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Coincidence and Fate

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You never really liked the city, all the hustle and bustle of the streets and smells you really couldn't distinguish between the smell of smoke or something dying, but you really didn't have anything to say on the matter when you pursued medicine and research.

You graduated with top marks and was immediately sought out by medical research facilities. Soon enough, you were whisked away on a dream internship with a high-end but lucrative research facility in the city.

Everything about your internship was highly confidential with security patrolling everywhere, as you walked through the doors with armed guards on both sides.

You often wondered as to why the place was so heavily guarded but you chalk it up as one of the facilities concern for mutants that seemed to be rampant in the city as of late, as you scan your ID card giving you access to the labs.

Honestly...the whole business was so hush-hush it was almost suspicious, but you never questioned it, the pay was good enough to help pay off your student loans, put a roof over your head, buy food with some to spare, so yeah, you kept your pretty mouth shut.

As soon as you entered the labs a portly balding man, that was your supervisor greets you with a large smile,

"Ah, just the person I wanted to see!"

"You needed something, Dr. Kingly?" In your bewilderment to see him smiling at you, you almost head back out the lab just to check and see if you entered the correct room, during your whole stay you've only seen him, frown and yell at you and grunt in acknowledgement when you did good.

"You see, I just received word from above commending you for your success on our last research, you remember that, yes?

It was a research on the various samples of 'enchancing goo' that would boost overall the human immune system (at least that's what they told you) and it's rapid effects on cells. Where they got the specimen they wouldn't tell you, painting it as a trade secret that you weren't qualified to know.

You nod, not quite seeing where this is going. He beams a large forced smile that almost doesn't seem to match his eyes, in fact you might actually say it's hurting him to pay you any cheer at all.

"Well my dear, you are about to take on bigger research, you've been successfully integrated on the main team!"

You frown, you were elated but to be integrated so soon? The main team none the less? It almost seems like a prank, but knowing the older killjoy scientist was not one for jokes, much less being involved in pranks.

" Really? Wait- what does the main team exactly research on?"

He his smile falters as he almost looks annoyed, he opens his mouth to answer but doesn't get to when the lab doors open and another scientist in a mop of dark browns asks you to follow him, Dr. Kingly gives a look that says 'you'll see',

The other scientist leads you further into the facility, as you head in deeper you noticed there were more guards posted everywhere and doors that needed ID scans had become more frequent. You were becoming more uneasy.

You arrive in a large lab that seems to have every advanced scientific equipment you've ever known and even some you weren't quite familiar with, and a handful of scientists scurrying around, holding papers or glass apparatus filled with unknown chemicals, but what caught your attention more was the large glass containment tube filled to the brim with some kind of glowing green liquid almost similar to the goo you researched on, and a scientist stood in front his hands in his lab coat, observing it.

"She's here doctor" The scientist that guided you, leaves you right after, you didn't even got in a word of thanks before he slips into the throng of other scientists.

The man turns around and you almost miss the manic look on his face as he schools it in a friendly smile holding his hand out to shake.

"Ah, hello! Nice to finally meet you, I am Dr. Baxter, your research has definitely helped us reach a breakthrough on our latest experiment, I'm happy to have you on our team"

You shake his offered hand, you were a little star struck, this man was popular among your field of expertise and he was complimenting you, inwardly gloating a little at the praise.

His face turns serious,

"let's get down to some ground rules before I begin explaining what we do here, as you might as well know, everything here is highly confidential, meaning nothing goes out when it gets in, I hope you understand that, I'd hate to lose such a brilliant addition to the team so soon, because they couldn't keep trade secrets a ...secret." He says chuckling at some joke that you didn't seem to share.

There was something ominous in the way he said it, as you hesitantly nod a misplaced dread at the pit of your stomach, it made your skin crawl.

"Well now that's out of the way, please, take a look at ourcreation, the peak of a bio-chemical breakthrough!" His face warps into something borderline crazy as he gives you a grin, he steps aside to give you a clearer view of the large goo filled tube.

Your brows furrow as go a little closer, you try to make out the dark shape inside the tube.

You stiffen, your eyes widen in horror, inside the tube was a tiny child floating with an oxygen mask, he was bald and was only wearing shorts as far as you can see through the murk of the goo.

'They're experimenting on a child!" Your mind screams at you as you unknowingly stepped closer holding your hand out to the glass, as if sensing your touch the child opens his eyes and looks at you curiously. Your heart thuds loud inside your ribs as if it couldn't fit inside your chest anymore. Baxter mistakes your horror for fascination as he gives you a pat on the shoulder.

"W-what exactly do we do here as the main team again?" You curse yourself for stuttering.

"Why, we make super soldiers of course. There are plenty of influential people who pay big money for such... enhancements, though, we still couldn't make them obey fully to their commanders, we had some minor breaches... but it couldn't be helped all for the sake of science." You felt sick, all those mutants that ran rampant in the city causing chaos and despair came from this lab, you look at Baxter his greedy eyes never leaving the small child, as he said it.

"And... him?" You watch the child, as he never took his eyes off you since he had opened them.

"wonderful isn't he? A biological weapon faster than any mutant you've ever seen, deadlier than any chemical grade poison, He will be the biggest success this company has ever made!" He pauses as if just remembering who he was talking to, he turns to you with a smile. "And it's thanks to you we've achieved this. Brilliant, really."

Gone was the gloating as guilt and shame washes over you, thinking you're the reason a child was put in a tube and experimented on, the reason for soon to be hundreds of deaths. You were smart enough to understand all of this wasn't legal and that exposing this would lead you to an early death that goes the same for quitting the job. what have you gotten yourself into?

"Before I forget, your job is to maintain and check his vitals, make sure he's healthy and all, here is a list of your tasks, same shift as your usual, and here's your access card." as he tosses you a card, and looks you dead in the eye. "Remember, nothing goes out in this facility alive" you give him a fake smile as you nod in understanding you couldn't help the cold sweat that ran down your spine despite the A/C on full blast.

The next few weeks was just you checking out his vitals and maintaining his health, to your surprise, he was let out of the tube for feeding and to dry off, and what you thought was just the haze of the goo, his skin was actually an almost dark shade of green with patterned scales and that he had similar features of that of a snake. He had taken an instant liking to you, wanting to be near you at every meeting and would even go as far as to obeying all your instructions. Taking care of a mutant child was definitely far off your list when you took this job but here you are.

He has grown attached to you, that was certain when your shift ended and you handed him to the next scientist, he refused to follow the other scientist's orders and was hostile to anyone else other than you. he also has poisonous fangs, you found that out when a fellow scientist got a little too close and got bit, she was immediately rushed to the clinic, they assured you she was recuperating but you never saw her again. He was definitely not let out as frequently as he used to, and it seems you were left in charge with his handling.

The lab called him Mugen, short for Mutagen, the alien chemical he was frequently soaked in. He would totter in all fours when you called him, he would churr at you not exactly saying words but more like baby babble. You knew he was sentient and intelligent, understanding what you were saying oftentimes, and saying you weren't attached would be a lie. Maybe it was the guilt or his innocent black eyes staring at you but you wanted him out of the lab, not here to grow up and be experimented on. After all this was your fault.

You were almost content looking out for Mugen, it was basically babysitting without all the fuss as he had the intelligence far better than an average 6 year old, as you watch him play with a puzzle block. Jotting down notes, he totters to your direction handing you a block as he churrs, you smile accepting the block and giving him a pat on the head, as he happily goes back to his puzzle

" You seem awfully attached to him" you almost drop your clipboard along with the block, as Baxter had seemed to appear out of nowhere, observing you with keen beady eyes.

"He's my job after all, I always, pay attention to make excellent results. "You lie to him coolly, even though your heartrate was running a mile a minute.

He grins as he taps his chin in thought, "That you do, dear, but we need him, it's time for his first experiment " he says flippantly flicking a hand forward.

"Wha-" you start as guards you didn't notice behind him, surges forward and grabs Mugen, He hisses violently at the approaching guards, with a speed you didn't know he possessed, he jumps and bites the guard on the arm, it seems they came prepared as his fangs sank uselessly on the thickly padded armor, the guard didn't seemed fazed as they wrestle him into a muzzle.

He whines helplessly reaching for you, as they take him, you step forward to take him back in your arms and remove the muzzle, a sort of motherly instinct seems to surge from you, you seem to snap out of it when you felt someone grab your arm holding you back, Baxter shakes his head at you as his eyes dance between you and Mugen as something seems to click inside his twisted mind, "where are you going?" He questions with almost a laughing tone.

"I-I... it seems that they may have injured the mutant, that would affect my results greatly in the process" you lie with gritted teeth.

" Hmm, no worries, that child has a very fast healing process, if you must know. You're dismissed for the day, see you tomorrow Y/n." He says with a chuckle playing along with your lie, as he walks out to the direction of where the guards took Mugen with you looking on, clutching the block until your knuckles turn white.

Fuck it, you were breaking this child out of this facility consequences be damned. You quickly scan the lab and immediately formed a plan. This could be your worst or best idea yet.

You decided to linger in the facility, when the other scientists weren't paying attention, you accessed your files deleting and messing up all your findings on purpose and slipping the original copy in your pocket and making sure you wouldn't leave traces, you have at least an hour before the whole lab is thrown into chaos with your misleading files.

You saw Baxter leave the room he just came from with a pleased hum, as you duck away from his view as he leaves for the day.

Feeling sick to the stomach and pushing the feeling of anxiety to the side, on what you were about to do, you strode towards the room with a covered medical trolley like you had the authority of Baxter himself. The guards turn to look at you as you enter the room.

"What are you buffoons still doing here? The doctor dismissed you, he told me, I was going to handle the mutant without any distractions! Out with you two!" Your tongue clicking in feigned annoyance as they bewilderingly look at each other hesitantly, they fortunately bought your lie as they nodded respectfully at you, it wasn't a secret that you were the one handling everything when it came to Mugen, perks of it you guess, as they file out the door shutting it behind them.

