The Shellraiser made its way across the bridge leading into Manhattan, everyone keeping their eyes peeled for even a hint of the Foot looking for them. Thankfully, there didn't seem to be so much as a single motorhead out in the city.
"Ya know, with how mad that Shredder guy was when we left, I was expecting a few more guards watching the border." Raph commented.
"You're right, Raph." Donny agreed. "So where is everybody?"
"Maybe he thinks there's nothing to look for." Leo suggested.
Casey looked over his shoulder from the driver's seat.
"You might be onto something Leo." He called. "Think about it, two of you are supposed to be dead."
"And the rest of us fled rather quickly." April added.
Splinter stroked his chin thoughtfully.
"If this is true, then we may have an advantage." he noted. "But first, we must find a place to lay low, as well as a new home."
"Hai Sensei." Leo agreed. "Casey, know a place where we can stash the Shellraiser?"
"You can keep it at my place." Casey offered.
"You sure?" Raph asked. "The thing might turn your apartment into a target."
"It's cool guys." Casey insisted. "I can easily cover it with a tarp or something. Besides, April's gonna be staying with me anyhow. She lost her apartment, but I didn't."
"We can keep an eye on the Shellraiser until you guys get settled back in." April agreed.
"Thanks guys." Leo replied.
Hisako leaned against the back of the Shellraiser, her mind branching out to see if anyone was around. So far she'd found no one, but she wasn't going to take any chances. Now this time.
Unbeknownst to the turtles, or to the psychic scanning the area, a sole figure was perched atop a water tower. It was the guardian that fought with Leonardo not too long ago. He seemed distant, his eyes cloudy behind his darkened glasses. However, when he heard the sound of the Shellraiser's engine purring, he perked up.
"Could it be?" he gasped.
He stood up, looking down at the street to see the Shellraiser making its way down the street. His eyes lit up as he jumped from the tower, running along to roof to follow it.
"I must know if she- if they all survived." He muttered to himself.
He came to a stop as the Shellraiser parked in an alleyway by a set of old tenement buildings. From the vehicle, he watched as the turtles piled out one by one, followed by their human friends and their rat master. For a moment, his heart sank, until the red-headed ally called out.
"Hisako, you coming?"
That's when Hisako emerged from the vehicle, giving a large stretch.
"Sorry guys, must have gotten distracted." she apologized.
The guardian stared, feeling as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulder.
"They're alive…. They're all alive."
He pushed the sleeve on his right wrist up, activating a futuristic looking watch on his wrist. A holographic projection activated, showing three identical women. They all had short hair that was light blue, wire rimmed glasses, and blue eyes that almost seemed to glow. When they spoke, they seemed to speak in turn, finishing the other's sentence.
"What is it-?"
"-you have to report?"
"High Council." the Guardian, Samson, began, "I have excellent new. The turtles have returned."
"And what of-"
"She lives. They all live." Samson replied.
"Council, I beg your permission to initiate the personal project I have been working on." Samson continued. "It could prove beneficial, both for the turtles, and for us."
The council was silent for a moment before speaking again.
"You have our permission."
"But know this."
They all spoke in unison for this final sentence.
"Now is not the time to let your personal feelings cloud your judgement."
Samson gave a nod as the hologram turned off. Samson pulled his sleeve back down, then jumped off the roof to begin his work.
After waving good bye to Casey and April, the Hamato clan made their way into the sewers.
"I hate to say it…" Leo spoke. "But we may need to crash with Leatherhead until we find a more permanent home."
"I know." Hisako relented. "Besides, without the Foot nipping at our heels, I think it's safe to see him."
"I'll bet 4 pizzas Leatherhead attacks us thinking we're enemies." Mikey gambled.
"Let's put that to a test." Leo said. "Come on."
They reached the door leading into Leatherhead's home, Donny quickly inputting the code. They all jumped in, looking around the darkened home for any sign of their reptilian friend.
"Leatherhead?" Hisako called. "Leatherhead it's us!"
There was no answer at first, but then a scaly hand came out of the darkness, grabbing hold of Hisako's arm, yanking her off her feet. She let out a yelp, until she realized she was being pulled into a large hug.
"Hey big guy." Hisako said happily, patting the croc on the back as Mikey found the light switch.
