Morning came as the turtles and Hisako awoke from their slumber. It had been about a week since Karai had busted up their home. Since then, the Hamato clan had continued to reside in April’s apartment. However, tension between the turtles was at an all-time high, and it all came to a head as Raph practically burst through April’s window into the living room.
“I take it reconnaissance didn’t go so well?” Donny guessed.
Raph kicked the coffee table in anger, sending his toppling onto its side and the tea resting on it flying. Hisako quickly caught the cups and the tea with her powers as Donny returned the table to its original position.
“That’s a resounding no.” Hisako replied, mentally placing the tea cups back on the table with the liquid safely contained.
“Those Foot goons are storming through the sewers!” Raph told them, flopping onto the couch with his arms in the air and crossing them as he landed. “Can’t so much as breathe without one of those guys lurking around!”
“Just give them time, my son.” Splinter told him from where he sat meditating. “They will eventually move on from their search. We must remain patient.”
Raph growled, then looked over at where Leo was sitting. The blue turtle had been in deep meditation since they’d been driven from their home. He blamed himself for everything that had happened, and had been working to try and come to terms with his mistakes ever since. Unfortunately, Leo’s desire to meditate just pissed Raph off even more.
“We’ve been patient for a week straight!” Raph pointed out, sitting forward and glaring at Leo. “All because our fearless leader had a crush!”
“Raph, stop.” Hisako told him, giving her brother a look that screamed ‘shut up’. “We can’t afford to do this right now.”
“Oh really?!” Raph snapped. “Because I think that I’ve been holding this in way too long! Leo screwed up, and he needs to man up and admit that he ain’t the perfect ninja he thinks he is!”
Leo’s fists clenched and his teeth ground together. Raph noticed this and stood up, approaching his mediating brother.
“What’s the matter, fearless?” he snarled. “Did I hit a nerve?”
Leo’s eyes opened as he got to his feet. His face was contorted by an anger that seemed so alien on the blue turtle’s face. He met his brother’s eyes, the two glaring at each other with looks that would have incinerated one or both of them if they had the power.
“What do you want from me Raph?” Leo asked infuriated. “How many times do I have to say I’m sorry?!”
“I’ll let you know when you actually start saying it!” Raph exclaimed.
“Both of you!” Hisako exclaimed, physically trying to get in between the two turtles. “Stop this!”
“No! This needs to happen!” Raph yelled, pushing past Hisako and jamming his finger in Leo’s chest. “I’m done acting like nothing’s wrong! We warned you Leo! We all did! And yet, you just tossed us aside like none of us matter to you! And now look where we are!”
“I get it ok!” Leo shouted, slapping Raph’s finger away. “I screwed up! I’m sorry! I feel terrible about it! I will try and find a way to make this right!”
“Is that so?” Raph questioned wryly, crossing his arms. “Because it looks to me like you’re sitting on your shell in a corner feeling sorry for yourself, leaving the rest of us to clean up YOUR mess!”
“You want me to do something?” Leo demanded. “Fine!”
Leo broke away from his brother, making his way to where his swords were resting against the wall. Hisako’s eyes went wide as she grabbed the blue turtle’s arm, attempting to intercept him.
“Leo, wait!” she insisted.
“Let him go!” Raph jeered, turning away from Leo with a dismissive sniff. “We don’t need him! We’re better off without him! Go run away, you coward!”
Leo pulled himself free of Hisako’s grip, grabbing his swords and stalking towards the window. Without so much as a backwards glance, he jumped through the window, disappearing into the setting sun. Hisako watched him go, then turned to Raph angrily. She grabbed him and spun him around, her eyes glowing and a few household objects around the apartment shaking.
“Roof.” she hissed. “Now.”
She pushed him back, then jumped onto the fire escape, making her way to the roof. Both Donny and Mikey, who had been watching the exchange from afar, slowly got as far away from the window as possible.
Raph barely had time to step onto the roof before he was surrounded my Hisako’s mental energy. He was yanked off his feet, then mentally thrown into the roof access door. He fell hard, his shell leaving a large dent in the metal.
“What the shell was that for?!” Raph demanded.
“That was for you being a complete and utter shell-head!” Hisako screamed. “Why did you go and say that?!”