When you turned around, you let out an audible gasp as you see Mugen strapped and barely conscious on the examination table and a bunch of red stained tools on the medical tray and an empty syringe. You quickly try to untie him but as soon as you come closer he hisses blindly squinting through the harsh overhead lamp focused on his tiny frame, at your direction.

"Shhhhh, it's just me, I we're getting out of here, okay? I need you to be quiet, can you do that for me?"

At the sound of you voice, he stops hissing and whines for you, churring pitifully, seeing he recognized you you immediately free him from the straps and carefully pick him up, he limply nuzzles into you, staying quiet as you instructed, it wasn't hard though, he seemed to be fading in and out of consciousness

Using some towels and bottles you quickly get to work forming a make shift figure on the table and covering it with a blanket. Hopefully this plan would buy you enough time.

You exit the room pushing the trolley back out as you see the guards you dismissed waiting outside, as you were about to pass them he holds out a hand stopping you in you tracks.

"Sorry but we have to check your trolley"

"What? This is ridiculous! I'm a busy woman and you're wasting my time!" You grit your teeth as you tensely clutch the trolley.

The other guard peeks into the room, seeing a figure covered in a blanket on the table he nods at his partner.

" It's just standard procedure, Doctor."
He says monotonely as he peeks at the covered apparatus underneath, seemingly satisfied he let's you go on your way.

You quickly made your way away from the labs without seeming out of place, 'Holysh- I can't believe that worked' your shoes clicking loudly in the large empty halls, your palms sweating as you check your wristwatch, 10 minutes left, shit, you took too long inside the lab.

You make a sharp turn towards the locker room, almost frantic, you found a duffle bag sitting on a bench on your right, silently apologizing to whoever owns it, you immediately dump all it's contents on the side, as you take a peek underneath the trolley, there swaddled fully in cloth and had fallen unconscious was Mugen, you carefully put him inside the bag as you stuff your lab coat and other 'borrowed' things successfully covering him but not enough to suffocate him.

As you calmly walked towards the exit, bag in tow, your heart seems to be beating at your throat while the guard at the exit boredly looks at your bag, not bothering to poke around as he sends you off.

You gave him a stiff smile as you turn to leave.

"Wait!" You freeze, and you thought you've been caught as the guard goes near you.

"You dropped this" he hands you your ID card that in your haste you hadn't noticed you dropped, "Thank-" alarms immediately started blaring as windows start shutting with large metal grails and doors slowly start locking down, he looks at the other guard at the entrance seeing that was your cue to leave, you bolt just in time, rolling underneath the large metal panel going down as it misses chopping you in half just by an inch.

As you ran through the busy streets dodging people and the onslaught of traffic hoping they didn't have time to chase after you since you. You look behind you to check... Bad idea, over the sea of people you see a man clad in black point towards you as several others disappear. Time to lose them in the cover of the darkening streets and crowd.

You curse under your breath when you noticed your pursuers were jumping from building to building. Your lungs and legs were burning and the bag only seemed to get heavier with every step, but you were determined to get away. You decided you couldn't keep running where they can see you, as you entered a small cafe, the woman in her late 30s on the counter looks startled at your winded and frantic state,

" P-please, you have to help me, I'm being chased do you have a back door exit?"

She looks at your scuffed up figure then the duffle bag and pieces something out, she gives you a worried look.

"Oh honey, you okay? do you want me to call the police for domestic abuse?" As she gently, leads you to the back door away from prying eyes and ears.

You shake your head, "that's not- ... what? er no thanks, I just need to get away" she gives you a look of concern but nods. You thank her, feeling a little guilty not clearing anything up, but you didn't have the time or the care at the moment as you immediately rush out the back exit to an alleyway, you only made it a few turns when you see a figure clad in black, jump down swinging his sword in an arc to cut you down, you yelp as you turn around clutching the duffle bag to your chest protectively.

Red splatters on the pavement.

Chapter Text

Red splatters on the pavement.

You were prepared to use your body to shield the tiny mutant in your bag from the slash of the blade.

As you watch blood splattering on the pavement, at first you thought the adrenaline made you numb from the pain, but a pained grunt was definitely not yours said otherwise.

Behind you a large figure in red band looms protectively over the both of you. His green eyes scanning you as he holds his bloodied sais over the injured ninja in black.

You were stunned to say the least, your mouth was moving, before you know it words had already left your lips.

" who are you ?" He opens his mouth to answer but doesn't get the chance as several more ninjas in black drop down the narrow alleyway you were in. He goes into a fighting stance,

"leave!" He yells at you as he jumps aiming a powerful kick at the nearest opponent, soon the alley was filled with pained noises and clashes of blades. You were exhausted from running and the scene before you seemed so surreal, a part of you wonders if you really were seeing a giant turtle fighting ninjas in an alley in the night.

"Hey! Lady, what're ya doin'? Get out of here!" He yells at you while holding off a ninja, His glare snaps you out of your daze, as you stand up and ran at the opposite direction of the fight.

You didn't get too far when three more ninja drops in front of you, slowly backing you ,you clutch at your duffle bag, feeling Mugen squirm.

'Crap, he's waking up this is seriously bad timing'

As you ran back in the direction you came from, they gave chase as one catches you by your shirt, making you stumble and drop the bag, a muffled pained squeak emits from it.

"Let me go! You brute! " You struggle, your elbow connects with someone's nose as a satisfying crunch indicates you broke it, as the others pinned you down.

The squirming figure in your bag seems to struggle harder as he heard your pained voice, the other ninja walks towards the bag intending to open it and retrieve the mutant.

" Don't touch him! Don't-" they gag you as the other opens the bag, a flurry of claws and teeth latches on the ninja as his pained screams seem to be inciting the small mutant to act more violently the other ninja leaves your side to help his fallen comrade, he manages to grab the needle and inject Mugen, successfully knocking him out. You struggle harder, as the ninjas look in horror at their poisoned partner claw at the bite, his mouth foaming as his eyes rolled back, spasming.

The weight behind you disappears, as a loud blur of orange kicks the ninja near Mugen, you rip off the cloth in your mouth as you immediately rush towards Mugen gingerly picking his limp form, holding him close as two more turtles fought on, successfully knocking their opponents out.

"Oh ew, what happened to this dude?" The one in orange prods at the poisoned ninja, making disgusted faces.

"Mikey stop that, you might accidentally touch the poison" 'Mikey' immediately stops, shaking his finger as if it was contaminated. The one clad in purple rolls his eyes and finally notices you clutching Mugen, you tense, you knew they were mutant, and so far your experience with large mutants in the city haven't been well.

Seeing you tensing up, he holds his hands up in a pacifying manner, "hey, hey its okay we're-"
"Don't cha worry sweet thang, we're the good guys!"

Mikey beams at you, his bright demeanor easing you, but you didn't ease on your hold on the small figure in your arms. He notices Mugen and was about to ask, when from behind you came a pained grunt and you see the one in red limping lightly, favoring his other side as another turtle in blue assists him.

"Leo! You found him!"

The one in purple rushes over immediately assessing the damage the red one received. As he grunts begrudgingly.

" Just in time too, this knucklehead was trying to take on more than a dozen foot soldiers on his own."

Leo turns towards your disheveled state, holding Mugen as if you could hide him from his piercing blue gaze as he assesses you.

" who's this?" He asks Mikey, to which he beams

" Oh this duddette is... " he trails off, sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck, "er, I never caught your name, sugar cube" in a small voice you supply him with your name.

" I assume they were chasing you because of the child" he gestures to Mugen to which you hesitantly nodded, as he pauses as if he was making a big decision, he sighs.

"We can't stay here for long soon this place would be swarming with foot soldiers, I doubt you have anywhere else to go." You frown shaking your head, not exactly thinking your plan through, you were sure your place was being watched or sacked, and the thought of crashing with your friends with danger in tow didn't sit well with you...though you did have a place, but that was far from city limits, you doubt you'd make it out in one piece.

" Come with us, we'll keep you and your little one safe in the meantime " he holds out a hand towards you, you gaze up at him, his blue eyes calm, he didn't seem threatening... and at the moment getting somewhere safe was definitely on your priority. You take his offered hand and he lifts you up his hand goes beneath your knees and the other hand on your back, making you yelp at the sudden shift of weightlessness.

"Donnie, assist Ralph in the meantime, we need to get away as quickly as possible"

"I don't need your help, I can go on my own" as 'Ralph' jumps off, Leo sighs, as Don shrugs, following his hot-headed brother.

" Hold on tight" was his only warning before he too joins his brothers Mikey following behind.
Your heart drops to your stomach making you clutch tightly at Mugen afraid he'd fall if you didn't. Strong coils of muscles wrap around you as he jumps from roof to roof, Mikey, on the other hand waves from your peripheral making you look at him, he made funny faces distracting you from the height, occasionally doing tricks whilst jumping, much to your exhausted amusement. The warmth radiating from Leo melts away the stress from the day, as you fought not to fall asleep in the arms of a mutant stranger,

You all finally arrive and slightly to your dismay the entrance was through a manhole to the sewers, beggars cant be choosers I guess... He drops down as the scent of city sewers invades your nostrils, you involuntarily gag as Leo sets you down so you could walk. Ralph obviously had seen your gagging, turns around and scoffs, you frown at him but didn't comment as you shift the sleeping Mugen in a more comfortable position letting his head rest on your shoulder as you trudge through.

You finally arrive at their lair as your eyes widen in awe as you take in the spacious but comfortable place.

" Make yourselves comfortable, I have to report to Master Splinter" he says, leaving you among his brothers but Ralph stalks off to before you could utter your thanks.

" Welcome to Mi Casa, sweet thang!" Mikey spreads out his arms to the lair, he excitedly gestures you to follow him " here, lemme give you the special Mikey tour-"
"Mikey, I think I should check up on her first and her child before anything else" Donnie interrupts, you gratefully gave him a smile, Mikey pouts at being interrupted, but perks up when you tell him you'd take the tour after.

