Alarms rang and the lights flashed as the turtles ran down dark, twisted hallways. One of them spoke up: "Donnie, you mind telling me again why we're breaking into a 'top-secret' human research center?"
The brainiac glowered over his shoulder at the hothead as they ran. When he spoke, his voice was whiny and frustrated. Clearly, this wasn't the first time Raphael had asked. The smart turtle exasperatedly muttered, "If you'd listened the first time, I wouldn't have to."
Raph rolled his eyes. "You didn't dumb it down enough the first time."
Donatello glared. "I honestly don't think it's possible to dumb it down enough for you."
The hothead bristled dangerously. He let out a low, throaty growl. "You calling me dumb, Don?"
"This is not the time or place. The two of you can settle this later, for now just back off." Leo ordered, placing himself between the two middle siblings for good measure.
Suddenly, the sound of nearby voices and running feet came from the end of the corridor. The turtles looked around. Leonardo motioned Donatello towards an unmarked door on their right. The smart turtle hacked the electric lock and all four siblings jumped inside just in time to avoid being seen.
The room appeared to be some sort of laboratory. Raphael, who had entered first, ventured further into the room than his brothers, who were all still crouching near the door. He took a few more steps towards an eerily dark corner of the room.
Every muscle in the stocky turtle's body tensed and he went stock-still. His eyes were wide with shock at what lay before him. The longer he stared, the more his blood began to boil. "Help!"
The other turtles' attention was yanked away from the door by Raph's urgent cry. Leonardo sprinted to his immediate younger brother's side fearing that Raph had somehow been injured.
Raphael took a few steps backward, colliding with Leo, who put both his hands on the red-masked turtle's shoulders. "Raph, you okay?" As soon as the eldest looked down, he, too, stiffened. "Oh my god."
"Leo?" Don asked, slowly glancing up in his brothers' direction.
"Donatello get the shell over here now!" Raph yelled.
Donnie rushed to their side and he, too, recoiled in shock.
On the table was a mutant. A giant…lizard. And judging by the features…a female. She was dangerously thin. Wires connected her to all kinds of monitors and gauges. Her eyes were closed and her skin was pale and unhealthy. Her arms were covered in puncture marks and scars.
Mikey ran up to his older brothers' sides and tears formed in his eyes. "W-what have they done to her?"
Raphael frowned, and his eyes burning a fiery neon green. "Experimented on her." His emerald green hands shook with horror, anger, and pain. The hothead had always held a greater disdain for humans than his brothers, and this just served to clinch his already formed opinions. Humans had the nerve to call him and his brothers monsters, yet to Raph, humans never even stopped to consider the fact that their actions made them monsters as well.
Ever so slowly he reached down and stroked the lizard-mutant's cheek gently. "Hey, hey, can you hear me?"
"Raph—" Donnie began. Judging by the severity of the mutant's condition it was very unlikely that she would be capable of answering.
But before Don could say anything further, the mutant's eyelids fluttered open. Dark, earthy brown eyes stared straight up into Raph's soft, neon-green ones. All she saw were the caring eyes riveted to her own. A light, shaky breath escaped her lips before her eyelids dropped closed again.
Raph couldn't pull away from her beautiful stare. Those soft, pleading eyes were begging him. Begging him for mercy. He didn't think that she even realized that he wasn't human. All she saw were his eyes. His fists clenched with anger. No one should have to suffer this way.
Slowly and carefully he began to remove the attachments from her arms, including the monitors. And once that was taken care of, he lifted her into his arms bridal style.
Mikey still had tears in his eyes. Leo nodded subtly at Raph's action and began to devise a plan of action.
Donatello frowned. "Raph, she's in bad shape, it's possible she won't even survive. We can't take the risk of—"
"I'm not leaving her to die at the hands of these fiends, Donnie. She asked me for help. You may not have seen it, but I did. And I'm going to help her. No matter what it takes."
Don's jaw clenched tightly closed and he nodded. There would be no use in arguing. Raphael had made that perfectly clear.
It wasn't that Donatello didn't respect Raphael for what he was trying to do, but the brainiac just didn't want it all to be in vain.
Leonardo was also a little bit bothered by Raph's decision. Not that it wasn't the right thing to do, quite the contrary. But Leo was worried about Raph. Raphael was much more emotional than he let on and by choosing to save this girl Raph was taking her under his wing, so to speak. If she died…Raphael would blame himself. And Leo wasn't exactly certain how that would affect the hothead. Raph's inner sensitivity had already been very badly shaken by discovering the female lizard mutant. It could hurt him even further if she were to…
Raphael looked over to his eldest brother and their gazes locked. At that moment Leo knew that there would be absolutely no reasoning with the hotheaded. Raph had made up his mind.
Leo nodded again.
We need to get out of here. He thought gravely.
Then he looked down at the mutant in Raphael's arms.