Despite all of Raph’s attempts to ignore the girl, he simply could not ignore that bombshell that exploded in his backyard. Him? A father? Her? His daughter?
“Hello? Is there still someone home?” Arianna waved her hand in front of Raph’s eyes, but again, the movement didn’t register. “I think I broke him.” She nervously bit on her lip as she patiently waited for this news to fully sink in.
Eventually it did and she decided she preferred it when he was broken.
“The fuck ya talkin about?” Raph growled in outrage, yanking himself away from her touch and looming over her like some death shadow. The girl at least had some sense to look intimidated this time. “Ya think I have the fuckin time tah take care of your ass, girl? I have more important things tah do than deal with some homeless mutant. Now if ya know what’s good for ya, ya’d leave this place now, while I still allow ya tah. In fact, leave the city. And next time ya come tah some poor ol’ fools home tah pester em. Ya ask fah help instead of bringin their fuckin families intah it!”
This time, it was Arianna’s turn to look shocked. It took several minutes for her to finally react, but it was nothing as he’d expect.
“You bastard!” She screamed. “Now you listen here for just a minute and shut your damn mouth for once while I’m talking! I am not lying and I’m not looking for your stupid help! I have a family and a home and I don’t need your selfish ass to take care of me! I’m not even here for me, I’m here for my father because he’s so stupid as to think that he’s not needed anymore! I’ve tried and I’ve tried talking to him but he just won’t listen to me, so I’ve finally decided to travel fifteen fuckin hours to the one person I thought cared about him just as much as I did. So, if you are going to prove me wrong and continue being the selfish bastard my father said you were, just say the word and I’m gone! You can live the rest of your hellish life by your fuckin self for all I care!”
The spittle was flying from the tiny girl’s mouth and her face turned as red as a tomato as she stabbed her finger against Raph’s chest repeatedly until he had no choice but to back up. To his surprise, he found his shell pressed against the wall of his kitchen like some prey being stalked by a predator.
By the time she was done, she was panting and shaking. Her beautiful green eyes glassing over with unshed tears. She spun around quickly as she began wiping her eyes anxiously.
Raph gulped, feeling awkward and at a loss of what to do. He had made the girl cry! “Y . . . You okay?” He muttered. Reaching out to touch her but then thinking better of it.
Arianna nodded, “I’m fine. Sorry. It’s just teenage hormones sometimes get the better of me when I get mad.”
“Is there anything I can do?” Raph asked.
Arianna sniffled and giggled. “Oh, now you want to help me?”
Raph bit his lip and shrugged. “I’m sorry for what I said. I just don’t like being made a fool of.”
Arianna glanced at him over her shoulder. There were dark streaks on her cheeks but she was smiling. “Geez, who kicked you as a baby?”
Arianna shook her head. “Why would you think I was lying to you? If I was going to prank you, I’d be much more creative than that.”
That sounded like someone he knew. “It was just easier to accept than the alternative.”
“Rather than having a daughter with your ex?”
“Well first of all, this generally doesn’t happen often to mutant gay couples.”
Arianna cocked her head. “How many mutant gay couples have you met?”
Raph snorted. “Not much. There was only four of us. Hence the reason we’re gay. There weren’t many options out there. Well . . . until now.”
Arianna’s eyes widen. “Woah, hey. I don’t swing that way.”
“I like younger guys. Sorry.”
Raph’s eyes widen as well. “What? No! That’s not what I meant! I just meant that with you, we could probably expand on the mutant turtle population. Wait, no . . . that didn’t come out right either.”
Arianna laughed. “I’m just busting your chops. Don’t worry, I know what you meant. Doesn’t mean I would do it even if it were possible and it has to be with the right person. You think I want to mess up this gorgeous body with babies? No thank you.”
Raph chuckled awkwardly. They really needed a change of subject. “So, tell me. How is this even possible? I mean, unless Leo has some weird things going on with his genetics that I never knew about, I’m pretty sure none of us are capable of becoming pregnant.”
Arianna guffawed. This lasted for several minutes before she finally calmed down long enough to answer him. She was wiping the tears from her eyes as she said, “Have you even considered the possibility that I wasn’t conceived?”
Raph blinked, “Well um, you have to admit you do look a hell of a lot like Leo.”
Arianna snorted. “True, but that doesn’t prove anything. Maybe I was, I don’t know, created?”
Raph’s confusion only strengthened after that announcement and Arianna must have seen it on his face because she sighed and said, “It’s a long story so pay attention and I’ll try to keep it as short as possible. There was this rumor going around about some crazy scientist holing up in a warehouse in Japan. The police were wanting to investigate it on suspicions that the guy was growing drugs, so dad decided to go check it out. He said the outside looked decrepit and incapable of sheltering anybody, but when he got inside, it was a full-blown, high-tech laboratory.”
