I landed hard on the pile of trashes and damn they stink! I got off on my feet to look around, instantly starting to look nearest manhole. 30 minute surely had passed easily and little Leo most surely had return back to the lair already or that’s what I hoped if he hadn’t got in troubles. I climbed on the roof and started to head forward after I recognized the place and knew where closest manhole was.
Hiding on the roof I waited for few people to walk past and disappear before I slide down the ladders and rushed to manhole, lifted it and jumped inside the sewers. As I ran towards the lair I only could wish him to be there and waiting for me. It felt way too long before I came to lair’s door and opened it, stepping inside to see the lair was quiet and empty.
No answer. Shit. My nervousness was going in my legs as I walked all around in the lair looking for him while calling for him. “Leo, it’s me. That big turtle who was with you earlier. You remember me, right? I forgot to tell you my name’s Raphael. I’m… I’m one of your brothers from the past.”
I stood at the middle of the lair looking around but I didn’t see him until something moved in the shadows and Leo stepped forward carefully with his teddy bear tightly in his arms. I sighed with smile in relief as I knelt down on one knee, keeping my eyes on his.
“You’re okay. Thank goodness.” Now he found new speed level to his feet as he rushed to me and hugged me tight. “I know… I know I left you even I said I wouldn’t. I’m sorry. Things didn’t go as I thought they would have gone. But I’m here now and I came to get you like I promised.”
Pushing him gently away I looked into his shiny eyes. “But the main question is; Do you want to come with me? Do you want to leave this place and world?” Little Leo nodded without hesitation few times. That was good answer while I stood up looking around.
“There’s no much of stuff in here but if there’s anything what you like to take with you, go get them now and then we will go.”
I watched down as Leo stood in front of me and lifted his teddy bear towards me first and then hugged it tightly. It was kind of sad but warming at the same time.
“Is that all what you need and want?” And he nodded. I’m sure he might would had take something to remember his brothers from but then again there really wasn’t anything left about them. I believe Splinter had threw almost all of their belongings away after their deaths. Picking up little Leo in my arms I walked to the doorway and turned to look behind us last time.
“This is it then. You will not see this place ever again.”
Leo hugged me tightly and shook his head against my neck. It was clear he didn’t want to see it again so I carried him away, hearing the door shut behind us.
“You again? What are you doing here? I thought I sent you back to your own time like you asked.”
“You did but I came back to get this little guy who I promised to come to get.”
April’s relative eyed Leo who hid behind my leg. She then looked at me and sighed.
“You want me to send you back again, right?”
“I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”
“Sorry, but no can do.”
“Teleport has not been used for years and years and years. It was lucky shot it started and worked last time but it was very close of overheating. It might overheat this time in the middle of the teleportation and I can’t guarantee it will take you to your time if it blasts in the middle of everything.”
“It’s worth the try since I ain’t staying here with little Leo. I promised my bros I would come back.”
“Never make promises what you cannot keep.” Her voice was cold and calm at the same time. This little…! I went to her and slammed my palms hard on the desk in front of her.
“I don’t give a damn of your opinion! I want that darn machine on and get back to my own time and YOU are gonna do it, no matter what!”
“Hmh, so you really are taking a risk of getting stuck who knows where, even between times and spaces, just to get back to your time?”
“I told you already. Yes. I do whatever it takes to get back home.”
She sighed deeply taking her glasses off, cleaned them and put them back on. “Very well but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
I felt touch on one of my belts and saw Leo looking up at me worried and scared. I patted his head gently and shared small smile to him. “Don’t worry, we will make it.” I somehow doubted my own words but I didn’t want to worry little Leo more so I took a hold of his hand and followed April’s relative to the lab.
She asked it again was I sure about all this and I nodded. This was our only way to get back to my time. I watched her pressing few buttons and the power came on. Feeling strong pulls on my belt I looked down once more meeting with those wide and fearful eyes. Picking Leo in my arms I held him tight and told him to hold on me back as tight as he could and so he did with his small hands. Soon the portal opened and computer scanned both of us, setting our data in the portal which started to suck us in but after few seconds it started to smoke and keep weird sounds.
“It won’t last! It will blast!”
“Darn it! Hold on, Leo!” I ran towards the opening and jumped in it feeling extreme heat surround us. Protecting little Leo I moved him right against my chest wrapping my arms around him feeling my skin burning on my arms. Suddenly, out of nowhere, shock wave hit my shell sending me forward with fast speed and I started to feel burning sensation fading away. Next thing what I saw was a light and turned towards it shell first for pure instinct to protect little Leo in my arms so he wouldn’t get crushed under me if we would crash on something hard.
And we did crash on something hard. Painful short scream with hiss escaped me as my already injured shell ached from the impact but small hand on my cheek eased the feeling and I opened my eyes instantly looking down in my arms. Leo looked worried but I smiled at him and allowed my head drop down, tapping Leo’s shell gently.