Raph slowly picked himself up off the floor, brushing himself off as he met his sister’s gaze.
“You’re defending him?” he asked. “After what he did to us?”
Hisako mentally lifted him again, slammed him against the door once more. This time, she kept him suspended there, unable to so much as twitch.
“He knows he screwed up Raph!” She informed him “He knows, and he hates himself for it! He’s been agonizing over what he did all week! And then you go and say something like THAT!”
Raph struggled in her grip, then he felt her release him, allowing him to land flat on his shell. Before he could rise, her foot came down on his plastron, pinning him.
“When he gets back, you are going to apologize, and you’re going to mean it, or so help me I will fling you all the way to Jersey! Got it?!”
She gave him one last shove with her foot, then left him to think on what she’d said. She dropped back onto the fire escape, disappearing from Raph’s sight and signaling that it was safe for him to get up. He did just that, thinking about what she said.
Hisako was right about Leo. He had been upset the past few days, and Raph had just been too angry to notice. Now that he thought about it, screaming at Leo had probably just made an already tense situation that much worse.
“Great.” Raph grumbled, running his fingers through his hair. “Way to let your anger cloud your judgement, Raphael.”
With a sigh, he made his way towards the fire escape so he could head inside. He’d do what Hisako wanted and apologize when Leo returned. He owed his brother that much.
Leo jumped from rooftop to rooftop, not really aware of where he was going. He didn’t really care either way. He just knew he needed to get away from that apartment, away from his family, and away from the reminder of how stupid he’d been. He finally stopped on one rooftop to catch his breath. As he did, he saw his reflection in a puddle of water most likely left over from the rain. He turned away from the puddle and took out his swords. Spotting a newspaper caught on a nearby clothes line, he snagged it and tossed it into the air, shredding it to pieces.
“How! Could! I! Be! So! Blind?!” He screamed, each word punctuated with every swipe of his sword.
After he stopped, he just stood there as the shreds fell to the ground like black and white confetti, panting a bit from his run and from his exertion. Then, up on a rooftop not far from him, someone began to slow clap. He turned to see Karai perched on the edge of the building, dressed in all black and with a pair of swords strapped to her back. She even had a mask over the lower half of her face, one she pulled down so she could flash Leo a cruel smile.
“I’d give you an 8.5 for your technique.” She joked. “Though your form was a bit off on the last two swings.”
“Funny, you were the girl i was looking for.” Leo told her, his voice laced with all the anger he felt.
“Am I?” Karai asked mockingly. “Oh Leo, you still care.”
“Hardly,” Leo countered coldly. “I just wanted first crack at you for everything you’ve done.”
Karai chuckled, then flipped off the rooftop and landing right in front of Leo.
“Is that hatred in your eyes?” she asked, leaning forward in faux surprise. “I think it is. Would have thought that be Raphael’s thing, he being the ‘pompous hothead’ that he is.”
“Well I haven’t been feeling like myself lately.” Leo replied, tightening his grip on his swords. “So we gonna do this or what?”
“While I would love a chance to spar with you, I’m under orders to, and I’m quoting here, ‘find those meddlesome turtles and drive them from whatever hole they’re hiding in’.” She replied, saying the quote in a deeper, more menacing voice. “So, that means I can’t fight you, because it’d be over too quickly, and you’d be turtle soup.”
She drew her blades.
“However, if you feel like making my job easier and just surrender, I’d be more than willing to let you.” She offered.
“Over my shattered shell.” Leo snapped. “Besides, I never took you for someone who took orders from anyone.”
“What can I say?” Karai replied. “I couldn’t say no to a request from my father.”
“Your father?” Leo repeated.
“Oh yes.” Karai replied “And let me tell you, if you think I’m hard to handle, he makes me look like a kitten.”
“You look more like a rat to me.” Leo retorted bitterly.
Karai made a tsking sound, wagging her finger.
“What would your Master say about that kind of language?” she taunted. “Someone obviously needs to be taught a lesson.”
She snapped her fingers. Just then, Leo turned to see the roof access door being kicked open, allowing for about a dozen Purple Dragons to come onto the roof. A few more began climbing up the fire escape, each of them armed with some sort of crude weaponry.