“He had explored a little but never found out what the guy was doing because the guy had attacked him while he was there. He never found out who the person was either, but he said he recognized him as somebody he had fought a couple of years back. Dad said, he had been attacked and drugged and when he awoke, the guy was gone and he never heard from him again. Anyway, dad said that the fighting didn’t last for more than a few minutes before the guy had drugged him again. When he woke up, he said that the place was empty. The laboratory had been stripped clean of any evidence as to what he had been doing.”
“A few days have passed after the incident. Dad kept watch over the laboratory but he never returned. Dad told me that one day, when he was about to head out, he found me in a box on his doorstep with a note telling him that I was his responsibility now and no other was allowed. Dad had tried to hunt down the man for questioning but he could never find him. It seemed like he just disappeared off the face of the earth. So, dad decided to raise me after that.”
A few moments of silence fell between the two as Raph processed this given information. “But,” He began. “why would you say I was your father? I can understand Leo. The guy was clearly experimenting with his DNA, but me?”
Arianna shrugged. “I don’t know. That’s just what dad told me. He said he’s certain that the guy must have gotten ahold of your DNA too, because he’s seen your personality traits in me from day one.”
“But what if it’s just a coincidence? You just happen to get a hot temperament which I have too. That doesn’t mean you’re my daughter.” Raph argued.
“Well, we share the same eyes.”
“That doesn’t mean anything!”
“I don’t know. That’s just what dad told me.”
“But why would . . .?” Raph paused as a thought came to him. A memory several years back of an unknown person attacking him one night on his way home. The guy had drugged him and stolen his blood just as he did to Leo. Raph had searched for the man for years in fear of another apocalypse starting but had come up empty handed as well. Could this really have been what his blood was used for? To make a mutant turtle child of his and Leo’s DNA? But why? What was the purpose of that?
“What is it?” Arianna asked, breaking Raph out of his internal musings.
“I just don’t get why this person would want to create you in the first place.” Raph said, stroking his chin thoughtfully. “It makes no sense.”
Arianna sighed and shook her head. “Honestly, it doesn’t really matter to me why or how I was born. I mean, no one got hurt so it shouldn’t really matter.”
“Well it matters to me.” Raph countered. “It’s not everyday some mutant girl comes up to me and announces that I’m their daddy.”
“Okay, I know this is big news and all, Raph. But the thing is, I didn’t come here just to chat with you. I mean, yes, I’ve been curious to meet you for years but this isn’t my prime objective at the moment.” Arianna explained. “I’m here because my father needs you.”
That got Raph’s attention. “Leo? Is he okay?” He didn’t bother trying to cover the amount of worry in his voice.
“He’s . . . fine. He’s just . . . I don’t know how to explain this. He’s depressed. Lonely.”
Raph’s brows knitted in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“Well, like I’ve mentioned before, dad no longer feels like he is needed. I’ve just recently started talking to him about the possibility of moving out and I think, to him, I’m basically telling him that I’m now too independent for his teachings anymore. He no longer feels useful.”
“Sounds like he needs a therapist rather than an ex.”
Arianna huffed. “Dad’s slowly deteriorating. He uses up all his time in training till he’s injuring himself . . .”
“Well Leo always liked to do that even as a teen.” Raph commented dryly.
“More than usual, I mean. And when he isn’t doing that, he holes himself up in his room for hours on end. He loses interest in things fast. He doesn’t speak to me often and he speaks even less to everyone else. He’s eating less. He’s sleeping less. He’s making himself sick! I’ve tried to talk to him but I don’t think anything I’m saying to him is reaching him anymore.” The concern for her father on Arianna’s face was heart wrenching and Raph found himself stepping closer to the girl and squeezing her shoulder comfortingly. He could tell that these past events she had mentioned was really wearing on her and he couldn’t blame her. Concern for his ex-lover sent a sudden urge of wanting to go see him.
“You don’t think he’s suicidal, do you?”
“God, I hope not.” The fact that Arianna didn’t even say no was enough reason to be worried.
“So, what do you want me to do about this?” Raph asked, despite already suspecting the answer. Arianna met his eyes and he noticed hers were shiny again, but no tears fell even though he could tell she really wanted them to. If she really did have his personality, then Raph would know that she had never allowed herself to cry because it showed weakness or uselessness. That’s always how he had felt even as Don argued it was just a way for your body to release stress.
“I want you to come to Japan with me.”
Yep. Raph reckoned as much. He sighed, preparing himself for the inevitable. Raph opened his mouth to reject her offer when she immediately interrupted him.