Don leads you to his lab as he let's you settle Mugen on the examination table, he immediately gets to work, soon Mugen was attached to monitors and devices you've never encountered before, it was like an amalgamation of different household appliances, with the 'heart monitor' beeping steadily you slightly ease up, Donnie types some things on his computer, you decided to let him do his thing, as you gently pat Mugen on his head.

You freed him from those psychos but at what cost? You knew they were going to use him as they had made several of the mutants that ran amok in the city, why was he so different from the rest? Was it because you had a hand in his creation? Or was it because you were just too soft and got attached? Was he an orphan? He must've been. Will you keep running until they catch both of-

"Don't worry Y/N, your child would be okay he's just asleep, he'll wake up as soon as the drugs wear off."

You blink away your thoughts, as Donatello offers you sympathy, you sputter, his words registering in your brain, " oh no, no he's not my child." He looks at you curiously,

"Brother?"

"No"

"Relative?"

"No"

"What is he to you then?" He asks baffled.

"It's a long story...."

He grins.

"well we have all night, and I am rather fond of stories" he pats the seat near him, taking one as well, So you tell him, his eyes widening with every event that happened "Holy Shell, you worked for Baxter!?"

" key word, 'worked', I'm pretty sure I'm fired and blacklisted in every facility for stealing his precious experiment "

" it could be worse, you could've been captured and killed" he deadpans.

As the computer beeps and the results came in, his eyes quickly scanning the screen "why Did you do it?" He didn't take his eyes off the screen as he questions you.

You hesitate. Will they turn on you once they know you had a hand in it?

"I honestly felt like his mutation was my fault if it weren't for my stupid research he would have had a normal life, and I owe it to him to be human again"

He looks at you intensely as if waiting for a pin to drop, you slightly squirm at his stare.

"I hate to break it to you, but you do know-"

A knock interrupts whatever he was about to say as Leo pokes his head in, " Master Splinter wants to meet you"

You look at Donnie, he shrugs,
"Don't worry I'll watch him while you go meet Master Splinter"

You nod, as Leo leads the way.
Honestly, you were expecting another mutant turtle but to your surprise he wasn't, his wizened eyes observes you as he held a walking stick in front of him.

"Hello young one, I have heard you got yourself in quite a bind"

Chapter Text

Raphael slams his door shut, sitting on the floor of his room as he drags a hand down his face recalling the day that led up to this situation;

He got into another spat, his temper getting the best of him as he left to cool off. He jumps from roof to roof when he saw a foot ninja heading in the opposite direction, good, he was itching for a fight, and the foot ninja seemed to be too distracted chasing something or someone down to notice him in the dark.

He swiftly follows, when he finally caught up, he noticed the foot was chasing down a civilian through the alley, the foot manages to get ahead of them and was about to raise his sword, he jumps down, sais at hand.

He manages to intercept the blade in time, and disabling the foot ninja easily. He huffs, a little annoyed with how easy it went. "Who are you?"
He whirls toward your direction, almost forgetting you were there, when his gaze met yours he was quite sure his words got stuck in throat, he didn't quite see it clearly from above but looking at you right now up close, you're stunning, your eyes that seem to catch light as your messy hair frames your face. As he opens his mouth to answer, more foot soldiers drop down and it seems you were their intended target

He growls, his eyes flicking to you then the ninjas ,

"leave!"He yells at you.

He aims a kick at the first attacker, soon others joined in the fight, a flurry of blades and punches. He noticed one aiming for you as he intercepts it just in time before another kick aims at him, a little too close to you. crap, he can't fight properly without putting you in harm's way and his brothers definitely had no clue of his whereabouts,

through a clash of blades. He ducks at a swing of a katana then aims a punch successfully knocking the foot out cold, but soon enough another takes his place.

You still haven't left, as you stared at him with awe, on another time he'd probably show off a bit but the overwhelming number of foot soldiers was not exactly the time. " Hey! Lady, what're ya doin'? Get out of here!" He yells holding his sais up to deflect an oncoming blade, watching you intently as more tried to get to you, that seemed to snap you out of your stupor as you shakily stood up and ran in the opposite direction clutching your bag.

Some break off the group and tried to get to you, he immediately blocks their way.

He gives the foot soldiers a menacing grin as more jumps down to join the fight.

"You want a fight? Good, I'm just getting warmed up."

He truly hoped you got away, 'what did a you do to be chased down by more than a dozen foot soldiers?'

In the middle of battle, he grimaces as one successfully landed a kick at his plastron, before he could retaliate, another had managed to give him a rather large cut on the side of his leg, 'crap there's too many of them' he thought, as the overwhelming numbers seemed to press on.

A loud clang as a flash of blue appears at his side blocking a blade from slicing his head off.

Leo doesn't say anything as he gives him a glare and a stiff nod,

" You're just in time for the party, fearless."

He definitely knew he was in for it later, he left his tracker , and clearly bit off more than he could chew. Leo gave him a look that said 'we'll talk about this later' instantly souring his mood.

They manage to finish off the foot soldiers, patting the dust off his hands.

"Pray tell Ralph, why are you fighting 20 or so foot ninjas, all at once, in an alleyway, alone?" Leo starts with his arms crossed over his chest, Ralph frowns he knew the lecture was about to start, then he remembered, "A girl!" He starts running down the direction you ran towards,

"A girl?"

"Yeah, a civilian woman was being chased down by these goons, I have to go see if she made it" he winces remembering the rather deep cut on his thigh.

"Don and Mikey, went looking for you in that direction, maybe they found her, why were they chasing her?"

He shrugs.

As they both head towards that direction, soon enough, they heard Mikey's voice as well as Don's, Ralph eyes immediately sought you out, you were clutching a small green thing in your arms, 'a mutant child?' His thoughts running a mile a minute. Not seeing where he was walking he stumbles on a pipe, with a grunt he felt his cut open, Leo steadies him as the three of you look towards their direction,

"You found him!" Mikey waves at them.

Donatello steps around Mikey and you to asses his injuries and grabs a spool of bandages for his thigh, he blocks the conversation out as he observes you.

Clearly, you've seen better days but it didn't make you any less pretty, he'd even say you'd give April a run for her money, when it come down to it. He shakes his head, what was he thinking? He barely knew you.

Don looks at him curiously, "what's wrong?"

At your yelp they turn to look at you to see you in the arms of their leader.

He frowns.

"Donnie, assist Ralph in the meantime. we need to get away as quickly as possible"

"I don't need your help, I can go on my own" as he stands up and jumps towards the roof. okay. Maybe he hasn't really cooled off.

Dropping down to the sewers first, he turns and sees you choke and gag on the smell, he scoffs, humans really couldn't handle a lot of things.

He snaps out of his thoughts, hereally needs to think of something else.

He looks down in frustration, as he noticed his bandaged thigh seemed to be redder than it was a while ago, he gets up to look for Donatello.

He finds him in the lab, typing away at his computer while your small mutant was hooked up in Don's machines,

"Hey Donnie, ya got a sec? "

Donatello looks up from the computer, then glances at his injured leg,

"Oh right! I almost forgot, we need that properly checked and cleaned"

As he rummages through his things for the medical kit, seeming to find none in the lab,

"Now where did I- here? No. Ah right! I left them at the living room!" He said lightly smacking his head

" er... can you give me a second and watch over the kid? I think I forgot the medical kit in the living room."

Without waiting for his reply, Don slams the door shut in a hurry, probably eager to get this done and over with so he could get back to reading whatever it was in his computer, he muses.

He takes a seat near the mutant kid observing him, was it your child that got mutated? Why else would you risk your life for him? Or maybe a relative...The kid probably got injected with a snake mutagen, dark green scales with snake-like patterns trailing from his head to his back, oddly though he has black talons, so maybe a mix of something else too. The kid's eyes seem to flicker, 'oh crap, he's waking up.' The heartbeat monitor picking up.

"Hey...Hey Donnie! I think the kid is waking up!" He yells towards the door.

The kid's eyes snaps awake immediately locking onto him, 'that can't be good' he thinks freezing in place. The kid's eyes seems to narrow as it hisses and chirps, as if trying to ask him something, he doesn't understand a thing, and he isn't what you would describe good at soothing people and the kid seems to panic when he starts to notice he was hooked up in various machinery as it starts thrashing in table knocking down equipment and pulling on the wires.

"ey kid! stop that, you'll hurt yourself, hey-!"

He picks him off the table, as the boy visibly struggles harder- the kid bites him in the arm. Hard. He yelps struggling to pull the kid off without hurting the both of them further, as he tries to shake him off.

Their loud commotion had drawn the attention of the others as they came bursting in the room, your eyes immediately widen as you rush forward panicking at the same time cooing for the kid. "Mugen! let him go, it's okay we're safe now" When the kid heard you it was like a balm, instantly soothing him and effectively calming him down, the kid lets him go as you take the kid in your arms. Ralph cradles his injured arm as it bleeds, you look at his wounds, two punctures where Mugen had sank his fangs without hesitation. "oh no what have you done? The venom! you guys have to take him to the hospital- no the lab- he'll... he-"

Donatello rushes forward, grabbing Ralph's arm making a tourniquet, Ralph glances at you, you seemed visibly shaken up and was looking at him like he was gonna die. That was concerning.

He then he feels it, the bite seems to burn even though there were no longer teeth sinking into it, he felt fuzzy. His whole body starts to shake and sweat, he could hear them yelling but it sounds like he was underwater, the sounds blurring someone bears his weight as he felt his numb body fall forward, then everything was black.

Chapter Text

Master Splinter offers you some tea as you all sat on cushions, you politely accept, letting the warmth of the cup seep into your cold hands.