“Do whatever you want to him, but leave him alive.” Karai ordered. “Lest you want to deal with my father.”
With that, Karai flipped out of the way, perching on a satellite dish to watch the fight. Leo just glared at the opponents surrounding him. They then all charged at him full force. Leo took a slice at the weapons they were using, reducing them to pieces. He then kicked several into one another, sending them crashing to the ground. One grabbed him from behind, hoping to pin him long enough. Instead, Leo just leaned back and gained enough momentum to flip the purple dragon over him. He punched out one with the handle of his sword, delivering a spinning kick to the remaining three charging at him. He stood over his fallen enemies victoriously as they groaned and rubbed their heads in pain.
“C-come on guys!” One of the dragons called out. “It’s just one of them! We can take him!”
“We’ll see about that.” Leo told them.
Back at the apartment, April shuffled in from work, running her fingers through her ratty ponytail. As she walked into the living, she nearly tripped over Mikey, who was currently in the middle of a videogame session. Thankfully, Donny was there to catch April and save her from the oblivious tripping hazard that was the orange turtle.
“You know, when I said you guys were welcome to stay as long as you like, I figured you guys would at least have the decency not to try and kill me when I walk through the door.” April commented, regaining her footing.
“Sorry April.” Mikey apologized, not looking up from his game.
April just sighed, sitting down on the couch and removing her shoe. As she gave her toes a stretch, she noticed Leo was not in his usual corner.
“Hey, looks like Leo’s finally stopped mediating the day away.” she commented. “That’s good, right?”
“Wrong.” Raph answered. “We got into a fight, then he stormed off.”
April winced, knowing all too well how arguments between those two usually go.
“What did you do?” she asked.
“He told Leo that we didn’t need him and that we were better off without him.” She muttered, still more than a little miffed with the red turtle.
April’s eyes went wide, then she stood up, walking straight over to the red turtle. He barely had time to look up at her before she hit him upside the head with an audible smack. Mikey winced at the sight.
“So that’s what that looks like on the outside.” He muttered.
“How could you say that to your own brother?” April chastised.
“I was angry.” Raph explained, surprisingly not upset about getting smacked. “I wasn’t thinking straight, and I said things I shouldn’t have. But don’t worry, I’ll apologize to him as soon as he gets back.”
“You better.” April told him. “Or you’re gonna be sleeping on the roof tonight, and it’s supposed to rain buckets.”
“I hear ya.” Raph replied.
Raph then looked out the window at the gathering clouds, an ominous rumbling echoing in the distance.
“I hear ya...”
Leo knocked out the last Purple Dragon as the others made a full retreat, all of them nursing multiple bruises, and quite a few had broken bones. Leo put away his swords and turned towards Karai as rain began to fall.
“Well done.” Karai called out, lounging on top of the satellite. “I must say, you made short work of those guys. No wonder my dad considers you a threat.”
“I aim to please.” Leo called back sarcastically. “So, you got more flunkies to dispense with or you gonna fight me man to turtle?”
“Ooh, that’s a toughie…” Karai replied, tapping her chin thoughtfully. “I think I’m gonna have to choose flunkies.”
She snapped her fingers a second time, and this time, an entire platoon of Motorheads appeared on the rooftop. All of them were armed to the teeth with swords, sai, spears, and all other manner of sharp weaponry.
“You always fight these guys as a family.” Karai pointed out. “Let’s see how well you handle them without your precious siblings.”
She lifted her arm.
“Foot ninja, destroy!” she shouted, pointing right at Leo.
The ninja charged towards Leo as he redrew his swords, ready for a fight. He blocked one sword strike and delivered a kick to the stomach of the offending ninja, taking him out. Another came at him with a spear and Leo sliced off the blade end before jumping into the air, kicking him in the head. As Leo landed, another ninja came at him. As the ninja got to him, Leo rolled back, raising the ninja in the air with his feet, then launched him off.
“Is that the best you’ve got?” Leo asked, getting to his feet.
“Hardly!” Karai retorted.
Sure enough, with every Motorhead Leo managed to bring down, two more seemed to appear to take their place. Leo readied himself for the fight ahead, but he was really starting to think he was in over his head.