“Please Raph. Dad needs you. Leo needs you.”
Raph scoffed, “He doesn’t need me. He never needed me. Told me himself. He only kept me around because he wanted my . . .” Raph stopped himself there to clear his throat. Reminding himself there were children in the room.
“You actually think he meant that?”
“Did he tell you about our fight?”
Arianna shrugged. “I asked a few times but he always glossed over it. You guys said some nasty things to each other, said you hated each other and what not, then he left. That’s all I really know.”
Raph nodded, “Good.”
“Raph the only reason I’m here is because I don’t know what else to do anymore. I’m running low on options and I’m panicking. Please, I will beg on this floor if I have to.” Yeah, Raph was familiar with that.
“I just don’t see how bringing back Leo’s past is going to help him much. We can’t stand being in the same room together anymore without it erupting into a big fight. I just want to leave things to rest now and move on instead of trying to make it worse. I’m sure Leo feels the same.”
Arianna’s eyes closed and she sighed. “Yeah, I’m sure he does.”
Raph frowned, feeling a bitterness sour his gut but he ignored it. “I’m sorry. I really am. I wish I could help but I’m not the guy to do it.”
“Yeah, I’m sorry too.” Arianna said, but something in her voice sounded funny, like she didn’t actually mean that. And when she looked up again, her face held this impassiveness that looked scarily like Leo’s. He should have suspected there was something brewing in that head of hers, especially if she had his stubbornness and Leo’s determination in her.
However, Raph had only seemed to realize this after the fact, when Arianna moved closer to him, withdrew an object from her hoodie’s pocket, and stuck said object into the side of his neck.
“This would have made things a hell of a lot easier.”
“What the fuck?” Raph muttered as a sudden dizziness overcame him. He leaned against the island trying to gain his bearings but the dizziness only increased. A familiar warmth and numbness swept through his body and his thoughts became sluggish.
“I really hope this doesn’t put a damper on our relationship. I really would like to get to know you better, Raph.” Arianna smiled apologetically, then her face started to blurr and blackness stretched from the corners of his eyes.
“Y-You fucking brat.” Raph spat angrily as one last blow before his legs gave way and he tumbled to the floor, unconscious.
Raphael awoke slowly and painfully, his eyes blinking rapidly against the blinding light that surrounded him. Actually, it was very dim wherever he was, he realized after his eyes adjusted. He stared confusingly at the metal ceiling above him, then slowly coaxed his eyes to the side to find stacks of cardboard boxes and suitcases on top of each other and strapped down with yellow cargo nets. He couldn’t tell how big the room was from his angle, which was lying down on his back on the floor but he guessed he was in some sort of vehicle judging by the movement of the room, making him motion sick. Adding onto the achiness of his body and a headache that kept him from thinking clearly.
Raph couldn’t remember how he got here, but his first conclusion was that he was kidnapped. Raph tried to sit up to take in his surroundings at a better angle but was unsurprised to find he was tied up by the hands and feet. He was more surprised by the fact that he was tied with zip ties. One of the weakest ways to incapacitate a person. Hell, even an old lady could get out of zip ties!
Raph was about to try a second time to get to his feet when a feminine voice that he swore came out of nowhere say, “Oh, you’re awake!”
Raph startled and rolled back onto his shell, his eyes snapping over to where a familiar female turtle sat, smiling at him. Was it just him, or did she look an awful lot like Leo? Who was she? Was she the one that kidnapped him?
“Sorry about the whole drugging you thing but you have to understand that I had to do this. You gave me no choice.”
Well, that answered one question. “Did Shredder put you up to this?” Perhaps she was brainwashed. It was possible. Shredder has already brainwashed hundreds of people to do his bidding. Or perhaps she was created by him.
Something seemed to click inside Raph’s mind right then. A memory. They had been talking in his apartment and she had explained to him that she had been created by an unknown scientist. Maybe the scientist worked for Shredder?
The girl blinked, “What?”
Raph’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t play dumb with me, girly. Do you work for the Shredder?”
“You don’t remember?” She looked shocked. She was a good little actress. And, like the sorry sucker he was, he took the bait.
The turtle glanced down at something in her hand he couldn’t see. “Holy shit, what do they put in those drugs?”
“Answer me!” Raph demanded, earning a glare from the girl.
“Don’t make me stick this back in you.” She waved the object at him and he quickly identified it as a tranquilizer dart. He returned her his own glare.
“Are ya threatenin me?”
“Hell yes I am.” She said, not looking in the least bit intimidated. “Now settle down, we have a long trip.”
Raph stared at her. “Where are we going?”