Leo sits straight beside you, as master Splinter calmly gazes at you, at your lap Mugen curiously peeks around, but seems contented to remain huddled in your form, Mikey had offered him a spare blanket earlier, after seeing Mugen terrified beyond his wits end.

You'd be honest, you really didn't want to be here right now, you'd rather face a kraang soldier than be in this situation, their "subtle" glances have been burning a hole through you, rather more importantly the squirming mutant on your lap, who seems oblivious to it all.

The silence was deafening. You tried to focus on something to distract yourself from the anxiety of waiting...

The sounds of dripping of water echoing in the room.

Drip.

Drip, drip.

Drip.

The venom.

Flashes of your co-worker who got bit, and never turned up again.

That unfortunate foot soldier.

Ralph who got bitten.

He had probably joined them too. That's probably why Donnie still hasn't left the lab, he's mourning him. They save you and in return one of them dies.

Guilt. It's your fault, if only you didn't make that research. If only you hadn't met them, if only-

The slow creak of the lab door makes all of you snap towards it's direction, Donnie emerges, his frame heavy with exhaustion and his face unreadable.

You tense, ready to be kicked out, to be yelled at accusingly.

"Donnie?" Leo inquires

he jolts, as if just realizing they were all staring at him,

"He's stable, thankfully..." his gaze locks into you, "can I talk to you for a second?...alone." He glances at the others then back to you a little nervously,

You nod, picking up Mugen but Donnie stops you,
"Er...he might react violently again when he sees Ralph"

You frown, "but-"

"It's okay sweet thang, we'll watch over the little guy while you and Donnie have a chat." Mikey pipes up from your left, bending down a little to eye level with Mugen, to which Mugen in return shies away in your arms,

"I dunno Mikey... " 'He might bite someone else' is what you don't say, but they all understood that loud and clear.

"Pshhh, we're ninjas we can handle him, isn't that right little dude?" A small churr emits from Mugen as he slowly peeks out of the blanket and he curiously stares at Mikey, to only watch Mikey make silly faces at him, to your and everyone's surprise a happy clicking noise that closely resembles a laugh comes from Mugen as he playfully pats at Mikey's face.

"See? Perfectly good with him too!" As Mikey scoops him out of your arms, this startles Mugen and you as Mugen quickly glances in your direction, you give him an encouraging smile.

" It's okay, I'll be right back, be good and no fighting, okay?"

Sensing no eminent danger he relaxes as Mikey sets him down the couch, waving you off.

"We'll call you if something seems off" Leo assures you.

You gave one more glance at him, and telling yourself you're just a door away, if anything happened, before following Donnie back into the lab.

You glance at Ralph, oddly enough he only looked like he was sleeping, though his bite mark was heavily bandaged. Observing him in the bright light of the lab you can see the faint scars both old and recent that littered his arms and face, he really did cut an intimidating figure, he was bigger in muscle mass compared to his brothers, his face that usually held a scowl was relaxed and peaceful. If it weren't for the steady beeps of the heart monitor you'd assume the worst.

"Did you know what Baxter was supposed to do with him?"

Donnie cuts you from your ogling, you shrug, 'play it casual, as if you didn't just ogle his unconcious brother like a specimen on a glass slide',

"I only knew once he was old enough he'll be trained to work for Baxter, I was told I wouldn't be needed to care for him by then and work on artificially enhancing his capabilities to aid him, like speed, his senses, and...venom. I only assumed whatever he planned for him wasn't good"

Don nods grievously " A perfect little killing machine, he's small, and quick can easily slip into small vents and with a venom like that no human is safe. You don't suppose he's gonna make more of him?" He asks typing more information on the computer.

"He was the first successful prototype, they couldn't make another one to succeed, not without-" you shut your mouth, you said a bit too much.

Donnie looks at you with suspicion in his eyes "what makes you say that they can't make another one? They made him, and he was just the beginning of a whole new army of Baxter's"

You stand your ground at his gaze " They can't make the another one, because it was MY research that made him possible." He opens his mouth to argue but you immediately counter.

" I messed up their files before I left, and I took my research with me. It would take them months to fix all that scrambled data, and without my research they're basically back to base one." You toss him the flash drive you hid in your pocket, thankfully it was still intact despite all the scuffle you went through. He nimbly catches it, giving you one more distrustful look before plugging it in.

His eyes grow wide as he takes in the information, he gulps and looks at you with what you may assume as a mixture of respect and awe, you smugly gave him a grin, while you weren't proud your research was weaponized, but you were damn proud on how well you made it.

"I never thought this was possible- I thought he was a fluke- a lab accident that came to be- but this- it's brilliant, mad science- but it all makes sense now!" He says scrambling around papers occasionally picking one up then typing it in. It was your turn to look at him quizzically " I think you lost me in your train of thought, what do you mean?"

He pauses mid ramble and sheepishly looks at you, "Sorry, I tend to ramble on when I get excited, my brothers says so. You see...Mugen isn't exactly a Mutant, he's the Mutagen fused with living cells, like a symbiotic relationship, to put it simply Mugen is the first mutagen being, holy shell-"

"Baxter was playing god the whole time." You gasp.
"But I thought Mugen was-"

"Human?" He chuckles humorlessly , "that's what I thought so too but some of the tests I took weren't adding up. So I threw that tiny amount of doubt that maybe he wasn't human in the first place, maybe he was like us, from ordinary reptiles, but the results came out negative. Your research was the cherry on top, that's when the pieces clicked together.
And here's the kicker, I don't think Baxter ever intended to use him to kill mutants, the venom only made Ralph really sick but not enough to kill him, but enough to incapacitate him long enough, that's lucky, because if it was really venomous to mutants... we would've lost Ralph tonight." He says the last part a bit quietly but you heard him nonetheless, you two fell into an awkward silence.

you look down at your shoes,

"I'm sorry" you blurt out, not having the courage to look at him in the eye anymore.

"What for?"

"The research, Mugen, your brother..." you trail off, looking at Ralph's unconscious form.

"What? That's not- okay, maybe you did have a hand in it but none of that was directly your fault, you didn't intend your research to turn into a weapon. Did you?"

You shake your head,

" and the fact you did sabotage a whole evil lab by yourself, is pretty dang awesome in my books" he says with a grin.

You snort. He chuckles.

Loud shouting could be heard through the door, but when you realize there were no danger in the loud noise you both relax.

" I should see what they're up to, I cant have Mugen attacking anyone else" you say, walking towards the door, "you forgot something" He says, tossing you your flash drive, you successfully catch it. you hesitate a bit before opening the door. "thanks Donnie, for everything"

"Anytime, you're always welcome in the lab, as long as you don't break anything, that is."

As you enter the livingroom, to say you were dumbfounded was an understatement, by the couch you see Mikey attempting to do an elaborate trick with his skateboard, while you see Master Splinter sitting stock still with Mugen, as he lets Mugen play with his long whiskers with the patience of a monk training in a mountain. Leo was nowhere to be found.

"Did y'see that little dude bro? I beat that like it was nothing! Booya- oooh hey there y/n, how's the chat with Donnie?" He says immediately sitting down beside his father and casually putting Mugen back to him as if he's been like that the whole time. Mugen still hasn't let go of Master Splinter's whiskers.

You raise one eyebrow at him, "It went well... how's babysitting duty going for you?"

"Awesome dudette! I just showed the little dude the hot skills of a pro- I mean- he's been nothing but an angel?"

Quicker that your eyes could follow Master Splinter gives his son a quick whack on the head, before heading off to his room with a nod in your direction.

"Okay sensei! Good night to you too! Ow..." he says rubbing his head.

Mugen climbs down from the couch and runs towards you, you scoop him up as you take a seat where Master Splinter had vacated, Mikey sits back down grabbing a his controller before handing you one too,

"Ever played Street Racer, sweet thang?"

"Where did Leo go?" Accepting the controller, as he sets up the game.

"He said he was going to look for April to see if she could help y'out in your problem, he'd probably be back later, and just between you and me, I think he ditched babysitting duty." Mikey says wiggling his eyebrows, choosing a car.

You guys play a little bit, but in between, your eyes were starting to become heavy, Mugen had long fallen asleep on you and his warm body and your exhaustion was lulling you to do the same.

You tried to focus, but in the end you succumbed to sleep.

"Hey, why'd you stop- oh." Mikey turns to see you curled up in the couch with Mugen, both of you fast asleep.

He takes his time going through your features, from your face to your hair that looks soft to the touch. He was honestly glad you have accepted him and his family, well..you haven't ran away yet, so that's a good sign and the fact that you felt comfortable to fall asleep in his presence was a sign of trust, right?

He reaches a hand towards your hair, Mugen somehow senses his movements and peeks an eye open, he pauses, Mugen, seeing it was just him, goes back to sleep, taking that as permission from your little body guard he continues, he pats your head in awe how soft human hair is how silky it was-

"What are you doing?"

He jerks his hand away from you, behind him he sees Leo arms crossed on his chest, with a cheeky grin.

"I was- uhh A bug! Yeah, a bug!"

"A bug."

"I saw a bug! it landed on her hair, so I shooed it away-anyhoo, how was the visit to April's?" He said quickly changing the topic. Leo obviously knows this but drops it.

"She said she's coming tomorrow to pick her up, she said she could stay with her for the time being."

"What!? Can't she stay here with us?" Leo give him a look, "she's human, she can't stay in these conditions."

Mikey frowns, definitely looking down "I know... it's just, we made a new human friend that didn't...I guess I just wanted to hang out like normal people...." Leo frowns, he knew his brother wanted to be accepted by human society more than anything.

"I know but she can always visit us like April and Casey."

Mikey doesn't say anything else. Leo sighs moving around the couch to pick you up, Mikey seems surprised at this, as Mugen wakes up sensing someone was approaching the both of you, seeing Leo, he hisses in warning, to which Leo raises both hands in surrender.

"I'm just moving her to my room so she can rest properly." Leo says calmly,

"OH Oh! she can stay in my room! I can sleep on the couch!" Leo raises a brow,

"Is your bed even clean?"

