It took some hours by foot and hiding in shadows to reach the Foot tower but little Leo and I managed to get near by it. Now we only needed to find a way in. Hiding in the closest alley I took a peek at the street and saw no one. Good, very good. I was making my move when trashcan fell down with whole force causing very loud bang. I turned to look over my shoulder in anger seeing little Leo getting up on his knees and crawling to sit behind the fallen trashcan, holding his head with his hands like… He was protecting his head from a hit. Of course, Splinter would had abuse him for such error but I would never raise my hand against him. I walked back to him and picked his trembling body in my arms, petting his head while smiling lovingly at him, looking into those fearful eyes.
“It’s okay. Mistakes happen. I’m not angry but I still think it’s the best if I keep carrying you for now on.” I lifted my gaze from his eyes on the tower, releasing my breath. “After all, we are going to head in enemy’s base. It ain’t gonna be easy and we need to be as quiet as possible. Stay close by me at any cost and be as quiet as you can. I trust you.”
My words seemed to scare him but also encourage him as Leo gave me few small and fast nods, pressing harder against my chest and shoulder. Rubbing my thumb against his arm I whispered with as calming voice as I could; “Don’t worry. I won’t let anything happen to you. Hold on since here we go.”
And I spurt to ran as fast over the street as I could to another side in the shadows. I leaned against the wall and waited for any kind of sound; Yelling, alarms going on… Anything! But no, it was dead quiet. Interesting and worrying since this was THE FOOT’S BASE. I thought it would be heavily guarded. Since road seemed to be clear I went on, sensing little Leo’s worry but I paid no mind to him since we needed to do this. I just held him a bit more tighter as a sign I was there and everything was going to be alright. Reaching the end of this tall fence I groaned. I could get over it easily but little Leo was the problem. I could throw him over the fence but because his body was so thin and fragile looking I didn’t dare to do it. Plus he most surely didn’t know how to land silently. I couldn’t leave him behind either.
“Hey, Leo.” I didn’t look at him but I saw him turning his head and looking up at me. “How tight you can hold on?” I offered him my finger and smiled a bit. “Squeeze it as hard as you can.” And he did after little hesitation… and I felt nothing. Was he really THAT weak? I knelt down placing him standing in front of me, looking at him in the eyes.
“Look, kid, here’s our choices; either I throw you over the fence and might end up hurting you since you are so fragile. Second, you climb on my back and hold on as tight as you can while I jump over the fence or third, you stay here and wait for me. Okay?”
Leo was nervous and he swallowed while his little body trembled. It was clear he had not been getting used of saying his opinion, not after he lost his voice that is. Then he finally pointed at himself and then the ground.
“You will stay here?” And he nodded. For a some reason I had a bad feeling so I placed my hands on his small shoulders and squeezed gently. “Leonardo, I want you to promise me one thing. Stay here and wait for 30 minutes if you can. If you can’t, go back to the lair. I promise I will come get you from there, no matter what. Just please stay in the lair. You understand?” And he nodded few times fast.
“Good. I will come to get you, I swear and promise on my honor. I won’t leave you.” His eyes turned moist while he bit his lower lip, throwing himself to hug me. I knew he was afraid of being left alone but I would keep my words, I would. Petting Leo’s shell and head brought him some comfort and he finally let go of me and hid in the dark corner. I myself took a deep inhale and jumped easily over the fence and ran. I wanted to look behind to see Leo to be okay but I was inside enemy’s base and stopping now would be my death. I hid in shadows and started to look a way to get in which I found soon and easy.
Climbing and crawling in air tunnels was something what I hated because of my size… No, because of my big shell, but it was my only choice. It was long and slow trip but I finally made it to one room which seemed to be good spot to land. I landed silently and looked around only to notice that either this place had never been cleaned or it was abandoned. Confused as I was I went towards the door and opened it, seeing empty and long hall and it was dead silent all around me. I didn’t like this but as I went on and checked rooms after another I realized this place WAS abandoned! Damn it! I had crawl in those fucking tunnels for nothing when I just could had march in like a boss!
I finally came in a room what seemed to be like some sort of lab and there was this huge and round portal looking thing. Keyboard and literally everything else was covered in dust so I wiped them off carefully seeing faint light on monitor screen. 16th of October 3079. …!! 3079! Was I that far into the future or something?! And then I remembered my dream about Master Splinter where he had keep repeating me those numbers. Of course, it was a sign! My family knew the number but didn’t know what it meant! I finally felt happiness and relief of some sort but now I only would need to find a way to get the machine work and send me back to my time.