The lights came on revealing Leatherhead holding his lifelong friend in a hug, a tear rolling down his face.
"You just disappeared." He said softly. "And then those… men began to tear apart the sewers. I feared the worst."
"I'm okay Leatherhead." Hisako insisted, pulling back so she could face her friend. "I'm sorry we scared you."
Leatherhead then noticed the scar on her face. He ran his claw along it gently, his eyes getting that angry glow.
"What did they do to you?" he asked.
The others instinctively took a step back as Hisako rubbed the back of her head.
"Would you believe I'm lucky that I didn't lose a kidney?"
He growled at the thought of those men hurting her in such a manner.
"They will pay for this." He promised.
That's when Leo stepped forward.
"We'll all make sure of that." He announced. "But for right now, we need a place to crash until we find a new home. Would you be willing to help us?"
"After everything you all have done for me and Oracle, it is the least I can do." Leatherhead told him. "Stay as long as you need."
The turtles all let out a sigh of relief, then went to settle down. Splinter took the large chair that the turtles had located for Leatherhead, claiming it as his place of rest. Hisako just remained in Leatherhead's arms, a few more questions on her mind.
"Leatherhead, how long were the motorheads searching the sewers?"
"If you mean the men in the helmets, they were searching for many weeks." Leatherhead answered, walking over to the mattress that served as his bed. "However, as time went on, their patrols became less and less frequent until they stopped all together."
Hisako smirked, looking over at the turtle pile forming on the rug.
"Looks like you were right Leo." She told him. "The Foot must have decided we weren't coming back and decided to call off the search."
"We'll talk more on that in the morning sis." He told her. "Get some rest."
Leatherhead curled up on the mattress, pulling Hisako close to him. The others looked over at this, then moved over to the mattress as well, using their scaly friend as a pillow. The crocodile didn't seemed to mind. In fact, he seemed to smile a bit as the group drifted off to sleep, happy to be with his friends once again.
The next morning, the Hamato family set out with Leatherhead's blessing to search for their new home. They'd barely made it ten minutes into their search before Mikey began to make jokes.
"On this episode of House Hunters, Sewer Edition, the Hamato family is searching for the perfect corner of the NYC sewers to call their own." He announced like a TV narrator. "Their old home was trashed after the eldest of the Hamato siblings was foolish enough to-"
"Mikey, cut it out." Leo interrupted.
"I told you we never should have introduced him to HGTV." Donny commented.
"What?" Mikey questioned. "I think it would be an awesome show."
"Yeah right." Hisako quipped. "What kind of loser would want to watch a show about us?"
They all shared a laugh at that, even Splinter chuckling a bit. After it died down, they all got back on topic.
"In all seriousness though, what are we gonna do for a home?" Donny asked. "It took us weeks to find that abandoned subway station for Leatherhead, the odds of us finding another home for us are not in our favor."
"Well maybe we can use the opportunity to upgrade to a pad above the sewers." Mikey suggested. "Maybe a water tower or something?"
Splinter shook his head.
"No my son." he declared. "Our place is below the surface. While we have made great strides in forming a strong bond with the surface, it is still too dangerous to live up there."
Mikey let out a groan.
"Hai Sensei." he sighed.
As they passed a tunnel leading deeper into the sewers, Hisako paused. From deep within the tunnel, she could hear a voice echoing. It was resonating in her skull, like a siren's song.
She turned towards the tunnel and began to walk down it. This went unnoticed by the others until Raph decided to ask for her opinion.
"What do you think Hisako?" He asked, turning around.
When he saw her going down the tunnel, he stopped short, confused.
"Hisako?" he repeated.
This drew the others' attentions as they saw Hisako disappear into the tunnel.
"Uh, where is she going?" Mikey questioned.
"Let's find out." Leo declared.
The five mutants quickly took after Hisako, following her deep into the unfamiliar tunnels. Her slow pace slowly became a slow run until she broke off into a dead sprint, the same voice echoing in her head.
Keep going. This way.
The others were beginning to have to struggle to keep up with her, running at full speed.
"What is wrong with her?" Raph questioned. "She's never done this before."
"Maybe all that time at the farmhouse has made her stir crazy?" Mikey suggested.
"Either that, or she knows something we don't." Donny added.
