange tabby from his bed and gently placing him in Hisako’s lap. Her arms wrapped around the cat as she began repeating the answers to Donny’s questions over and over.
“My name is Hamato Hisako. I’m a kunoichi, not a project.” She whispered. “My name is Hamato Hisako. I’m a kunoichi, not a project.”
Splinter knelt down, taking Hisako in his arms. She leaned against him gratefully, finally calming down. Then, she noticed something that made her blood run cold.
“Where’s Leo?” she asked as her panic began to rise again.
The Hamato Clan glanced around the lair. Sure enough, Leo was nowhere to be seen. The turtles scattered, Donny checking Leo’s bedroom and Mikey checking the bathroom. Raph, however, had a different idea of where Leo may have been, though he was hoping that he was wrong. He scaled up the tunnel, making his way into the garage, and what he saw, or more appropriately, what he didn’t see, made his blood boil.
“He’s not in his room.” Donny declared.
“Not in the bathroom either.” Mikey added.
Raph dropped back into the lair, looking about as pissed as he was when Hisako went missing.
“He’s gone.” he snarled.
Everyone, especially Master Splinter, looked at the red turtle in surprise. Hisako visibly flinched at the word, causing Splinter to hold her closer
“Gone?” Splinter repeated.
“Yeah.” Raph growled. “He pinched my bike, my gear, and he’s gone.”
Donny grabbed his shell cell off his lab table, dialing Leo’s number. It rang a few times, then went to voicemail.
“He’s not answering his shell cell.” Donny informed them.
“Do you think he’s in trouble?” Mikey asked.
“If he’s not, he’s gonna be when I get my hands on him.” Raph snapped, snatching his pants and pulling them over his boxer shorts. “C’mon. Let’s go find him.”
Not even bothering to change clothes, the three brothers all grabbed their weapons and headed for topside. Hisako set Klunk back on the ground, grabbing her tessen belt and wrapping it around her nightgown.
“You can stay here if you want.” Splinter told her.
Hisako shook her head, sliding on a jacket.
“I have to go.” She told him. “Can I have my backpack?”
Splinter handed it to her, then watched as she took off after her brothers.
The four siblings raced across the rooftop, Donny taking the lead. He had a tracker in his hand, his eyes only leaving it when they came to the ends of rooftops.
“I still can’t believe you put a tracker in his shell cell.” Mikey chuckled.
“I put one in all our shell cells.” Donny corrected. “After what happened, I would have been an idiot not to.”
“He’s got a point, Mikey.” Hisako agreed.
“Are we catching up to him or not?!” Raph snapped.
Glancing back down at the tracker, the flashing blue dot that was Leo seemed to be moving at a surprisingly fast pace, even for on a motorcycle.
“He’s moving pretty fast.” Donny admitted. “He’s probably being chased or something, and even taking a few short cuts, it would be pretty hard to-”
That’s when the blue dot suddenly stopped moving. Donny felt his stomach drop.
“Guys, he stopped.”
All four of them instinctively picked up the pace. With Leo now stationary, they caught up to him in no time. They all drew their weapons, just in case Leo needed some help in a fight. However, as they reached their brother’s location, rather than hear the sounds of a fight, they heard laughing and cheering. Lots of it.
“What the shell?” Hisako whispered.
They all peered over the edge of the roof they were on and were immediately floored by what they saw. There was fairly large group of motorcycle riders, all of them laughing and leaning against their bikes, seemingly swapping stories. One of the bikers was wearing Raph’s gear and leaning on the shell cycle, obviously Leo.
“Umm, did Leo join a biker gang?” Mikey questioned.
Raph’s knuckles cracked audibly as he clutched his sai.
“Anybody else recognize that head of pink hair down there?” He growled.
They all looked to see Karai slapping Leo on the back, laughing happily. Through the helmet, they could see him laughing too, completely oblivious to the bazillion levels of wrong the scenario had.