“Damn, I wish April or Don would be here with me now. They understand more about this stuff than I do...”
“Do you need help, sir?”
I jumped and spun around sais in my hands, meeting eye to eye with this short human woman who had short rusty red hair and huge round glasses. Her face was a bit round shaped and she had freckles on her face. She was wearing long white jacket but she seemed harmless… and those are usually the most dangerous ones in my mind.
“You know how to use this thing? I was sent into this time of yours and I need to go back to my time.”
“Time traveling in another words. And yes, I know how these works. After all I am family to April who you mentioned.”
“H-how do you know April?!”
She walked past me as she started to clean keyboard. “Like I said I’m family to her. She was my greatgreatgreatgreatgreat---” And she kept on going repeating that one word! I had to interrupt her since I was going crazy!
“Okay, okay, stop! She was your great something, I get it.”
“---great grandmother almost 1000 years ago.”
“O~kay. But enough of that. Can you send me back to the past? To New York in 2014.”
“That far off? Hm, I think I can.” She started to press buttons in amazing speed and sure the room lightened up and all machines started to purr like big happy cats. Teleport also turned on and it made one peep sound before it started to suck air in it.
“H-hold on, what are you doing?!”
“Sending you back. That’s what you wanted.”
“Yeah but I didn’t imagine you would be this quick! I need to go get someone from outside! Stop it!”
“I can’t stop it. Once it’s one, it stops until you are sucked in it. Computer scanned you and sent the information about you in the portal and it keeps its eyes on you until you are in.”
Suck turned more stronger and I had difficulties to find anything what I could hold on despite this small desk in front of me. I cursed in my mind for not taking little Leo with me since if I now would be sucked in my time, there was no way I could return back to get him.
“Turn it off, please! I promised to take one little kid with me! I can’t go without him!”
“I can’t turn it off, I told you.”
Feeling my hands turning more slippery I was starting to lose my hold even that I didn’t want to. Leo, poor little Leo…! I tried to reach on something, anything, which would help me to get out of the room but my hands slipped and I was sucked in the portal.
It was 5am in the morning as I got up. Another day with worry and stress to find Raphael. To be honest I had start to give up hope slowly too. I hadn’t reach him via meditation, Don and April hadn’t find anything, Mikey had lost hope long time ago and Splinter was only encouraging us to keep on going. To be honest I don’t know how long I can keep going…
Suddenly there was very loud crashing sound in the lair and I jumped up taking my katanas with me. Were we under attack?! I ran out of my room and came to the center of lair looking all around as Splinter came to my side.
“What is it, Leonardo?”
“I’m not sure, father, so stay behind me. I think we might be under attack.”
Hearing low cursing coming from little garage room, where we kept our battle shell, made me lower my weapons a bit. Only one cursed like that… When huge metal bucket was kicked in the lair from the garage and big turtle, with another bucket on his head, came to my view I dropped my swords and slightly ran to him, sealing him in surprise hug.
“What the fu--!!?”
“Welcome home, Raphael! Gosh we have been so worried! You’re finally back!”
Lifting a bucket off from his eyes, I finally managed to see those light green eyes of his. He looked surprised and confused. I chuckled a bit as I helped him to remove bucket off on his head, taking firm hold on his cheeks.
“You’re back home. Why aren’t you happy?”
Raphael didn’t say anything which made our father come next us, Donatello and Michelangelo soon joining us.
“What is it, Raphael? Are you not happy to be back home? You brought us great worry.”
“I’m sorry, sensei, but I need to go back.”
“What?! But you just came back!”
I watched Raphael marching past us towards the doorway of our lair. “Raphael!”
“I’m sorry but I have to go back to Shredder and ask to send me back.”
“There… There was this small kid. An orphan. I promised I would come back for him and I’m gonna keep that promise.”
“Raphael, that’s --”
“Hold on a moment, my son.” I always admired it how father was able to make Raphael stop so easily unlike I. I watched how father made his way in front of Raphael and talked with him.
“Tell me more about this child. I’m quite curious.”
“I met him in an alley. He’s so skinny, scared and all alone. He’s only 5 and there’s no one who would look after him. He’s an – outcast, just like we are. I promised, father. I promised on my honor.”
That pleading way how Raphael was looking our father was something what I never hadn’t seen before. This really meant a lot to him. Father stroked his beard in silence until he nodded.
“Then go, but I would like you to take one of your brothers with you.”
“With all respect I refuse, sensei. It’s better I go alone. I will be fine.”