"Whatever the case, we cannot afford to lose her in these unfamiliar tunnels." Master Splinter declared.
"Right!" the turtles all said in unison.
They then chased after their sister in the unknown tunnels, following her into a five-point intersection. She paused for a moment, as if trying to figure something out, giving time for her family to catch up with her.
"Hisako what's up?" Leo asked.
"Yeah," Mikey agreed. "Not cool ditching us like that."
"Shh!" She hissed, closing her eyes as her fingers went to her temple. "I'm trying to figure out which way it went."
The turtles exchanged confused glances.
"It?" Donny asked.
Before the purple turtle could ask for further clarification, Hisako's eyes snapped open again and she darted down the tunnel just to the right of the middle tunnel. The others let out a groan and took off after her once more.
"Okay, any idea what's going on with her?" Raph asked.
"No." Donny admitted. "We've never gone this far before. I don't think any of these tunnels are on any map I've seen?"
"Then why is Hisako running around like she owns the place?" Leo argued.
"Maybe she has voices in her head making her do crazy things." Mikey joked.
The others were about to debunk him, but it made a little too much sense.
"If that is true, then what is the source of the voice she is hearing?" Splinter mused.
Finally, Hisako came to a stop in front of a dead end, a large wall of brick and water pipes that wasn't worth Hisako's sudden strange behavior. As the others skidded to a stop, they all looked at Hisako with confusion.
"Care to explain what that was all about?" Donny asked.
Hisako didn't answer. Instead, she walked over to a small panel next to the door. She flipped it open, revealing a keypad. She imputed an 8-digit key code as if she knew it by heart, then closed the panel. Once she did, there was the sound of something moving, then the entire wall shifted and opened up like a scene from a Harry Potter movie. It revealed a rather large door, one that seemed completely out of place amongst the mildew covered brickwork of the sewers. They all stared at it for a bit, wondering where it came from.
"What the shell?" Leo whispered.
Hisako blinked a bit, shaking her head.
"The voice… led me here..." she muttered to herself.
The large door then hisses slightly before sliding open, revealing a large alcove inside, easily the size of a two story house. While the entire place was covered in a thick layer of dust, it was obvious that this alcove was in very good condition. There were several various sections of the alcove that could be considered rooms, an entire wall that was dominated by an array of television screens, and a few large counters arranged in what appeared to be a work area. Walking in, the turtles could see what appeared to be a large kitchen area, and even a large area that could serve as a dojo.
"Guys..." Donny gasped. "Are you seeing what I'm seeing?"
"Well, if you're seeing what I'm seeing, then I think we just found our new pad." Raph answered.
"Agreed." Splinter added.
Mikey let out a cheer before running in at full force, jumping onto the second floor balcony with a cocky grin.
"I call dibs on this room!" he shouted.
"This place is incredible." Leo marveled. "Hisako, you said a voice led you here?"
"Yeah..." Hisako replied, trying to find it again. "I don't know why but… I just… I felt like I knew it from somewhere… somewhere… safe..."
"Well, whomever the voice belongs to, be sure to thank them if you ever meet them." Raph announced. "This just saved us weeks of house hunting and HGTV jokes from Mikey."
Hisako let out a giggle, leaning against the wall. As she did, she felt herself push a button, one that opened up a large pair of doors right next to her. The others all blinked, coming to investigate.
"Is that-" Donny began. "An elevator?"
"If it is, where does it lead?" Raph wondered.
"I found it, I test it!" Hisako declared, jumping inside and slamming her hand on the button she found.
"Hey!" they all called out, running to the door.
It closed just as they came up, causing them all to crash into it. Splinter watched and shook his head as his sons untangled themselves from one another.
"It's a good thing we don't have noses." Mikey groaned. "Or else I think a few of us would have broken ones."
The doors then slid open again as Hisako practically darted out.
"Guys, you have got to check this out." she insisted.
Curiosity filling them all, the turtles and Splinter all piled inside the elevator, Hisako hitting the button again. They felt themselves going up, then they stopped, the doors opening to reveal an old, dilapidated garage. Leo approached the doors of the garage, opening them to take a look.
"Huh." He said in surprise. "We're on B street south, on the completely opposite end of Manhattan from the old lair."
"The place looks like it's been abandoned for a while now." Donny noted.