"Psshh, of course bro, it's practically spotless, 'sides the little guy won't let you touch them. Amirite little dude bro?"

Mugen just hisses at Leo, he steps back and letting his younger sibling take you, Mikey effortlessly scoops both you and Mugen up, heading to his room.

Leo from behind shakes his head, silently chuckling. It seems his little brother has a little crush on you, he follows you three as Mikey kicks his door open careful not to wake you.

He freezes at the state of his room, two empty pizza boxes, things strewn everywhere and his bed was still in the state he left it when he woke up, okay...so maybe it wasn't that clean as he thought it was, he tries to block Leonardo's view of his room as he hears him following behind him, Leo nonetheless saw the state of his room.

"Right...you said it was clean"

"We just have different views on clean bro"

Leo gives Mikey an unamused look as he jabs a thumb toward the direction of his room. Mikey sags a bit but relents, changing directions towards Leo's room.

Leo's room was unsurprisingly pristine, as Mikey begrudgingly lays both you and Mugen down the bed, Mugen curls up beside you, with you softly murmuring something he didn't quite catch. He gives your hair one last soft pat before closing the door.

Chapter Text

You woke up rather groggily, though you felt warm and the thought of going back to sleep made you want to stay in your bed longer, but you had a job, and sleeping really isn't going to pay your bills.

You move to get up when you heard a low chirp beside you, you almost fell off the bed startling at the noise, there you see Mugen sitting, patiently waiting for you to get up. You run a hand down your face, as the events since yesterday all came crashing down.

So it wasn't a dream, go figure.

Looking at your surroundings, you recall that this wasn't the couch you fell asleep on, it was clean and minimally furnished. You didn't remember walking here.

"Did someone carry me here?" You ask no one but Mugen seems to understand and chirps in confirmation. You blush in embarrassment, you were carried like a toddler to bed by your hosts. Embarrassing.

You groan.

Hearing a small gurgle coming from Mugen, he looks at his stomach then to you rather questionably. Ah, right... 'it's past his feeding time, maybe the guys could spare something from their kitchen, I'll pay them back later' with that thought in mind, you get out of bed, carefully folding the sheets before approaching the door with Mugen holding your hand.

A voice that was unmistakably female reaches your ears, along with the guys. It seems they were arguing about something. You didn't want to interrupt, but the tiny mutant beside you wasn't getting anymore patient by the minute.

When you opened the door they all turned to your direction, and to your surprise the female was a human woman with her hands on her hips squaring off with Leonardo. The other two awkwardly standing on the side.

"Y/n you're awake-" Leo starts but April butts in walking towards you, then holding a hand out to shake, "y/n, right? I'm April, glad to finally meet you, I heard all about you from Leo" you take up her offered hand, shaking it.

"Likewise" you demurred.

"And I'm guessing this little guy is Mugen?" She says cooing at him, Mugen churrs uneasily looking at you then April, as she gives a friendly smile.

Mugen gives your hand a slight tug, remembering why ventured out of the room in the first place, you turn to the brothers,

"Um... I didn't mean to interrupt but, you think you guys any meat lying around your fridge do you? I have to feed Mugen, I'll pay you back when I can for the trouble.."

April gives them a look that says 'well?'

This seems to snap them out as they nudge each other with their elbows, muttering on who should show you around the kitchen, until Mikey wins by shoving himself forward, dragging you into the kitchen with Mugen in tow. The others closely following behind.

"Prepare your tastebuds, ladies and genturtles, 'cuz chef Mikey's in the kitchen!"

A chorus of groans could be heard behind you as you take a seat in the chair near the fridge. Meanwhile, Mikey dressed in a chef's hat and apron, busies himself with some pots and pans,

"Oh, that wouldn't be necessary Mikey, Mugen's diet consists mainly of raw meat, so if you have some in the fridge I could just warm them up in the microwave" you say standing up to search in the freezer.

"Wait...you feed your kid raw meat!?" He says incredulously.

"He's a predatorial species, though he is omnivorous, he still prefers raw meat over vegetables- gah!" As soon as you open the fridge a curious "meow" comes from an animated neapolitan ice cream shaped like a cat, you slam the fridge close with a yelp.

"G-guys there's a- a cat. No. Ice cream- like cat in your fridege"

"That's just ice cream kitty, he used to be April's but with how it is right now, he became Mikey's. " Donnie says chuckling at your reaction.

You really shouldn't be surprised, if mutants and ninjas exist, why couldn't living icecream cats exist?...Scratch that. It's still not normal. Leo gently moves you aside as he opens the fridge again taking out a half of a salami and a raw steak wrapped in cling wrap.

"It seems we only have these..."

"That'll do, thank you" gratefully taking the offered meats.

"Feel free to use the kitchen as you wish" you nod as you busy yourself with dicing and warming the meat in a bowl. Meanwhile the others chat, while Mikey continues with his "Breakfast Supreme"

You hand the bowl to Mugen with a spoon.

"Wait wait wait. He's gonna eat that raw!?"

Mugen answers Mikey by shoving a mouthful of warmed raw meat into his mouth, Mikey gags, April looks a little green but handles it like a champ.

"Eugh... I'll stick to pizza, you do you little dude."

"Does he..urp... eat anything else other than raw meat?"
April asks avoiding looking at Mugen eating, still looking a little sick.

"Yeah, he eats a fair diet of vegetables, but he's rather picky about it."

"Have you tried feeding him human food?" Donnie asks

"Like pizza!" Mike pipes

"Er...no. In theory he COULD eat human food, but the lab wanted him in peak health and didn't want to risk feeding him human food" you shrug, honestly you tried sneaking some of your lunch with him, but he didn't even bat an eye on your food.

Mikey finishes his dish as he presents it to you all with gusto. It looked like a cross between a pancake and a pizza with a side of sunny-side-up eggs.

"I call it the 'Double P-zza' breakfast!'

"Uuuhhh, I think I need to check on Ralph, I'll skip breakfast for now" Donnie says as he inches towards the direction of the lab before curtailing. "Thanks Mikey but I already ate before I got here, I'll go see if Donnie needs any help" April says apologetically, before following Donnie as well.

Mikey shrugs " more for us then, sweet thang!"

You look around and you finally noticed Leo had made his exit long before. You internally sigh as you take one. It couldn't be that bad right?

Wrong.

So wrong on so many levels.

Pizza and pancakes should never had met like this. Ever.

You badly wanted to spit it out but you didn't want to be rude to your host, so you forced yourself to chew and swallow it down.

"That was really... unique, er... I'm really not that hungry, I'm good with one" you say sheepishly and giving him a thumbs up, before he could pile in more.

Mikey, satisfied you ate, takes the whole platter and seemingly downs it all in one go. Mugen chirps for you as he too imitates Mikey and tries to down his meal whole as well. You chuckle, moving to pick up his empty bowl to clean it and giving him a pat on the head, he preens at the silent praise.

Mikey offered to play with Mugen in the livingroom, it was almost adorable how they got easily attached to each other, with 'Mikey's fun personality any kid would too.' You shake your head smiling at them as he tries to show Mugen a video game, you weren't sure if Mugen understood anything Mikey said, but he seems to enjoy looking at the things Mikey is showing him.

Leo walks in the room and beckons you, "mind if we talk for a minute?" Looking back at Mugen he seems too distracted to care whether you go or not, as Mikey gives you a thumbs up.

You shrug as you follow Leo, he leads you to the lab where Donnie seems to be explaining a device to April,
" Ah, y/n! You survived Mikey's cooking" Donnie jokes, as you make a face at him.

"Thanks for the head's up." You quip

He chuckles at you.

" We've asked April to take you in for the mean time, or at least until the foot and Baxter stops looking for you." Leo says gesturing to April who gives you a little smile,

"Just give us your address and me, April and Donnie will help go get your stuff...well April will do most of the packing, we don't exactly know what you might need. "

"Can't I go with? It is my home after all..."

"I'm sorry but bringing you along increases the chances of you getting caught up in danger." Leo says without any room for arguement. You knew this of course, but with a bunch of ninja turtles with you you thought maybe you'd be safe, but Leo didn't want to risk it, so for now you'd comply.

" I lost my keys in the scuffle last night, you'd have to break in to my place..." you say sheepishly.
Donnie grins,
"Hey, we're ninjas remember? We can handle any lock"

April pats you reassuringly in the shoulder.

"Donnie's a genius, he can disable any alarm or lock, we got you handled, we'll be sure to keep our tracks clean" Donatello blushes at the compliment, looking at April with shy glances. April on the other hand seems oblivious at this. Oh. OH.

While you really weren't sure what to do with this information, but it seems to you Donnie has a crush on April. You internally grin this is going to be fun to tease him with.

"Well that's decided then, just write down your address and we'll head out tonight" you nod accepting the pen and notepad Leo hands you, you jot it down even adding a little map of the place and where the security cameras where placed if ever they needed more reference. Leo looks at you adding every detail necessary, he was pretty impressed with your meticulousness and hands the notepad to Donnie.

Donnie nods before looking at his clock, which was mounted on the wall, then to you.

"We have to go for training, do you mind if you watch Ralph? You're the only one I can trust him with since you'd know what to do if something happens to him, I'm not sure when he'll wake up, and April needs to go to her job soon. Please? Mugen can sit in with us in the dojo-." You hold out a hand to pause him.

"Donnie relax, I'll do it, I don't mind, 'sides, I have nothing to do anyways."

He relaxes and gives you a grateful smile before going out first. April looks at her phone before also bidding you and Leo goodbye as well,

Leo seems to want to ask you something, you lean your hip on the table, as you patiently wait for him to say something,

"Have you really left your job?"

You frown, "I'm pretty sure stealing and sabotaging company property would get one fired so..."

