Chapter 20 (Final)
“What do we do now?” Raph asked Bishop as they walked together. The bruise on Bishop’s chin was starting to fade to nothing more than a yellow mark, even though it had only been less than twenty four hours. Whatever enhancements he had made to himself included an accelerated healing factor.
“Do you not plan on coming back with me?” Bishop stopped, causing Raph to stop as well.
“I do want to be with you but I can’t stay locked up in the compound.” The two looked at each other and Raph sighed. “What would I do? You killed the Nightwatcher.” He leaned back against a tree and crossed his arms over his plastron. “You’re such an asshole.”
“There are ways around that,” Bishop said, standing in front of Raph. He ran his hand along Raph’s cheek as he spoke and managed to calm him. “Whatever happens, I want you back at the compound with me.”
“How would you get around the Nightwatcher’s death?” Raph said, trying to sound irritated but it came out sounding more desperate. He liked being the Nightwatcher, protecting the city without having to hide in the shadows. Even though he was hidden behind the suit, he was finally getting recognition a sense of freedom beyond anything he had had before.
“I’ll think of something,” Bishop assured him and leaned in for a gentle kiss.
Raph’s eyes flitted closed as he pushed in for another, the soft touch of Bishop’s lips making everything else seem trivial at that moment. As long as they were together, he didn’t care about what they did.
“We can figure all of that out later,” Bishop grabbed Raph by the hand and led him deeper into the foliage.
They found a clearing in a part of the forest where the trees were dense enough to block out most of the midday sun. The ground was covered with damp leaves and mud. Bishop guided Raph to the ground then got on top of him, straddling his hips. Raph smiled up at him, “You’re gonna get your suit all dirty.”
“Not if I’m careful,” Bishop replied, running his hands down Raph’s chest.
“No,” Raph’s smile grew. “You’re gonna get dirty.” Before Bishop could react, Raph reached up and held on to Bishop as he rolled. Bishop was on his back, on the leaf covered ground with Raph looming over him. “See.”
“Why do you do this to me?” Bishop tried to sound irritated but there was humor in his voice. His agent’s mask faltered with Raph.
“Because it’s fun to see you squirm.” Raph stopped all other conversation with a deep kiss. When they pulled apart to take a breath, Raph reached down and pulled on Bishop’s belt. “Let’s break in this new body of yours.”
“I have a great idea. I can be the new Nightwatcher.” Mikey threw up his hand, standing so fast that the chair clattered to the floor.
They had been discussing how they would bring Nightwatcher back in a believable way. Mikey would rather get paid to be a super hero over a party clown any day. It’s like a dream come true for him.
“The point is to get me back as the Nightwatcher,” Raph groaned.
“Yeah, but you’re dead. I can step in as your replacement.”
“Uh, Mikey,” Donny interjected. “Raph stayed in the suit so he can pose as his own replacement and no one would know.”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Leo added.
“Me as the Nightwatcher?” Mikey looked down at his mate hoping for support in his dream.
“No,” Leo answered and Mikey groaned in disappointment. Leo looked at Bishop. “You can simply say that someone had stepped up to take up the mantle of the Nightwatcher. No one will know that it’s the same guy.”
“That might work,” Bishop nodded his head in thought.
“Do you think that maybe we can take turns being the Nightwatcher then,” Mikey begged. “No one will know.”
Leo rolled his eyes and glared up at Mikey, “You’re not gonna let it drop are you?”
“Fine,” Mikey’s face took on a sullen expression as he turned to pick up his chair. He plopped down in it, defeated, and rested his chin on the table with his arms outstretched. “I’ll stop.” He let his mind wander, not caring about how the rest of the conversation was going.
After a while, Raph flicked his fingers, snapping Mikey out of his brooding thoughts. “Are you listening?” Raph flashed him a smile when he looked up.
“No,” Mikey admitted, not even attempting to hide the fact that he stopped paying attention. “I’m too busy thinking about the birthday parties I’m gonna have to suffer through when we get back to New York.”
Leo leaned down and placed his chin on Mikey’s arm with his mouth close to Mikey’s ear slit. “Sit up and listen. I think you’re gonna like what Bishop has to say.”
Leo pulled back as Mikey sat up and looked him in the eyes. Mikey looked up at Bishop then back at Leo, “Okay. What did I miss?”
Bishop stood at a podium, in front of a group of reporters. Cameras and microphones were pointed at him as they all waited for what it was he had to say. He hated being in the spotlight.
“As you all know,” Bishop started and the crowd went silent, the only other sound was that of cameras flashing. “Nightwatcher died in the line of duty, saving our city from a notorious weapons dealer and his accomplice, just a few short weeks ago. Out of respect of his family, his identity will never be revealed.