"Let's check." Mikey suggested.
He ran his finger along a dust covered gas pump, sticking his finger in his mouth. Almost immediately, he began coughing and sputtering.
"Yep, that's dust." He wheezed. "I have no idea what I thought was gonna happen with that."
"Large, hidden, underground lair, an elevator to the surface, and an abandoned garage for us to use as a surface hideaway." Raph listed off. "If this place wasn't made for us, then I'm a monkey's uncle."
"That sounds like an interesting family reunion." Mikey joked.
As Raph gave Mikey a well-deserved smack on the head, Samson watched from the window of the garage. With a smile, he turned and walked away, his hands in his pockets as he vanished into the rising sun.
A few days later, the turtles and Hisako were scavenging around their old lair for anything salvageable, leaving Splinter to complete the cleanup process of their new home. As they looked around the remains of what used to be their home, they all felt like a piece of them had broken inside them.
"Our home…" Leo lamented. "For seventeen years."
"The only home any of us have ever known..." Hisako said sadly.
"And those foot bozos trash it in a matter of minutes." Raph snarled, looking at the remains of his punching bag. "When we meet that Shredder guy again, I'm gonna feed him his helmet!"
Hisako glanced over at the sagging sack of cloth that was once Raph's bag, giving a sympathetic smile.
"Bag's beyond repair, huh?" she commented.
Raph looked at his bag, then sighed, giving a half-hearted shrug.
"Eh, I can get another one." he replied.
"Good idea." Hisako replied, sifting through the remains of the living room. "One shaped like a human. Shell, we can even find a Motorhead helmet to dress it up with. That'll make you feel better."
Raph gave a snort.
"Heh, Maybe I'll make a kuro kabuto out of tin foil and make it look like the Shredder." He thought, "Then I'll really feel better."
As Hisako sifted, she grinned as she grabbed a large shoe box filled with several different DVDs. She grabbed it, straightening up.
"Hey Mikey!" she called. "Guess what? Your DVD collection survived!"
"Yes!" Mikey cheered.
Leo, who was helping Don in his lab, managed to find several pieces of equipment that were still intact.
"Looks like most of your equipment is still in working order." Leo noted.
"That's a relief." Donny replied. "At least I won't have to start from scratch."
Mikey emerged from a rather large pile of debris, several picture frames in his hand.
"Found the family photos!" he cheered.
"Nice find Mikey." Raph congratulated.
"Yep." Mikey agreed, pulling the photos from the frames. "Frames will need to be replaced, but the photos themselves are intact."
Hisako let out a groan, despite the smile on her face.
"Just tell me the ones of me got slashed." She begged.
Mikey chuckled, then flipped the photos so she could see them. Her groan became genuine as she saw the photos.
"And just when I thought I was finally free of those painful things." she lamented.
"What?" Mikey questioned. "You look great. You may not have had long lair like you do now, but at least we took pictures after you weren't a stick anymore."
"But I looked like a dandelion!" Hisako moaned.
The other turtles began laughing a bit.
"You kinda did." Leo agreed.
"Yeah, and that weird bow you found for her didn't help much, Mikey." Raph added.
"Hey, I thought she wanted to feel girly." Mikey argued in his defense.
Hisako smacked him upside the head, eliciting another bout of laughter from the others.
"So that's what that looks like when I do it." Raph mused.
Leo, still chuckling, waved for everyone to calm down.
"Alright guys, back to work." He declared, "Mikey, slide those photos with your DVDs so they don't get damaged any more than they already are."
Everyone nodded then resumed work. Donny continued scavenging his lab, Raph went to work in the dojo, Mikey took his stuff up to Renaissance Motors where the Shellraiser was waiting, and Leo began sifting through Splinter's room with Hisako. The two of them winced at the amount of damage the little room alone sustained.
"I can't believe it." Hisako whispered.
"Me neither." Leo replied.
Hisako looked over at her brother, sensing his guilt rising to the surface once more. Hisako quickly punched him in the arm, causing the blue turtle to yelp in surprise.
"What was that for?" Leo asked.
Hisako gave him a 'what do you think' look, crossing her arms. He let out a sigh, rubbing his arm a bit.
"You know, sometimes your powers are a real pain in the shell." he commented.