Hisako tossed and turned on the couch, trying to get into a comfortable position in an attempt to take a much needed nap. However, the action was quickly proving to be futile. Master Splinter heard the sound of her rustling from the armchair he was meditating in, opening a single eye to check on her.
“Is everything alright Hisako?” he asked.
Hisako sighed and looked over at her sensei, resting an arm on her forehead.
“I just keep thinking that Leo should have been back by now.” she explained. “I don’t know why, but I just can’t stop thinking about that.”
Splinter let out a small sigh.
“Leonardo’s spirit it heavy with the burden of betrayal.” Splinter told her. “He needs time to heal his heart.”
Hisako gave a nod, then a low rumble went off in the distance. The rain had begun to fall, but from the thunder rolling in, it was clear that a storm was coming. A big one.
“I just hope he gets back soon.” She remarked, turning on her side so she was facing the window. “It looks like it’s gonna get real bad real fast.”
The Foot were relentless, not letting up for even a second. But even with their seemingly endless attacks, Leo didn’t give in. He sliced, kicked, bashed, and even head-butted every Foot soldier that came close. After he delivered a kick in the head to the last Foot soldier, he sheathed his swords and stopped for a moment to catch his breath.
“Getting tired there, Leonardo?” Karai taunted.
“You kidding?” Leo asked still panting. “I could do this all day.”
“Quoting Captain America.” Karai mused. “Never pictured you for the Marvel type. You always seemed to be more a DC person to me.”
“Guess you don’t know everything about me either.” Leo retorted.
“Oh, I know everything about you, Leonardo.” Karai quipped. “I know you’re approximately 17 years old, that you’ve been studying ninjutsu since you could remember, and I also know that you don’t like to lose.”
“Well you’re right about that last part.” Leo admitted. “But where did you get that other stuff?”
“You have Baxter Stockman to thank for that.” Karai replied
“Stockman?!” Leo exclaimed. “He worked for you?”
“Well, technically he worked for my father, but yeah.”
“Then maybe since you met my family,” Leo began. “I should have a little chat with your father.”
“Sorry, but I’m afraid he can’t see you right now.” Karai told him. “But if you’d like to make an appointment, I suggest you take it up with his secretaries.”
She snapped her fingers again, summoning a group of five foot soldiers. These guys, however, were not your average foot soldier. These guys were bigger, and had completely different garments. They were in dark grey uniform with light grey gloves with spikes on the knuckles. They had hoods that shrouded their faces and light grey mouth guards that covered the rest. The top part of their faces were covered by a mask that seemed to have some sort of night vision around the eyes, which seemed to give them the advantage in the ever fading light. They all stared at him, eying him with a ferocity that was almost animalistic. Ironically, despite the seriousness of the situation, a single comment slipped through Leo’s filter.
“Nice hoods.” He jeered.
“Joke all you want.” Karai told him. “These are the Foot Elite. They’re my father’s most trusted lieutenants, second only to me of course. And trust me when I tell you, none of them will go down easily.”
As she said this, the Foot elites all drew their weapons. One held a pair of hook swords, another a long spear, a third held a kusarigama, a fourth had a single katana, and the fifth had a pair of kamas. Leo gulped a bit as he drew his swords once more.
They all brought their weapons down on him at once, causing him to cave and bring his swords up in defense. He then shoved them off and engaged the elite with the katana head on. While Leo, had two swords and he only had one, the elite had no problem keeping up with his attacks. Just then, Leo felt something wrap around his arm. He turned to see the elite with the kusarigama holding tight to the chain as it constrained Leo. Leo turned back to see the elite with the katana and the elite with the spear charging at him. Leo quickly blocked the katana and used his strength to bring the chain close enough so that the spear would snap it freeing him. Once free he tried leaping at the spear elite, only for him to kick him in the chest sending him flying across the roof. He opened his eyes to see the Kama elite coming down at him.
As dinner time rolled around, Casey waltzed into April’s apartment, balancing two pizza boxes on his palm and dripping more water than a leaky faucet. He had a bright yellow poncho on over his clothes, and the boxes were covered in plastic wrap, so thankfully, the food was still dry.
“Hey guys!” He called out. “I brought dinner!”
April grinned, pecking Casey on the cheek and taking the boxes.
“Glad you could make it.” she told him. “I figured the rain would have slowed you down.”