“I’m okay. Don’t worry.” Lifting my head up I looked at him with concern. “How about you? You didn’t get any injuries from the heat or anything?” And he shook his head but pointed my arms. Darn it. Part of my skin had burn and they smelled so bad but no can do. I had no time to worry about them now since I needed to discover where we were. It looked like some sort of storage room with all wooden boxes so we might would be at the dock or something. Suddenly this room swung a bit and it made me sit up. W-were we on the boat of some sort? I grabbed Leo in my arms and ran up on the deck after making sure we wouldn’t be seen and yeah, we were on this cargo ship! In a horizon I could see familiar dock of New York’s so I took tight hold on Leo and told him to hold his breath.
Jumping over the edge I splashed into the water and dove deeper, swimming further away so we wouldn’t be seen before I dared to come up for air. Little Leo gasped for air taking few deeper breaths before looking at me with mild annoyance.
“Hey, don’t give me that look. I told you to take a deep breath and hold it.” But I couldn’t help but to smile at him and rub his head. “But you did good, very good. What do you say if we swim to the shore now?”
Leonardo only nodded as he got on me better and pointed towards the docks.
“What? You are just gonna sit on me and play I’m your boat? That’s cruel.”
His expression changed instantly and he started to come off on me but I held him still. “Hey, it was a joke. Of course you can play and sit on me. I don’t mind.” I sighed deeply closing my eyes. “I’m sorry I said so painful thing to you. I… I have lots to learn what to say and how to be with you.”
I felt small and wet hand coming on my nose, tapping it gently few times. I think he was forgiving me. Finally starting to row with my hands and kicking with my feet we started to move towards the docks and it took a while before we reached them. We could have get out of the water but there were people partying at the dock so we used another way to the sewers.
Diving under the water I found a spot what we had used few times to get in and out of sewers. Moving grating out of the way was easy and our trip towards home continued. Leo and I finally came to the area where we got out of the water and had some solid floor beneath our feet. Excitement and joy in me started to grow while we came more closer to my home but I felt Leo’s hold on me getting tighter.
“It’s okay. My family is good and kind. You don’t need to be afraid of them at all. And really if you are not afraid of me then you really don’t need to fear any of them since I’m the most dangerous one of them all.”
Leo raised his eye ridge a little and it seemed he wasn’t sure was I telling the truth or lying but it eased his nervousness and fear. “Oh, here we are!” Reaching to one pipe I pulled it and the door opened and I stepped in, door closing behind me. Leo’s weird gasp and his hold on me got as tight as he could when he spotted my brothers and man, he was fast when he climb on my shell and slid down behind my feet before my brothers noticed me.
“Yo, bra, you’re back!”
They all rushed to me giving taps on my shoulder and hugs but Don was the first one to notice my burns.
“What are these? Where you got them?”
“Chill, I just got slightly burned, that’s all.”
He gave me angry look over his glasses. “This isn’t anything to chill about, Raphael. This is serious. These burns are serious and bad. You come with me instantly. These need medical treatment.”
I really didn’t had any room to argue with Don since I knew those burns were bad. Part of my skin had turn black and they sting like hell so I followed him like a good puppy, forgetting little Leo who ran after me making those weird panic sounds.
“H-hey, what’s that!?”
“Back away, guys!”
Mikey seemed to be all excited and curios but Leonardo was already ready to take his weapons out when little Leo reached me and I picked him up in my arms.
“Relax, boys. He’s good.”
Mikey took few steps closer but still kept his distance while Don came next to us scanning little Leo with his goggle as I call it.
“It’s a little turtle! Like us!”
“Well duh, of course he is, Mikey.” Don said as he lifted goggle off on his eye. “But how…?”
“Is he the one who you said to be an orphan and went to get him here?” Leonardo’s voice was firm and strict and his look was strict as well. He wanted answers since I had brought some outsider in our home.
“Yes, this is he. You got problem with that?”
“Not yet at least but I would like to know who he is.”
“He’s my son.”
Leo’s expression went from strict to surprised while Mikey and Don both screamed their lungs outs. As hilarious as it was and I was laughing at them all, I needed to tell them the truth.
“Oh shut it! I was joking. He ain’t my son but he’s little Leonardo from the future. Or rather from different dimension as I like to think of it.”
Mikey came closer and little Leo dared to turn his head a bit to see Mikey from the corner of his eye before hiding his face tightly against my shoulder.
“Are you sure he’s little Leo? He could be little me too since he have blue eyes.”
“He’s little Leo. I will tell you all details --”
“But not now.” Don said firmly and took a hold on my shoulder. “I need to check and treat your burns.”
“Of course. Hey, little Leo.” He so slowly turned his head a bit so he could look up at me. “I want you to stay here with Mikey and big Leo. Can you do it? You can play with Mikey. He’s funny and good at playing.”
Looking carefully over his shoulder at Mikey, Leo turned to look at me and shook his head. “It’s okay. I know he looks scary but he’s very good guy. He’s the nicest of us all. You will be in good hands and I won’t be far away.” I lifted my gaze on Don next to me. “Do you still have that small jingle bell?”
