The Silent Partner

BUSTED!

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

~Intruder Alert~

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

~Attention Intruder Alert~

Aw Shell!

Looks like that ten minutes turned out to be only about seven-and-a-half. Urgh!

Seriously, what is it about this place? It's like our turtle luck is even stronger here!

I eject the drive from the computer and yank it out. My hands are shaking with terror as I stuff the drive into a pocket on my belt, my eyes frantically scanning the room as the alarms continue to blare. I shoot out the door, only to find myself on the wrong end of four charging plasma guns. I raise the plasma guns I had taken from the guards earlier, but they don't fire and I belatedly realize that I have the safety catch on. Shell. The guns get shot out of my hands. I'm a goner! Man, Leo and the others are gonna be so pissed when they find out about this!

Despite my better judgment, I close my eyes as shots ring through the air. But I open them again as soon as I realize that I haven't been hit. I belatedly discover that the sound of the shots must have masked the sound of bodies hitting the floor because all four of the armed guards were now lying motionless at my feet.

What the shell?!

I look up to find Dr. Rockwell hanging down from a ventilation grate.

"Donatello! Come on, we have to get out here!" He said urgently. I nodded. Rockwell was right. There was no time to waste. He used his telekinesis to lift me up into the ventilation system and we crawled rapidly through the ducts until we came out on the roof. Rockwell looked puzzled. "This should have taken us to the back of the building, not the roof."

I growled. "This entire place is one big booby-trap."

"Freeze!" Someone yelled.

Rockwell and I turned just in time to see another quartet of armed guards running towards us.

"There has to be a way out of this!" I whispered to Rockwell as we both began backing towards the edge of the roof, doing our best to evade the guards' plasma fire.

I glanced over at Rockwell and realized that he was glancing down at something in the alley. He looked me in the eyes. "When I say jump, jump. Ready…"

I avoided a plasma shot and turned back to him, confused. "Wait…wha—"

"JUMP!"

He dragged me over the edge of the building and we both plummeted downwards. I screamed and kept on screaming until I realized that Rockwell was slowly lowering me to the ground.

Phew. That was way too close. A plasma gun shot landed right next to my foot and I jumped, glancing back up at the roof above. We aren't out of the woods yet. I grabbed Rockwell and two of us made a break for the wall.

One minute I was running, and the next I was being bowled over by a huge amount of force striking my shell. I fell flat on my plastron with an oomph. Shell! I looked up and saw that Rockwell had turned at my cry. He returned to my side and began pulling me up. Guards began streaming out of the building and opening fire on us. We both froze. No! We won't make it! We won't be able to make it!

A loud battle cry broke our stupor as Slash barreled in, shielding us from plasma fire with his giant, spiked shell. "What the shell are you two waiting for?! GO!"

We nodded and wasted no time in scaling the wall. Slash followed and the three of us landed roughly in the street outside. The giant, mutant turtle grabbed me by the shell and Rockwell by the neck and dragged us backwards into the shadows just as a couple of guards came running around the corner, heading towards the gates. Slash dragged us both through the dark alleyways until we reached a large grate where we could enter the sewers.

I glanced curiously from Slash to Rockwell. All of us were silent. At least until we were deep within the labyrinth of sewer tunnels.

"What the shell did you think you were doing?!" Slash asked angrily. "You could have been killed! Or worse captured! Or even worse, that woman who injured Raphael could have gotten her hands on you!"

I frowned and glared at Slash. "It isn't Rockwell's fault. It was my idea. I was the one that came up with the plan to get inside, I was the one who wanted to get my hands on the intel. I didn't ask Rockwell to go with me."

Slash returned my glare. "It doesn't matter. He made the decision to go even after he realized what you were up to and he didn't tell the others! And that decision almost got both of you fried!"

There was a short silence.

"I see no sense in being hypocritical." Rockwell stated.

"What?" Slash growled as he whirled around to face the monkey mutant.

I cringed at the danger in his tone and glanced at Rockwell. I gotta admit, Rockwell has got a lot of guts mouthing off to Slash like that. Especially considering that Slash theoretically could have left us to get fried back there.

"I don't see any of the others anywhere around here. So, clearly, you didn't inform them of what was going on."

I blinked as I realized that Rockwell was right. If Slash had told Sensei and my brothers what we were planning, they never would have sent Slash out to rescue us all by himself.

Slash looked away. "I didn't know for certain what was going on. That's why I followed you. After the two of you went in I decided to hang back and see whether or not you'd be able to get yourselves out of there. Obviously, I had to step in."

"But not until the very end." I pointed out.

Slash sighed. "Your family is worried enough as it is, Donatello. How do you think they're going to feel when they find out you almost got captured tonight?"

I gulped, knowing that Slash was right. Of course, Sensei and Leo will be furious. But they'll probably be even more concerned about whether or not I was injured at all. With one family member already gravely injured, the last thing we need is another one. I sighed.