Raph’s eyes widened as more memories slowly came back to him. This girl didn’t work for Shredder at all.
Holy shit! I have a daughter! Raph laid his head down on the ground as he thought back to their conversation. Leo and I have a daughter!
“Fuck me!” Raph moaned to himself.
Arianna sneered. “No thanks. I’m good.”
Raph rolled his head to the side to look at her again. She had laid down on the ground as well with her head resting on a duffle bag and her feet propped on another. Her fingers were twirling with the tranq dart that he quickly realized she had used on him when he had rejected her demand to go to Japan with her.
He growled angrily, “Ya drugged me!”
“No shit Sherlock.” She snorted. Her eyes never opening.
“Why did you tie me up?”
This time, she peeked at him through one eye and grinned smugly. “I’m not stupid, you know. I figured you would probably be hostile when you wake up.”
“So, you kidnapped me.”
The other eye opened and she shrugged awkwardly. “I wouldn’t call it kidnapping so much as . . . transporting your body from one location to another without your consent.”
“ . . . That’s kidnapping.”
“Whatever. Anyway, you left me with no choice.”
“No choice?” Raph balked. “You could have hauled your ass on a plane to Japan without me just fine.”
Arianna quickly sat up, looking angry. “Hey, I’m just about willing to do anything for my family, including committing several federal offenses. So, shut the hell up because that’s more than you ever did.” She flopped back down on the duffle, fuming.
Ouch. Raph was dumbstruck to say the least but he had no argument against her. What had he done for his family lately? He had lost Donnie. He had killed Casey. He had gotten Mikey’s arm amputated. And he drove off Leo. He was pretending to be a hero by risking his life everyday to kill bad guys but in reality, he wasn’t even scratching the surface on Shredder’s army. He was just killing time until the day life was tired of him.
Arianna sighed heavily and rubbed her eyes with the palms of her hands, bringing him out of his depressing thoughts. “I’m sorry. That was rude of me. I’ve just been so tired lately, I haven’t slept in a couple of days and I’ve been so worried about dad. I guess the stress is getting to me.”
Raph shrugged. “Well, you only spoke the truth. I haven’t been much use to my family.”
Arianna frowned but didn’t reply. A couple of minutes went by in total silence besides the planes engine running when Raph finally said, “As soon as this plane lands. I’m going home.”
“We’ll see about that.”
Raph grunted and turned his attention back to getting himself on his feet. If he could do that, he could get unbound. Raph immediately started rocking on his shell, trying to build up his momentum. At one point he heard Arianna ask him what he was doing but he was too busy concentrating to answer her. Finally, he got to the speed he wanted and in one fluid motion, he rocked forward onto his heels and stood up. He didn’t check for Arianna’s reaction. He raised up his tied hands, elbows apart and slammed his wrists on his thigh. The zip tie snapped away as if they were dental floss. Raph bent down to release the ties on his ankles when the girl jumped on his shell with a cry.
She tried to stab him with her tranq dart but he had expected the move and he rolled forward. Arianna went tumbling and crashing into the stack of luggage.
Raph got free of his bonds and ran over to the duffle bags where he was sure her weapons were. He dug through her belongings, tossing things useless out and eventually found what appeared to be a tranq gun. Why the hell was she using the dart itself and not the gun? Range weapons usually had the better advantage.
Stupid girl. Raph thought as he stood up. He checked the chamber for a dart and found one already ready. He turned to where Arianna laid but she was gone.
He spun around in a circle, gun raised in front of him as he searched for a sign of where she had went. He discovered she was hiding behind another stack of suitcases to his left after he felt something sharp pierce through his thigh. At first, he thought it was the dart but he realized it was much too thick and heavy. He twisted his body around and yanked out a dagger.
Raph stared wide eyed as his blood dripped from the blade. “Fuckin bitch!”
Drugs must have still been lingering in his system because a sudden wave of nausea and dizziness hit Raph and he dropped the dagger. He sluggishly turned around to shoot at Arianna but was surprised when he saw her charging at him like a wild bull. She leaped into the air a few feet away from him and a second later her heel cracked against his jaw.
Stunned, Raph dropped to the floor like a sandbag, the gun flying out of his grip. It took him quite a while to recover enough to get up but when he did, he was looking inside the barrel of a tranq gun.
Behind the muzzle, Arianna was panting and looking very angry. Raph opened his mouth to try to soothe the girl, but she cut him off. “Escape this, bitch.”
A pop and a hiss later and Raph was on the floor again, numb and paralyzed. “Damn . . . ya.” He forced out between tingling lips as he watched the girl with blurry vision walk over to her half empty duffle and take out several more zip ties. By the time she came back though, he was already out cold yet again.