Leo looks at you with a stern gaze, "that's not what I meant, and I'm pretty sure you know that" you shrug playing dumb,

" Cause I find it pretty funny how you got out of that lab with such an important and lethal experiment in tow, and how Ralph found you just in time with an army of ninjas after you, and a baby mutant with the ability to incapacitate other mutants? The others might've bought your story as fast as they did but forgive me if I am a bit skeptical of your presence."

With the dimmed lights of the lab casting shadows over his face,and his eyes trained intently on you, you couldn't help but be scared, you were facing a mutant after all. If you thought Ralph was the most intimidating out of the brothers, you thought wrong. It wasn't because he could squish you like a grape, though it was one of the reasons, but it was because he was looking at you like he knows what you did. Picking up your fleeing courage you look him in the eye.

"Look, I know how bad this looks, and I can see it from your perspective, I can't exactly prove it right now, but trust me when I say I have no intention in putting you or your family in a danger that I brought upon myself. I appreciate all your help up until now, but we'll be out of your business soon enough, so thank you very much." Leo, holds your gaze for a second or two, seemingly satisfied in whatever he saw in you at the moment, gives you a stiff but acknowledging nod, before he too exits.

You let out a long exhale you felt like you were holding in, your short exchange with him seemed to have drained you, you understood he did that because he wanted to keep everyone safe, but damn you didn't want to be on the other side when he did that. You sank on the stool beside Ralph's medical bed.

He's still sound asleep, oblivious to the conversations that occurred. You clutch at the flash drive in your pocket. Maybe there is a way for you to prove yourself, as you glance around the lab, Donnie did say you're welcome in the lab, though the whole place isn't your traditional linoleum tiled lab, it'll do for now.

Ralph stirs from his venom induced sleep, he was definitely sore all over, funny, it's been too long since a work out ever got him this sore, the sound of the keyboard typing made him assume he was in Donnie's lab, he groans.

The typing stops. He calls for Donnie, a small cool hand on his forehead stills him, he cracks open his eyes as a flood of bright lights assault his sensitive eyes, he shields them with his other hand, he hears your voice first before his eyes adjusted to the light.

He must be dead and was just dreaming, you look at him with worry etched in your features. You pat his outstretched hand, telling him you're going to call his brothers, in his haze he grabs you by the hand, holding you in place.

"Stay. Please."

You look at him with conflicted eyes, before sighing and taking the stool beside him.


He fell asleep again. At least he woke up, so that was a sign that his body was flushing out the venom. But it was going too slow for your liking.

You gave his hand a reassuring squeeze before gently prying your hand away from his lose grip.

You still have to finish your current research, you owe it to him. As you get back to the computer.

By the time you were finished Donnie nudges you a slice of pizza on a plate and a glass of water.

" You missed lunch. Mugen was looking for you the whole time."

You almost trip trying to get up and running towards the door.

Mugen.

How can you forget.

Donatello steadies you before you fall flat in your face.

"Woah woah, slow down, Mikey and Leo got him handled-"

"Leo?" You say befuddled, you were pretty sure he wanted nothing to do with Mugen and you after that confrontation.

"Yeah, he prepared Mugen's lunch, Mikey couldn't handle seeing Mugen eat raw meat."

"Oh. That's...really nice of him."

Donatello nods "That's Leo for you, he may be a bit overbearing at times but you can always count on him."

"What's got you so distracted anyways?" He says peeking at the computer. You move aside to show him,

"Remember when I said I handled his enhancements? Well, that included venom, and since I already did previous research on his venom, I could easily-"

"-make an antivenom, y/n, you're a genius!" His eyes quickly scanning your work. "Luckily for us, the lab is fully stocked with these ingredients." He says opening a large closet full of labeled bottles.

" though ... we might need Mugen's venom..."

Oh dear.

---

You hold an empty jar with a rubber latex over its brim, Mugen is in the kitchen as Leo watches him eat, upon seeing you he pauses from his meal before shimmying down his seat to run towards you.

You pick him up as you hoist him by your hip, balancing the jar along, Leo looks at you curiously.

"What's the jar for?"

"Need to extract venom from Mugen"

He gives you a confused look.

"We're making an antivenom. We need his venom for it." As you nudge the jar in Mugen's direction wondering how you'd ask him to bite a jar...

"Um...please bite this Mugen?" You try, as you hold the jar nearer to his mouth. He gives you a confused look, sniffing the jar then, looking at you with big black eyes, as if to say 'what am I supposed to do with this?', you mimic biting on the jar before handing it back to him as if he could understand you want him to do the same. He does but he just gnaws on it.

Leo sighs from his seat at your direction.

"Do you want my help?"

An olive branch, he was probably offering it as a sign of peace after your encounter, not one to turn down good will you hesitantly nod.

"Er... if you don't mind..."

He stands from his seat, walking towards you, you involuntarily tense, Mugen seems to sense this as he hisses at Leo to stay back, Leo pauses, cocking his head slightly on the side as if thinking.

"Sorry about this" was all he says.

"Wha-"

In quick strides, he traps you with Mugen in your arms between the table and him. Your heart almost lodged into your throat, clutching Mugen as if you could use him as a shield against the turtle in front of you. He was too close. You felt like you couldn't breathe, as you look into his eyes, sapphire blue. But you noticed his focus was elsewhere, more specifically at Mugen, the squirming mutant in your arms was getting angrier, a quick twist of his smooth body, he lunges, claws and fangs bared at Leo.

"Mugen no!" You cry as Leo swiftly grabs the jar from your hand and in a blink of an eye he uses his sheathed katana to block Mugen's talons and moves the jar in the path of Mugen's fangs.

It almost looked like someone had hit the pause button as you all went into a stand still. With Mugen's venomous fangs sunk in the rubber on top of the jar. You immediately hold Mugen tighter, cooing that ' it's okay', as Leonardo collects the venom, satisfied with the amount collected, he carefully removes the jar, Mugen in a calmer but pouty mood gives him a dirty look,

"I hope this is enough, he seemed like he was about to start another hissy fit if I collected more." He hands you the jar, you take the jar as you set Mugen back down his seat.

"Thank you, I didn't think I could've collected it myself " you say looking anywhere but his eyes, your cheeks still felt like they're aflame, you pray he doesn't notice.

Leo nods, "You're welcome, er...sorry about earlier and sorry about that too Mugen, it was the only thing I could come up with at the moment." He says crouching at Mugen's level.

Mugen just shoots him another glare before shoveling a mouthful of his unfinished food, keeping a careful eye on Leonardo.

" It's okay, I'll watch him while you do your thing in the lab."

You hesitate. You didn't want to leave them alone but it seems Leo could handle himself well enough. You give Mugen another pat before telling him to 'behave yourself, I'll be right back'.

As soon as you close the door of the lab you press yourself against it, internally cringing at yourself. 'Why're you flustered? Did you seriously thought he was going to do something to you? He's a turtle Y/n. A humanoid turtle with blue blue eyes- Stupid, stupid, stup-'

"Y/n? How did it go? Are you alright?"

You almost jump out of your skin, almost dropping the jar.

"Y-Yeah! Here!" You shove the jar of venom towards Donnie as he fumbles, he gives you a confused look wondering what got you so wound up.

He frowns, not sure if he should ask, in the end he shrugs ' maybe it was difficult to get the venom'. He puts the venom on the desk sealing it.

"Oh I think I left some notes in my room lemme just go get them." He doesn't wait for your reply as he leaves the room.

He passes the kitchen as he sees Leo with Mugen, their backs to him as Leo holds his head with both hands, and Mugen begrudgingly gives him a small sympathetic pat.

...huh. It seems everyone has a lot on their minds today.

Leo and April arrived in the lab by the time you and Donnie were almost finished with the antivenom.

"Hey guys! What are you up to?"April beams giving you both a wave.

"Oh h-hey, we were just finishing up the antivenom and was just about to test it-" as Donnie almost drops the syringe.

"We'll leave soon, get ready team." Leo says strapping a brace on his arm, he was already geared up. You couldn't help but stare.

"Uhhh sure, lemme just give Ralph the Antivenom....aaannd there, that should do it." Now it's only the waiting game. As Donnie too, grabs his small bag of gadgets from a table and gears up as well.

"He should wake up probably...around tonight, but for now the venom would need time to flush out from his system. " you say, checking his vitals and nodding at the positive results.

" is there anything specific you want me to get from your place?" April asks you, on her shoulder two empty duffel bags were slung.

"No, not really just the basics would do, sorry for letting you go through the trouble..." You wondered how she came to know the guys, but it seemed like a story for another time.

"It's okay, I don't mind, besides I have Leo and Donnie coming along, I can always count on them."

"Of course you can count on me- I mean us!" Donnie says, giving her an awkward smile.

You give him a grin with a waggle of your eyebrows when April wasn't looking, Donnie gives you a questioning look before catching on, his eyes widen in panic. You open your mouth but he swiftly covers your it with his hand. The other two turn to look at the tall turtle and you in curiosity. You let out a muffled laugh. As Donnie seems rather surprised himself, he looked like a deer caught in headlights.

"Uuuhhh, I- could you 'scuse us for a moment real quick? 'Kay bye!"

He says effortlessly dragging you with him. It was almost laughable on how he picked you up running out the door like his tail was on fire.

He brings you out in the hall, looking left and right, satisfied no one is listening in he lets you go.

"When did you find out? Was I that obvious? No. Somebody must've told you, was it Mikey?? I swear I'm gonna make turtle soup-"

"Relax Donnie, no one told me, I had a theory and was right." You say chuckling, while stopping him from turning his brother into an exotic dish.

"Urrghhh, great. It seems everyone seems to notice except for the target herself."

You give him a chuckle and a sympathetic pat on his arm.

Your friendship with this dorky turtle is going well if you say so yourself.

Chapter Text

When you both re-entered the lab, you saw Leo and April helping a finally awake Ralph sit up, it seems while you two were having a chat, the antivenom worked faster than you thought.