“Yeah but why?”
“Go get it.” Don was confused but he left and came back with it. I cut one strip off on my bandage and tied that bell on it and then tied it gently around Leo’s neck. “Whenever you need me, ring this bell and I will come to you. Okay?”
Leo held that small bell in his hand and nodded finally, allowing me to put him down.
“Oh, Raphael. You have finally return. All wet and injured I see.”
All of us turned to look our father who came to us. It was then when little Leo freaked out totally. He made indescribable sounds in fear as he looked at Splinter and then me, trying to climb in my lap clawing my skin. Pure panic and horror shined in his pleading eyes as he was crying and gasping for air while reaching his hands towards me with his teddy bear in hands. Oh fu…! I cursed in my mind as I lifted little Leo fast in my arms and pressed his head gently against my shoulder and I could feel it how he tried to bury himself all so deep in my body.
Of course everyone were surprised by this, specially Splinter so I had no choice but to give short explanation to them all.
“I’m sorry, Master Splinter, but he’s extremely afraid of you. In his time you… weren’t even near as loving and caring as you have been to us in this time. I will tell you more later if needed but I recommend you to read that Splinter’s diary what I left in battle shell before going to Shredder earlier.” I turned to look Leo who was holding me so tight the color from his little fingers had started to fade. I pressed my forehead gently against the top of his head and talked with gentle whispers; “It’s okay, Leo. He is not bad in my time. You don’t need to fear him at all. I promise you he won’t hurt you. He never hasn’t hurt us either. You are safe here with all of us.”
But no, it didn’t ease his panic and fear at all.
“I suggest you and this little Leo, like you call him, come with me in needle room where I can treat you. Sorry, Master.”
I looked at Master Splinter feeling guilty for this happening but he understood. “Of course, Donatello. Raphael’s injuries require treatment so go and take care of them. Leonardo, would you kindly go get me that diary?”
“Of course, father.”
I watched as Leo went to garage to get diary from battle shell before Don dragged me with him into needle room.
I came back to my father and Michelangelo with this old diary in my hands. As curious as I had been I hadn’t go open and read it. I would let father read it first and I was sure he would let all of us either read it or he would tell us what was inside of it. Apparently Raphael had read it already since he knew something from it. Something what had something to do with Splinter and that little... Leo like he called that new little turtle. I handed diary to my father who took it with smile.
“Thank you, Leonardo. Now if you all excuse me I better go read this and see what it holds inside. I will be in my room if you need me.” Father gave us his back but stopped. “Oh, and when Raphael is been treated tell him to come to see me. I wish to know more about that little turtle who was with him. But let him know not to take him with him since it’s clear that poor little child is afraid of me and I wish not to frighten him more than I already have.”
“Of course, father. I will let him know all that.”
Father nodded once and went on towards his room until Mikey got my attention by turning to look at me. “So um, is that little turtle really Raphael’s son?”
“I doubt it. He said it himself he was joking. But I don’t understand how it can be little… Leo. I mean we live in 2014 now and we already are teens so how he, in 3079, can be small little turtle? It doesn’t make any sense.”
“Perhaps it’s not the future but whole new different dimension like Raphael said.”
“That would be the only explanation, Mikey. But then there’s more questions like why there’s only him and not other? Why he’s so afraid of Splinter? And just… I don’t get it.”
Sighing Mikey tapped my shoulder leaving his hand resting on it.
“Don’t sweat it, dude, I’m not getting it either but I’m sure we get more information after Splinter has read that diary. … Do you believe what Raph said about that other Splinter? That he hadn’t been all that loving and caring about and towards us?”
“Hard to tell but then again that strong reaction from that little Leo towards Master Splinter was extremely powerful example of it there must had been something… Maybe not wrong but just something between him and Splinter of his time. Something what hasn’t been all that good.”
Mikey’s expressions turned sad as he turned to look towards Splinter’s room. “Hard to imagine him as a bad guy...”
“We don’t need to since he isn’t bad guy. Not to us at least.” And we both just stood there in silence while keeping our eyes on Splinter’s door.
I sat on my little pillow on the floor, surrounded by burning candles and small table light while reading this old diary what Raphael had brought with him and I must say - all that what I so far have seen written in this book, has been piercing my heart. So much hate, anger, coldness, emptiness and horror towards those little innocent turtles. How my other form could have been so cruel? No any hint of love or care. Only death, violence, fear and pain.
I felt my heart could no longer handle this pain so I closed the diary and placed it on my table, lifting my hand on my heart. Breath, breath, breath. It’s not me who has done all that. It has been someone else who looked like me. Opening my eyes my focus turned instantly on the photo what I kept on my night table. My sons. They all stood in line at the age of 5 in that pic and it warmed my heart so much since they all were smiling in that photo. Looking so happy, being safe and sound. I felt great sorrow my other sons could never feel such love and care but it brought me hope that one of them was now safe and sound with us. I, with my sons, would do anything to show him true love and care. I just wished he would learn to overcome his fear towards me after all that what my other form had made him go through.