"Not only that, but I suppose you realized that without you or Rockwell present Raphael is not being monitored."

My heart leapt into my mouth. Oh shell! Slash is right! I'd been so distracted by the heat of the chase that I hadn't realized that Raph would be...Oh no.

I burst into a sprint, the two Mutanimals yelling and taking off after me.

I ran all the way back to their lair at my top speed, bursting in and rushing quietly down the hall, being careful as I could so that I wouldn't wake my other family members. I entered Rockwell's lab slowly.

The first sound that greeted my ears was the steady beep of the heart monitor and I let out a relieved sigh as I made my way over to my injured brother's side. I took one of his hands in mine and spoke softly to him. "Hang in there, Raph. I'm here for you bro. Sorry I was gone so long. I had to take care of a few things. But don't worry, I'm fine and I got what I needed. I promise, we'll get the woman who did this to you." I squeezed his hand tightly and looked down at the ground as I whispered softly. "I hope you wake up soon, buddy."

I could feel Rockwell and Slash's eyes on me. They had entered some time during my short speech to Raph and were standing just inside the door. Just as I was about to pull away, my mind racing with the possible information my downloads could provide, I was rudely shocked back to the real world as one of Raph's fingers twitched. I did a double take. Then I jumped to my feet and looked down at Raph's face. There were no more twitches. Huh, I'm probably so fatigued that I imagined it.

But just as that thought crossed my mind, Raph's nose wrinkled a little and his eyes screwed shut tighter.

I leant in close to him and whispered gently, "Raph?"

His snout wrinkled and his eyes closed tighter once again.

My voice was soft, overjoyed and thrilled as I tried to encourage him. "Come on Raph! Open your eyes!"

I could feel Slash tensing behind me as he watched with bated breath. Rockwell moved over to the other side of the lab table and appeared to be checking Raph's vitals.

"Come on Raph, let me see those bright green eyes." I pleaded encouragingly.

Finally, after almost a full two minutes of this, emerald green eyelids cracked open just enough that I could catch a glimpse of his bright green irises. The corner of his mouth tilted upward every so slightly. I let out a sigh of relief. I could feel the tears of joy in my eyes. I squeezed his hand gently. "You're going to be okay, Raph. You're going to be okay."

Raphael's eyes closed and he seemed to slip back into sleep, but the fingers of his uninjured hand gently curled around my hand and I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks. I instantly understood: Raphael was agreeing with me.

Now that my hotheaded brother is sound asleep I turn back to Slash and Rockwell. "So…are you going to tell the others?"

"That Raphael has finally shown responsiveness?" Rockwell asked for clarification.

I shook my head. "No. I'll tell them that in the morning. I meant are you going to tell what happened tonight?"

They both frowned, but Rockwell turned to Slash and I grimaced as I realized that the final decision would be completely up to him. He sighed. "No. I won't. At least, not yet. Better that Raph's recovery be first and foremost on your family's minds right now."

Rockwell nodded approvingly at Slash's decision. "I agree."

"Now then, if you two won't be needing me to save your tails anymore tonight, I think I'll try and get some sleep." The larger mutant turtle murmured, heading for the door as we both murmured our goodnights.

I resumed my seat at Raph's side. Rockwell paused to glance thoughtfully at me. "You do realize that he probably will not awaken again tonight."

"Hm."

He frowned at me. "I suppose there is no way I will be able to convince you to go to bed?"

"None whatsoever." I answered firmly without even looking at him.

He sighed. "Very well. Goodnight." He began to head for the door, but at the last second he turned. "Oh, and Donatello?"

"Hm?" I mumbled, staring so thoughtfully at Raphael's face that I barely took notice of his words.

"Next time you decide to break into an human research facility you should take extra precautions. There might not be another genius on hand to save your shell."

I actually looked up as his words finally registered, but he was already gone. I smiled. At least I know I'll always have a rival in Rockwell. I turned back to Raph and sighed softly, laying my head down on the table, by his side and absent-mindedly fingering the flash-drive in my hands. Then my eyes slowly moved over to Rockwell's computer, then back to the drive in my hand and then back to the computer. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to try and get a little bit of reading done…

As for Raphael, I'm no longer worried. Raph will be fine. I know he will. And as for his recovery, we'll take it one day at a time. We'll all be there for him to help him in whatever way we can. I know that Mona Lisa will be overjoyed to know that he is improving, but still, it's late. I'll tell them in the morning. I know she'll be mad at me, but I'm doing what's best for everyone. At least I hope I am.

I turn to smile down at the now peaceful-looking form of my emerald green sibling. Raph's back. Raph's right here with us. So yeah, everything is okay.

Who knows what the future holds, but right here, right now, everything is okay.

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