"Trust me, I know." Hisako agreed, beginning to sift through Splinter's drawers. "You don't know how happy I was when Sensei helped me find the off switch. No more hearing every passerbyer's thoughts on accident. You don't want to know what most of them were thinking half the time."
Leo let out a snort, then he came across a fallen shelf, one that used to house the few mementos of Splinter's life as Hamato Yoshi. He picked up the shelf, revealing the two pictures. Both had slight char marks around the edges from the fire, but the pictures themselves were still in good condition. The first was of Yoshi with his wife beneath the Sakura blossoms, and the second was of him, his wife, and his child in New York during the Chinese New Year parade.
"Sensei will be glad to see these survived." Leo commented. "The frames are even still intact."
Hisako looked over at the photos with a smile. Then her eyes locked on the woman in the photo. Her eyes went wide as several hazy and warped memories flitted through her head. She grabbed the frames, looking at the woman with such an intensity that Leo blinked in confusion.
She didn't seem to hear him, caressing the woman's face.
"Tang Shen..." she whispered.
"Yeah, Master Splinter's wife." Leo remarked, eyeing his sister wearily. "Sis, are you-?"
"I gotta go." Hisako interrupted.
Before Leo could even register what she'd said, she'd bolted out of the room, sliding out of the lair and making her way towards their new home. The others watched her go, exchanging glances. Wordlessly, they all dropped what they were doing, going after their sister.
Splinter had finally finished the last of the dusting and sweeping, wiping beads of sweat from his fur. Even without most of their stuff, the alcove was already beginning to look like an actual home. He'd managed to set up a door to his room, as well as arrange the mats in the dojo. Once his children returned with the last of their stuff, then it truly would become home.
Setting the broom aside, he prepared to sit down for a moment of meditation. He had just closed his eyes when the door hissed open. He let out a sigh, smiling slightly.
"It never fails." He said to himself.
He stood up, straightening his robe.
"I was expecting you to use the elevator," he remarked as he turned towards the door. "What were you able to scavenge from- Hisako?"
Hisako stood in the doorway, breathing hard from most likely running the entire way from the old lair to the new one. She had two picture frames in her hand and was leaning against the door frame to try and steady herself.
"Are you alright my child?" Splinter asked, walking towards her.
Panting heavily, Hisako held out the picture frames in her hand towards Splinter. He took the photos, his eyes widening when he saw the contents.
"These survived..." he said with no small amount of relief in his voice, "I was afraid they had been lost."
"Sensei..." Hisako wheezed. "We need…. To talk…."
She continued to try and catch her breath as Splinter took her arm, ushering her towards the room he had claimed as his own. He sat her down, then went into the kitchen to fetch a small glass of water. He brought it back, allowing Hisako to down the glass in a single gulp. Once she set her glass aside, Hisako took a deep breath.
"Sensei… Tell me about that night."
Splinter raised an eyebrow, sitting down in front of his daughter.
"You have heard this story many times, my child." He commented. "Why the sudden desire to hear it again?"
"Please, Sensei." Hisako insisted.
Splinter looked at Hisako, seeing a glint of desperation in her eyes, as well as more than a dose of confusion. Curious, Splinter cleared his throat.
"It was about 17 year ago." Splinter began. "My daughter… Miwa… awoke in the night after a nightmare. She'd dreamed her pet turtles, the very four who would become your brothers, had been turned into monsters."
His eyes became glassy as he was taken back to that night. Hisako could see the events playing in his head.
"She begged me to take them out to the shed for the night." he continued, his voice becoming quieter. "And when I did… that is when the large chemical truck crashed into my home. The resulting explosion covered me and the turtles in the mutagen that transformed us into the beings we are today, and the fire killed my darling Miwa… and my beloved-"
"Tang Shen." Hisako interrupted.
Splinter gave a small nod.
"Yes." He told her. "I miss them both every day, but I know that both of them would not wish for me to wallow in misery."
Hisako hesitated for a moment, then straightened her back.
"Sensei..." she finally said. "I… I have something to tell you."
Splinter blinked in surprise, prompting Hisako to explain further.
"It was back at April's place," she clarified. "When I went head to head with Karai. When I did my thing… you know…. The dark phoenix mode?"
"Yes, I do recall your release of power." Splinter noted.