“Though we suffer the loss of a great hero, four more have stepped forward to take his place.” He paused, mostly because he was bombarded with question from the press. Holding up his hands, he waited for the clamor to die down before he continued.
“These are skilled men in specially engineered suits made to combat the alien technology. They have trained together and are willing to fight to protect us from any who dare to try and take Hun’s place. There is still a threat out there so long as there is alien technology in the hand of those who wish to do us harm.
“These four heroes are willing to fight against those enemies and assist the NYPD in protecting our fair city. I present to you the Nightwatchers,” Bishop stepped back from the podium as the four Turtles stepped out, each wearing a different variation of the Nightwatcher suit, accented with their individual colors. The crowd erupted with applause and questions from the press. Bishop approached the podium again and added, “For their safety and the safety of their families, their identities will not be revealed.”
Raph glanced over at Mikey and he knew that his brother was grinning under his helmet. He couldn’t blame him. It was thrilling to finally be able to present themselves to the people, even if it was under a guise.
They stood as pictures were taken and the reporters shouted their questions over the roar of the crowd.
As fun as it was, Raph was eager for it all to end so that they could get to work. Even though Hun was a main player in the weapons trade, he knew that there would be others who would set up to take his place. Until each piece of Triceraton technology was off the streets, they would not rest.
April sat with Jason in his hospital room. They watched the press conference together and April muted it as Bishop started to answer some of the reporters’ questions.
She pointed up to the screen, “You see the one on the far right, the one with the red accents?”
“Yeah,” Jason nodded.
“That one is Raphael,” April told him. “It’s a long story why it had all worked out this way but he wanted you to know that he is alive and well. The other three are his brothers. They are also mutant turtles.”
“Do you think I will be able to meet them?” Jason looked up at her, with hope in his tired eyes.
“We might be able to arrange something,” April smiled and kissed the top of his head.
After much debate, it had been decided that they all move into the compound. That way they could all stay together and be ready to go out whenever they were needed. Leatherhead worked with Stockman and the rest of the science team while the Turtles did their nightly patrols.
Each couple had a room to themselves and Splinter was able to enjoy his retirement in relative luxury. He had his own set of rooms, including a small kitchen where the small family would spend some of their time together.
They continued to train together along with select members of their team. Splinter would observe while Leo led, offering advice when it was asked of him.
For the first time in a long time, things were starting to settle into place. The streets of New York weren’t entirely safe, they never would be, but it was nothing compared to what they had faced before.
As the years passed, they managed to collect most of the Triceraton technology but the threat to the city changed soon after. The Triceratons and Utroms returned to Earth, thrusting the human race into the rest of the universe and aliens of all kinds started to show up.
By the time the Turtles were in their fifties, they were finally able to reveal themselves to the world and were accepted.
Walking along the streets of New York was, at first, terrifying for them and went against everything they were taught. They were not the strangest looking creatures walking around so people paid very little attention to them, thought a few did ask for their autograph.
They continued to adapt and protect the city until age had them retiring.
Bishop sat on the edge of the bed and watched as Raph slept. He knew that their time together was coming to an end and was worried when he went in for his latest, scheduled clone transfer that Raph wouldn’t last long enough for him to regain his memories.
As soon as they came back, he rushed to the room where Raph was being kept and was relieved to see that he was still breathing. He had the small shell of his nameless brother wrapped in his arthritic hand.
“What time is it?” Raph grumbled, coming out of his sleep.
“Past noon,” Bishop answered.
“Why’d you let me sleep so long?”
“You’re old,” Bishop quipped. “You need all the sleep you can get.”
“I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.”
Bishop’s heart sank and he ran his fingers over Raph’s cheek, “Please don’t talk like that.”
Raph chuckled, “Aren’t you ready to trade me in for a new model? I’ll come back quicker this time.”
“Let me clone you,” Bishop pleaded.
Raph shook his head, “You know I don’t want that. I promise. I’ll come back as a cute alien with a long life span.”
Bishop couldn’t help but laugh. “No matter what form you take, I will love you.”
Raph grabbed Bishop’s hand and kissed his fingers. “I’m gonna keep testing that,” he mumbled as he drifted back to sleep.
Bishop entered the room containing the refugees from a war torn planet. They called themselves Neutrinos. To him they looked and sounded like a group of punks from the nineteen eighties.
During the interview, to grant them asylum, one of them caught his eye. The way he spoke and the way he carried himself, reminded Bishop of someone special. He asked the young Neutrino a series of question to test his theory and was pleased with the results.
He allowed himself a slight smile. At least Raph was true to his word.