Father was suspicious as he eyed Raphael who stood still firmly and it was all what father needed to be convinced. “Very well, you may go, but please tell me where you wish to be send back to.”
“To a year 3079.”
We all gasped since it was the set of numbers what April had found from Shredder’s database.
“Raphael, if you don’t mind me asking, what the world in there was like?” Of course Donatello was curious about this since it was time traveling to the future but the expression on Raphael’s face revealed sad truth about the world in that time.
“It was all dark, gray, lifeless. People were like brainless sheep. There’s… There’s so much what I could tell you but I have to rush. I need to go get that kid.”
“You planning to bring him here in our world?”
“What do you suggest, Mikey? That I leave him there scared, hungry and alone to die?!”
“Raphael, keep your voice down. I’m sure Michelangelo can hear you quite well without yelling.”
“Sorry, sensei. I’m just so tensed and all.”
“Guys, get your weapons.” Everyone’s eyes were on me after I made my statement. “We will escort Raphael to Shredder and make sure he will send Raphael to the right year. The rest is up to Raphael himself after he has been teleported into that another world.”
I turned to look my brother who clearly wasn’t believing what he heard. “Before we go I need to know; After you have been send into the future you are extremely sure you know how to get back to us in this time?”
“Yeah, I’m sure of it. There’s Foot’s base tower which is abandoned but one young woman lives there. She’s VERY far relative to April and she activated the portal for me. I’m sure she will do it again.”
“And if she doesn’t?”
“I make her.” Typical Raphael. Using violence if words didn’t help him to get what he wanted.
I watched my brothers getting ready and come to me. I really didn’t know why they bothered to come to help me but I’m glad they did. It would make it easier for me to get what I want from Shredder. We decided to take battle shell and drove her as close Foot’s base as possible so that my bros could get out of there as soon as possible if needed.
It was Leo’s decision just to march to the front door and ask Foot ninjas to take us to the Shredder. Darn him, I would had loved to smash some heads but since he’s the boss… We were taken to Shredder and he was actually quite surprised to see us.
“Turtles coming to me without a fight and willingly? This is all new. Have you got brain tumors?”
“Humor aside, Shredder. This isn’t easy or even pleasant to say but we need your help.”
“Ooh and since when turtles have need their nemesis’s help?”
“Since now. We want you to send Raphael back to the year of 3079. The place where you were trying to send all of us before.”
“And why I would do that?”
“Because I rip your head off if you don’t!” I felt Leonardo’s eyes on me and Foot ninjas pointing their weapons at me. Growling I stepped back to calm myself. Sometimes I hated my hot and short temper.
“Because we have a van right next to that old tall building next to your tower. That van is filled with powerful explosions and we only need to press one button to make it go boom. That old building would fall on your tower, falling it. I know we can get out fast and easily but I’m not sure can you since you, well, are older man already.”
That cocky smirk on Leonardo’s face was great and so was his bluff too! I smirked widely as I knew Leo just had pull all that from his head. Don and Mikey seemed to catch up with the fake plan as well since Don showed one small remote, shaking it slightly in the air to the Shredder. Judging by his body language Shredder wasn’t pleased so he groaned and stood up.
“Very well, but just this one time I shall help you. Follow me, reptiles.” And we followed into the lab where this small portal was. Shredder went on the keyboard and Leo hinted Don to go there by his side with him. Leo stopped on another side of Shredder while Don was on another side.
“Do not try anything funny, Shredhead. You know I’m fast and deadly if you try anything and Don will see it instantly if you try to change the code or destination year. You know what I’m saying since, despite the fact you are old man, you are not senile.”
Mikey obviously heard this since he poked my arm and we both couldn’t help ourselves as we burst to laugh silently with each other. Of course Shredder heard this and growled at us but it made us laugh even more. It was Leonardo’s cold glare which made us stop. He just knew how to ruin all the fun. After few more buttons portal opened and Shredder stepped aside to allow Donatello check that everything was as it should be and things were alright. Keeping his eyes on Shredder Leonardo moved beside him as I stepped forward towards the portal.
“Be careful, dude.”
“I will, Mikey.”
“You know you’re on your own there, Raphael.” Leo’s voice was calm and yet warning. He meant good since he was worrying big bro in the end. I only nodded to him without looking at him. Sometimes it was best not to reply to him via words but with body language.
“Okay, Raph! Everything is okay so you can step in whenever you like.”
“Thanks, Donny. See you guys later.” As I stepped in this portal I heard Leo’s gentle and silent voice behind me; “Be careful.”