"Well, usually I don't remember doing it, like back in That Place with Him."
"It's different this time..." Hisako paused for a minute, as if unsure of what she was saying. "I mean, I remember pieces… snippets of memories that aren't mine… I can only assume they're Karai's."
"My child, you are not making any sense." Splinter told her. "What is going on?"
Hisako took a deep breath, then spoke up once more.
"That name… Tang Shen's name and her face… are engraved in Karai's head."
Splinter paused, unsure of what to think about this new piece of information. He stroked his chin, contemplating what this could mean.
"Tang Shen's name?" He asked.
"Yes." Hisako replied with a nod. "I think she knew her… personally I mean. But that's not possible. Karai's only three years older than us, so she would have been a toddler at the time."
Splinter felt his heart skip a beat at Hisako's words. He didn't dare get his hopes up, but a part of him was beginning to wonder if it was possible…
"Hisako, what else do you remember?" he questioned, fighting to keep his voice steady.
Hisako closed her eyes, trying to drudge up the memories she's seen. Since so much time had passed, not just since the incident but for Karai as well, it was proving to be difficult.
"There was one memory…" she remembered. "I remember I thought it was weird because it felt…. Tampered with."
"Tampered with?" Splinter repeated.
"Not by… well, someone like me." Hisako replied. "More like, she's altered the memory herself. Everything was fuzzy, some voices didn't fit… it just didn't seem right."
"Was there anything that did seem to fit?" Splinter questioned.
Hisako nodded, her eyes still closed.
"Sensations mostly." Hisako answered, "The air rippling from an explosion… The heat of a fire… and something scratching at me all over. It's hard to tell what it is but… amongst the smell of smoke, there's this… Sweeter smell. Like flowers of some kind, but I don't know the scent."
Splinter's eyes went wide. He clutched his chest as he remembered.
"The Rhododendron bushes..." He gasped. "That was Miwa's favorite hiding spot whenever we would play hide and seek..."
Hisako gave a small nod.
"The bushes protected her from most of the damage, allowing her to escape with only a few patches of burned skin. We just didn't see them because her tattoos covered them all."
As the realization sank in, Splinter found himself unable to keep the unbidden tears from falling from his eyes.
"Then… it is possible…. That Karai..."
"Is Miwa." Hisako finished.
"WHAT?!" Mikey's voice exclaimed.
Both Splinter and Hisako turned towards the door, Hisako mentally pushing it open. Once she did, all four of the turtles stumbled into the room, landing in one giant turtle pile.
"Ow..." Mikey groaned.
"How long have you been standing there?" Hisako questioned.
"Long enough." Leo replied, untangling himself from his brothers.
"You ran off!" Raph yelled. "Again!"
"I'm sorry guys." Hisako apologized. "But… I had to know."
Donny stepped forward, approaching Splinter.
"Sensei… is it possible?" he asked. "Could Karai really be Miwa?"
Splinter remained on the ground, fearing his legs lacked the strength to stand.
"I had always hoped, even prayed that by some miracle my family survived." He said. "Now, I learn that perhaps my prayers did not go unanswered as I had believed."
"If that's true, and Karai is Miwa, then she needs to know the truth," Leo announced.
Raph crossed his arms, not exactly agreeing with the idea.
"Leo, did you forget about what happened the last time you trusted her?" He demanded. "Karai's bad news, and frankly, I think she'd sooner turn us into turtle soup before she'd listen to a word we have to say."
"I hate to admit it, but Raph may be right." Donny concurred. "How can we ever trust her?"
"Nobody said we had to trust her." Leo argued. "We just need a way to draw her out so we can talk to her face to face."
"And when she calls us a bunch of liars and tries to kill us?" Raph asked.
Leo hesitated, then Splinter spoke up.
"I have no illusions about how difficult this mission will be." Splinter admitted, "But, we must try."
"Hisako," Leo spoke turning to his sister. "You wouldn't have happened to get any Foot locations from Karai along with this info, did you?"
Hisako gave a smirk.
"I think I got something that could work." she told him. "What are you suggesting?"
"I'm suggesting that we let Shredder and his cronies know that we're back in town." Leo told her. "Turtle style."
This was met by a chorus of cheers from the others, each of them raising their weapons in anticipation.