“Nah.” Casey told her, pulling the poncho over his head and hanging it on a coat rack by the door. “Nothing slows down Casey Jones.”
The pizza box suddenly vanished from April’s grip, snagged by Mikey who was quickly tearing through the plastic wrap. Once that was done, and the wrap disposed of properly, Mikey set the boxes down on the table, which was set for eight. April and Casey took seats at the head of the table as the Hamato Clan spread themselves along the sides.
“I made sure I got your usual.” Casey promised. “Deep dish, extra cheese with pepperoni, sausage, and black olives.”
“Thanks Casey.” Hisako said, just kinda staring at her plate.
Casey raised an eyebrow, leaning forward and placing his chin on his palm.
“You know, that’s usually when you go ‘You know me so well’, then I do my thing.” He told her. “You feeling alright greenie?”
Hisako blinked, then turned slightly red.
“Sorry Casey.” she told him. “I guess my mind is elsewhere.”
“She’s just worried about Leo.” Mikey explained, stuffing an entire pizza slice in his mouth.
“He still hasn’t come back after I yelled at him.” Raph added, picking the black olives off his slice.
“Knowing Leo, he probably found shelter until the storm subsides.” Donny rationalized, poking at his pizza with a plastic fork.
Despite Donny’s assurance, it was clear that everyone was beginning to worry for their wayward brother and friend. They all stared out at the storm, hoping Leo would be okay.
Leo was thrown into the side of the roof access. He quickly brought his swords up to block the attack of the elite with the hook swords. Unfortunately, one of the hook swords was able to get under one of his hilts and flung it out of his hand, leaving him with only one blade to defend himself with. He shoved off the hook sword elite and narrowly avoided the side attack that came from the Kama elite.
“You’re getting sloppy Leonardo.” Karai taunted. “Starting to get tired? Or maybe you’ve finally realized that you’re not going to win this.”
At this point, Leo had enough. He leapt onto the head of the elite and jumped from head to head until he was close enough to where Karai was perched. Her eyes went wide as she immediately jumped off the satellite, narrowly avoiding an attempted swipe at her head.
“You’ve really lost it, haven’t you?” Karai asked. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were honestly trying to kill me.”
“Stop hiding behind your flunkies!” Leo demanded. “Face me! Or are you nothing but a coward who hides behind lies and deceptions.”
Karai paused for a moment, her face hardening. The Foot Elites moved in for an attack, but she held up a hand.
“No.” She told them. “He wants to fight me, I’ll fight him.”
She turned to Leo and drew her swords.
“I’m going to make you regret those words.” She swore.
Leo then leapt at her and the two clashed swords. Karai then shoved him off and the two exchanged one sword blow after another. Karai’s strikes were swift and skilled, but Leo’s fighting style had devolved into pure rage. Karai took notice of this and tried to find a way she could take advantage of his lack of focus. She noted that with every wide swing Leo gave, he was leaving his sides exposed. She took a chance and delivered a kick to the side. This sent him into a wall, but rather than deter him from continuing, it only enraging him even more.
“You really shouldn’t have done that!” he yelled.
He then charged at her full force and punched her straight in the jaw. Once she fell to the ground, she looked up to see Leo standing over her with his sword pointing at her. She raised her sword to block, only for Leo to quickly disarm her, the sword clattering to the ground several feet away.
“It’s time I put an end to this.” he declared.
Karai looked nervous for a minute, then a shadow suddenly enveloped them both. Karai chuckled, looking over Leo’s shoulder with an expression of pure relief.
“Father, you have the best timing.” she said, her voice portraying her relief.
Leo turned around to see a tall figure dressed in what appeared to be a metal samurai armor, complete with a full faced helmet, the lower part resembling a tengu mask. Before Leo even had a chance to say a word, the figure lifted his gauntlet, which had two long metal blades attached to it, and brought it across Leo’s face. Leo pulled back in an attempt to dodge, but he was unable to fully avoid the blow, receiving a fair-sized gash on the forehead. Karai took the opportunity to get up, reclaiming her sword.
“This is the creature that has been thwarting my operations?” The armored man asked, delivering a swift kick to Leo’s stomach. “Disappointing.”
Leo coughed, then tried to get to his feet, ready to fight.