"Oh you're both back, Ralph just woke up." April says walking towards you both. While you hurry to immediately check Ralph's vitals, grabbing your borrowed clipboard, leaving Donnie to fend for himself.

" I...er- yeah... how's Ralph?"as Donnie awkwardly shifts into a casual stance.

"He seems fine, a little disoriented but I think he'll be alright, what did you guys talked about anyways?"

"You- ...know science-y stuff, stuff you and Leo wouldn't understand, Scientific theories and things scientists and inventors like myself talk about all the time-"

Donnie says, looking everywhere but April, awkwardly shuffling in place, as she looks at him with a raised brow.

"And you both had to leave the room for that?" Leo asks with a sly grin, 'wow, what a sadist' you think as you watch Leo metaphorically dunk his brother in hot water.

"I- we-"

"Hey Don, I think you need to check this out" you say, deciding to save him, waving the clipboard,

"Oh, 'scuse me, duty calls, haha." with a relieved sigh he rushes to you. Up close you can almost see him sweating bullets, you didn't even know turtles could sweat.

"Thanks"

"No problem, I've checked his vitals on the monitor, but I'd probably need to get some blood samples" Donnie nods and glances at Leo talking to Ralph.

"So, how're you feeling?" Donnie asks.

"Like shit." Ralph deadpans.

"Ah, I see, same as usual then." Donnie comments, as he writes Ralph's status: 'normal' on his clipboard.

Before Ralph could make a comeback, the lab door bursts open and a blur of orange and bright green tackles Ralph,

"I knew I heard your voice! Ralph you're alive!"

Ralph grunts, before pushing his excitable brother off him,

"Yeah, yeah, now gettoffme"

You grin along with everyone else, before realizing something.

"Mikey. If you're here, who's watching Mugen?"

Mikey blinks at you.

"Oh, I thought he was with you?" Your heart drops down to your stomach, as you feel a cold dread wash over you.

"Mikey! You left a lethal baby mutant loose in the sewers!?"Donnie panics, Ralph frowns, "what did I miss?"

"Hey, hey, relax. he might just be in the lair." He says waving the group who looks like they're about to de-shell him.

You push your way out the lab, calling out for the small mutant, the others have followed searching the lair alongside you,

You open every cupboard and searched the places he could possibly hide.

You look at the wide open exit, before you could run out someone holds you back.

" where're you goin'?" Ralph asks he's sweating and seems like he's about to collapse, he shouldn't be up and about, he's still weak from the effects of the venom.

"you're not supposed to be up and I was- I was- the tunnels, he might be out there-"

Leo overhears you and calls for the gang,

"We're coming with, we could cover more ground with everyone searching, split up in groups of two." Leo glances at Ralph, knowing Ralph wouldn't back down once he was up and about, Leo sighs, "Ralph you can barely protect yourself much less stand in your state."

Ralph tries to protest but his body betrays him when his vision blurs and his breathing more laboured, he begrudgingly nods at Leo,

"I can- cough- yeah... no. I think I gotta...just catch my breath, I'll follow as soon as I'm good." He says wheezing a bit.

Leo helps his brother into the couch and looks at the group, " April, mind waiting here with Ralph for a bit?" Leo says, carefully choosing his words, she gives a knowing nod.

You go with Leo as the group separates into two, each having one person who Mugen likes, in case he might attack when taken by surprise in the dark.

You ran, listening and watching for anything moving. Leo says nothing as he let's you take the lead, watching your back.

If he got caught, everything would've been for nothing.

If he got hurt-

You run into a dead end.

If he died what would you do?

You run in another direction you heard some noise, but Leo stops you, telling you that leads to another dead end.

That's another life on your conscience

You reach another dead end.

Tears were starting to blur your vision, from the smell of sewers or the frustration you couldn't tell, you couldn't help the small sniffles that came along with it. Leo apparently caught on, despite you trying to hide it by pretending to use the collar of your shirt to cover the lower half of your face from the smell.

He stops you with a gentle hold on your shoulder, with your back towards him you quickly wipe your eyes, hoping the darkness would be enough to hide your tear streaked face.

"...Y/n?"

"I'm fine, it's the sewers, the smell makes my eyes water."

He looks a around a while and pulls you along, surprised, you follow him after a few turns you both end up facing a ladder up, he goes ahead first, after checking if the coast is clear he pulls you up. You almost breathe a sigh of relief as you take gulps of the cool night air, with your back towards him to hide your tear stained face

"Feeling better?"

You nod, " thanks Leo, but I don't think we should be out here." You say clearing your throat and cautiously looking around. It was a quiet alleyway, probably away from the main city as told by the suburban houses an peaceful streets, you could faintly smell something roasting in someone's home.

"I know... Master Splinter would have my head on a silver platter if he knew, but you looked like you needed this." He says not quite looking into your eyes, rubbing his neck.

You blink, as something warm floods your chest, you open your mouth to say something then you hear it.

"As long as we stay close to the shadows there's less chances in us getting spotted...and we need to find Mugen- you know what? We should probably head back searching...that is whenever you're ready-" Leo pauses from his rambling, as he notices you were straining towards a direction hearing something.

You strained your ears, you hear it again. That soft churr you've growned familiar with these past months, Leo seems to have heard it too as you give each other a look.

Leo carries you, as you both hop roof to roof towards the direction on the sound, you finally see him, scaling the wall of a house towards an open window with the stealth and agility of a hunter, by the window a roasted Turkey sat gleaming, as a large family dinner seemed to be starting.

"Mugen!" You whisper shouted. The tiny mutant looks towards you with a happy chirp waving a small clawed hand at you.

Leo sets you down by the fire escape as you reach a hand out to Mugen, "here, here come to me, we gotta go before someone sees us."

You nervously glance at the window hoping no one heard you, if they just stuck out their head out the window, they'd immediately see you with two mutants and start screaming bloody murder to the whole neighborhood.

You're too exposed. Leo seems to know it too as he stands alert for any signs of eyes falling upon you three.

Mugen looks at your and then looks back at the turkey merely a feet away from him he frowns, conflicted between his instincts and fondness of you.

"Please, please Mugen come here" you desperately whisper, something in the way you looked, worried Mugen, as he decides to abandon his hunt as he scales the wall towards you, when he was in arms reach you couldn't help but envelop the small mutant in a hug as you felt relief.

He gives you a look that says " what's wrong? Why're you crying?" As he gently pats your wet face with his small hands, and nudges his head on your shoulder. You hadn't noticed you've started crying again.

Leo gives you two a small relieved smile, he was glad you both found Mugen, who knew he'd wander so far from the lair, and it was probably dumb luck that the place you both decided to stop by was where Mugen ended up in.

He walks up to the pair and gives Mugen a pat on the head.

"No more midnight stroll for you, you've made everyone worried sick, your mom almost turned the whole sewers upside down looking for you."

Mugen frowns, though he may not know what Leo was saying, he was quite sure he was being chastised. He nonetheless knew he did something wrong maybe he shouldn't leave your side for a while...

He gives Leo a chirp in apology, and a small nudge of his head on Leo's hand. Leo looks at you in question, you chuckle at his confused face.

"He says he's sorry, it's his way of apologizing. "

Leo gives the small mutant another pat, as Mugen emits a low churr.

" I'm not his mom, y'know."

He shrugs, "Might as well be, with the way you looked at Mikey like you were going to tear him a new one, I'd say even Ralph didn't want to be in Mikey's spot at that moment" giving you a playful grin.

You roll your eyes at Leo, looking at Mugen, he was looking at you rather hopefully, he was too young, too innocent for this world, if being his "mom" was the only way you could stick with him until he was old enough then so be it.

As you give him a gentle smile as he cheerily nuzzles on to you.

Your happy little moment was shattered, as Leo, quicker than you've ever seen him move, takes out his Katana to simultaneously block three shurikens that without a doubt would've turned you and Mugen into a live dart board.

"We've been spotted." Leo says, standing protectively in front of you and Mugen. He tosses you a device, which you awkwardly catch, struggling to balance Mugen, you take a look at it.

"Press the distress button. It will alert Don and Mikey, Go! I'll hold them off."Leo says as he spots two foot ninjas on the other building.

A... shell? A phone shaped like a turtle shell. A Shell phone. Okay, this was no time for puns. You crouch low, as you fiddle with the device, to your surprise it was fairly easy to operate, with a few press of some buttons, you activated what you hopefully think is the distress signal.

Leo blocks more shurikens, you try to make Mugen and yourself as small as possible, your fear lodged at your throat, as Mugen tries to wriggle himself out of your arms to join in with Leo, you tighten your hold on him.

"Mugen no!"

As Leo fights off the ninjas, as Mugen looks on, itching to join in, but your cry, makes him hesitate, he decides to stay put, slightly pouting but behaved at your arms.

Leo's eyes flickers towards you, then at the ladder up the fire escape. " Y/n, I'll meet you on the roof, Mikey and Don will be here soon, Go!"

You nod, hesitating just a little bit, before climbing up to the roof top.

You were quite sure you've never want to see another form of exercise ever again as you reach the top a little more than out of breath, Mugen though small was definitely not light.

You scan the buildings hoping to see a flash of purple or orange, in your arms Mugen hisses violently at something behind you, as you turn around a girl with really short hair around your age, stands a little far off.

She held a katana in one hand and her other hand on her hip, she looks at you critically and at Mugen,

"Hmm, I was expecting you to look a little...more."

"What does-"

You were cut off mid sentence, when you felt Leo land beside you. It seems he has finished off the ninjas chasing you, as he faces off with the woman.

" Karai."

"Leonardo. Figures, you wouldn't be far, always the hero."

"You don't need her."

"No. But that crazy scientist does."

"Baxter?" She focuses her attention back to you, as she narrows her eyes. Leo on the other hand moves to shield you and Mugen from her gaze.

"You've definitely caused some trouble, girl. This isn't your fight Leo, go back to your master."