“Okay, it’s official.” Raph declared. “I am going to ring his neck when he gets home.”
“You’re gonna have to get in line.” Hisako told him, her eyes glowing green.
Leo slid down the tunnel into the lair a few hours later, still chuckling happily as he remembered all the fun he had. As he stumbled toward the bed, the lights suddenly turned on, illuminating the entire lair. Leo froze as he slowly turned towards the light switch, where all of his siblings stood, arms crossed.
“Oh Leonardo.” Mikey called in a Ricky Ricardo accent. “You got some splainin’ to do.”
Leo gulped as he faced his angry siblings, sweat running down his face.
“Hey… guys...” he greeted nervously.
“Care to tell us where you were?” Donny asked.
Leo opened his mouth to answer, but Raph interrupted.
“I’ll tell you where you were!” He snapped. “You were out on my bike, hanging out with that pink-haired harlot and her biker buddies, completely disregarding EVERYTHING that we’ve been taught since we were BORN!”
Leo flinched at Raph’s shouts, feeling everything crashing down around him.
“Do you have any idea just how reckless your actions were?” Donny questioned. “What if any of those guys had seen your face?”
“I never took my helmet off.” Leo argued, his voice losing the nervousness.
“And you never lifted the visor?” Raph questioned accusingly.
Leo faltered a bit before answering.
“Only when it was dark enough that Karai wouldn’t-”
“You idiot!” Raph screamed. “We’d expect this level of stupidity from Mikey, but you?!”
“Yeah!” Mikey agreed, then he registered what Raph had said. “Hey!”
Leo looked at his brothers, then he turned to Hisako, who was surprisingly silent throughout this entire exchange. He met her eyes, and was surprised to find her face red. She’d been crying.
“Why aren’t you saying anything?” he asked.
Hisako stood up, her face devoid of emotion.
“I had a nightmare.” She explained. “A bad one.”
Leo suddenly felt lower than dirt.
“I was back There.” she continued. “We all were… And he-”
Her voice hitched and she visibly had to fight back tears. Leo didn’t need her to finish to know what she’d seen.
“Imagine seeing that, and then realizing that one of your brothers are missing.” She interrupted.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized. “I didn’t know.”
“And why didn’t you know?” Raph exclaimed. “Because you cared more about your secret girlfriend than you did your own family!”
“Raph that’s not true!” Leo argued.
That’s when a hand came down on Leo’s shoulder, one that made the blue turtle’s blood freeze. Ever so slowly, he looked up to see his father looking down at him, his face a mixture of disappointment and anger.
“Leonardo,” he began. “I must speak with you. In private.”
Hesitantly, Leo turned and followed Splinter into his master’s bedroom. The door slid closed behind him, but his siblings quickly gathered around it, wondering what exactly Leo’s punishment would be.
“My son...” Splinter began. “I cannot begin to express how disappointed I am in you. You have risked the very secret of our existence, neglected your responsibilities as leader of your siblings, and what is worse, you’ve lied to your siblings. Repeatedly.”
Leo was silent as Splinter berated him.
“I…. I’m sorry Sensei.” he apologized.
“Do you know why I made you leader, Leonardo?” Splinter asked. “It was because I believed I could trust you to always have this family’s best interest at heart. Now, you have broken that trust that I have given you.”
“I know Master.” he acknowledged. “I have no excuse.”
Splinter let out a sigh, then he held straightened up and met his son’s eyes.
“Until I feel that you have truly realized how much damage you have caused with your reckless actions, you will remain in the lair and make up the training you have neglected during your escapades. Is that understood?”
“... Hai Sensei.” Leo replied.
Splinter gave a small nod, then gestured for him to go. The blue turtle stood, then walked out of Splinter’s room. His siblings all looked at him, all of them still hurt by what had happened. Leo didn’t say a word to them. Instead, he simply walked into his bedroom, closing the door behind him.