“Who…. the shell… are you?” Leo snapped in between gasps for air.
The man just chuckled, then backhanded him again, this time with his other hand. Leo fell hard, his head ringing and his vision slightly blurred. He tried to focus on the man, attempting to regain his senses before it was too late.
“For your last few moments of life, you may call me… the Shredder.” The armored man informed him.
He then grabbed Leo by his throat, hoisting him into the air. Leo struggled in his grip, but his fingers found no give in the iron fist that now held him.
“Now, tell me where the rest of you creatures are hiding out.” Shredder demanded.
“N...Never…” Leo spat.
Karai walked beside the Shredder, smiling cruelly.
“They may not be strong physically, but they’ve got nerves of steel.” she commented.
“We’ll see about that.” Shredder jeered.
The Shredder lifted his gauntlet again, bringing it down on the blue turtle, who screamed in agony.
Hisako had finally managed to fall into a fitful sleep, her brothers all leaned against the couch in case she had a nightmare. April and Casey were working on doing dishes in the kitchen. Master Splinter sat on the easy chair, meditating peacefully. Unfortunately, that peace was very short lived.
A feeling of cold dread washed over Master Splinter, a sense that something was terribly wrong. His brow furrowed and his ears twitched. Over the pounding rain and the cracking thunder, he swore he heard a scream.
Splinter gasped, sitting forward and clutching his chest, feeling his heart pounding. The sound roused Hisako from her slumber, and drew the attention of the other three turtles.
“Something wrong, sensei?” Hisako questioned.
Splinter nodded, rising from his chair and taking his walking stick.
“I fear something has happened to Leonardo.” He replied. “I sense a dark presence around him.”
“Think the foot got to him?” Mikey asked, gulping hard at the thought.
“Doesn’t matter.” Raph declared. “I’m gonna go find him.”
He turned towards the window, only for Splinter’s walking stick to come between him and his exit.
“We will all accompany you.” Splinter declared.
“Fine by me.” Raph replied.
Everyone grabbed their weapons, Hisako sliding her backpack on.
“Is Leo gonna be okay?” Mikey asked.
“While I am more than a bit concerned with Master Splinter’s premonition, I’m sure Leo’s fine.” Donny replied in an attempt to sound upbeat. “After all, this is Leo we’re talking about. I doubt anyone could lay a finger on his-”
Before Donny could finish his declaration, one of April’s windows sudden smashed inward as Leo’s body came flying through the glass. He bounced off the coffee table, reducing it to chunks of wood before hitting the wall hard enough to leave a dent in the drywall. There was a moment of stunned silence, then everyone converged.
“Leo!” Everyone shrieked.
Donny knelt down by Leo as everyone gathered around. The blue turtle was covered from head to toe in various dark bruises. His lip was swollen, and he had a fair-sized gash in his forehead. There was also severe bruising on his neck, most likely where he’d been grabbed. His shirt was torn and the plastron of his shell was visibly cracked. All in all, he looked like he’d been put through the ringer. The first thing Donny did was check for a pulse.
“Is he-?” Mikey asked.
“No.” Donny replied with obvious relief. “He’s still alive, but he’s out cold.”
Both April and Casey emerged from the kitchen, the former gasping in horror.
“Who could have done this?” April questioned, clinging to Casey in utter shock.
“Whoever they are, I’m gonna rip them limb from limb!” Raph screamed.
Hisako bent down and caressed Leo’s face. As she did, she felt as if something was desperately trying to grasp at her, like a drowning victim trying to reach a life preserver.
“Leo?” She whispered.
Everyone paused as Hisako concentrated, sending out a mental life line. When the connection was made, Hisako’s head snapped up, her eyes a solid green.
“He’s alive, but he’s weak.” She informed them all. “He was ambushed... by Karai and the Foot clan.”
Raph’s fist clenched audibly.
“I should have known it was that pink haired harpy!” he shouted.
The glow in Hisako’s eyes began to dim, but she seemed to concentrate, trying to keep the connection.
“It wasn’t just her, Raph.” She declared. “There was someone else, the true leader of the Foot clan.”
“Who?” Splinter requested.
Seconds before Hisako lost the connection all together, she managed to get one last piece of information.