She spins her katana and aims it at Leo. Leo readies his stance.

"No. But I won't let you or the Foot clan take her and the child."

"If I don't know any better, I'd say you've grown attached." With a cry, she does the first strike as Leo blocks it with his own weapon. The clashes of metal creates tiny sparks at they both try to get the upper hand.

"And if I didn't know better, I'd say you were jealous."

He aims a kick at her head, only for her to duck and sweep her leg throwing him off balance. As she aims her blade to strike him.

" You really wish that fantasy was real wasn't it? Don't worry I'll make your dreams reality and assure you'll never wake again!"

Her strike hits the cement as Leonardo rolls away, delivering a kick at her, she lands crouched, her eyes flicking towards you who seems to have watched the whole exchange with fear, clutching the small mutant who seems to be glaring rather hatefully at her.

She throws a smoke bomb at Leonardo, when Leo unknowingly struck the projectile it explodes, hindering his vision, coughingas he tries to wave the smoke away, unbeknownst to you Karai's direction shifted as she aims her katana to strike you.

"Y/N look out!" Leo cries, as he could faintly see through the clearing smoke, who Karai's intended target was a little too late.

Leo's warning was a little too late, you turn around as you could see Karai poised to skewer you.

A flash of metal and bright red.

And pain and blood definitely blooming at the side of your arm. You managed to twist your body fast enough to avoid being impaled, but wasn't enough that you still received a rather deep cut on your shoulder.

You hiss out a curse, as the small mutant in your arms grows enraged upon seeing you hurt. He breaks out of your hold, a blur of fangs and claws.

"Mugen-" you reach a hand out to stop him but wince when every movement seems to make the pain worse.

Karai jumps out of range of the beserking mutant. She blocks the claws swiping at her with her katana, this only makes Mugen angrier as he tries to sink his fangs at her, with a well aimed kick she manages to punt the small mutant off the building.

You scream, pushing yourself past the pain to catch him, something or rather someone in green and red speeds past you and jumping off to catch Mugen mid-air, they both land on the roof of the other building.

You rush towards the edge, only to see Ralph breathing rather heavily and sweating, in his arms a whimpering Mugen is curled up.

Your blood boils.

Behind you, you could hear Leonardo and Karai both locked in another battle. Your arm hurts, but all you could see was red. You pick up a broken rusted pipe, lying with a bunch of other trash on the roof.

You were never one for violence, but something seemed to snap within you. As you raise the bar over an unsuspecting Karai, Leo widens his eyes when he saw you.

Karai notices Leo's attention behind her as she ducks, expecting a swipe. You originally intended for her head, but when she ducked, the arc of your blow hits her on the shoulder. The rusted pipe shatters, upon hitting her armor as she let's out a pained grunt. Clutching her injured shoulder she gives you a roundhouse kick to your face.

With a pained noise you, brace yourself to kiss the rough cement of the roof, only, it never came as strong arms catch you.

"Sorry we're late, angelcakes"

You look up to see Mikey with a rather easy going smile, you weren't exactly sure if it was just the dim lighting but his eyes held a rather sharp glare at Karai.

"Donnie! Check on Ralph and Mugen!"

"On it."

Donnie nods at Leo, he jumps towards Ralph to assess the damage the two received.

"It seems, I'm at a disadvantage, very well, I shall be taking my leave... for now."

Karai, upon seeing she was rather outnumbered scowls, with little to no warning she throws several smoke bombs.

Leo blindly rushes towards where Karai was, only to find no trace of her. He curses.

Mikey looks down at you assessing your injuries, you haven't moved in his arms the whole time, a bruise was starting to bloom on your cheek and you were bleeding rather heavily from the cut on your arm, he wasn't sure how much, but it dyed your clothes at an alarming rate.

"Uhh Don? Leo?? You might wanna check on y/n here."

Leo rushes up to you both,as Donnie helps up a struggling Ralph before they head towards you,

"Dude. I think your girlfriend did a number on her."

Leo gives Mikey frown,"she's not my girlfriend."

"Whateva you say bro, but you DO know you tend to go easy on her."

"I have my reasons, she's just...having trouble choosing sides"
Leo looks away guilty, he wraps up a clean cloth on your heavily bleeding arm, hoping to stave off the blood flow.

In your haze of blood loss, you look towards Ralph, reaching out your uninjured arm to pat Mugen, he was asleep, then you look at Ralph Donnie by his side supporting him as he clutched Mugen, he too looked worse for wear.

"Hey... watch him for a little while for me, yeah?" You could feel the left side of your face throbbing, as your vision starts to show black spots.

Ralph nods at you, his emerald eyes looking at you in concern. Funny, he's just as tired as you are.
"I think I'm gonna rest my head for a bit..."

"Angelcakes? Hey. Y/n!...."

Black.

Chapter Text

Donnie had always considered himself the brains of the team, he always prides himself as the smartest of his brothers but he really wasn't the most calmest as he tries to rationalize the path Mugen took in the vast maze of the sewers of the city, almost as frantic as you are, as his mind throws up all the ways this mission could go wrong if they don't find the deadly mutant that escaped their watch.

He mutters as he tries to look for clues in the dark.

"Uhhh Don?"

He answers with a dismissive hum as he faces another fork in the sewers, deciding to take the left path, as Mikey follows him.

"Hey Donnie!"

"What? Mikey, I'm trying to search here! If you haven't noticed, the deadliest weapon coveted by the Foot Clan, The Kraang and Baxter just escaped our lair and so help me if he bites-"

"But Leo needs back up." Mikey says waving hisT-phone which flashes an alert repeatedly, Donnie's eyes follow the phone then checks his own, in his frantic state he didn't notice the buzzing device on his side.

"Why didn't you tell me earlier?!" Dashing ahead as he follows the tracker in his phone.

"But I...."

Mikey gives him a dumbfounded look, it quickly shifts into mild annoyance as he follows his brother.

Donnie's dread kicks in as he and Mikey ended in the quiet streets of New York. What were you and Leo doing on the surface of the city? Did you chase after Mugen? Were you too late?

They both give each other a look and take to the roofs to avoid detection, with him keeping a close eye on the red dot on his screen. He turns to look at the orange clad turtle beside him who hasn't uttered a single word and seems rather eager to get where you and Leo are.

when they finally find you and Leo on the roof, he sees karai give you a strong kick, he runs to catch you but to his surprise, it seems his younger brother beats him to it, cradling you as he gives Karai a sharp glare.

He stands there watching the whole scene play out, a little off beat, as Leo glances at him but still kept a careful watch on Karai, who seemed to clutch her shoulder as if in pain, he figures that it might be from Leo's attacks before they arrived.

"Donnie! Check on Ralph and Mugen!"

"On it."

He looks at the direction Leo points out and nods at him, with a low crouch he jumps towards Ralph, to his surprise he finds his brother clutching the small mutant protectively,

" Ralph! You were supposed to be in the lair! Where's April?"

"Lair. Never mind that, the little guy took quite a hit." He says a little more than out of breath. Donnie leans over to check on Mugen who has undoubtedly unconscious.

"Define 'took quite a hit'."

He quickly scans the small mutant to check for any visible signs of injury, to his surprise he finds a few scratches but none that needs urgent attention.

" took-a-rather-hard-blow-and-was-kicked-off-a-building kind. "

Donnie gives his brother a nod, "seems a little banged up, but he'll be okay."

He hoists Ralph's arm around his shoulders as they leaped towards the fight. He gives Ralph a quick glance, oh boy, he really couldn't fight in this state, but he stubbornly keeps up a front.

Karai narrows her eyes upon the group surrounding her, scowling, and quickly fled the scene when she noticed was out numbered. Donnie lets out a sigh of relief, he really wasn't up to fighting when there were so much at stake.

"Uhh Don? Leo?? You might wanna check on y/n here."

Upon seeing you barely conscious in Mikey's arms they both quickly hobble toward you.

Leo gets to Mikey and you before they did, Donnie couldn't help but internally panic upon seeing your blood soaked arm. You were losing so much, can humans even survive losing that much?? Oh heck, if you up and gone master Splinter would have their shells and Mugen, hell, they'd have to take care of him somehow?

"Dude. I think your girlfriend did a number on her." Mikey glares at Leo.

Leo gives Mikey frown,"she's not my girlfriend."

"Whateva you say bro, but you DO know you tend to go easy on her." Donnie couldn't help but agree, in the past Leo had left Karai off the hook, though there were times she had her good points this definitely wasn't one of them.

"I have my reasons, she's just...having trouble choosing sides" Leo looks away guilty, he wraps up a clean cloth on your heavily bleeding arm tightly, hoping to stave off the blood flow. You don't seem to notice this, Donnie observes.

You hazily look towards Ralph, reaching out your uninjured arm to pat Mugen, the small mutant lets out a small purr but nonetheless was still unconscious.

"Hey... watch him for a little while for me, yeah?"

Ralph nods at you, struggling to stand up straight by himself but determined to put up a front despite that he was just as tired as you are.

"I think I'm gonna rest my head for a bit..."

"Nononono! Keep her conscious!" Donnie yells, almost dropping Ralph as he tries not to shake you awake himself.

"Angelcakes? Hey. Y/n!...."

"Oh shell, I've never read up much on human anatomy! What do we do? She lost so much blood! Master Splinter would have our heads for this, we gotta do something-" a quick smack on the back of his head by Leo snaps him out.

"Ow...Thanks..."

"No problem, now focus Don, what do we need to do?"

" we gotta take her back to the lab, no use in trying to wake her up at this point. Dropping her off at a hospital would only be like giving Baxter what they want on a silver platter."

"Right. Let's go." Ralph, ever the impulsive one urges Don to go ahead as the three of them takes the lead, leaving Mikey to follow them and Leo covering the back.

"Hang on y/n, we got you." Leo couldn't help but murmur as he watches your head limply loll in Mikey's arms as they try run back to the direction of their home.

They arrive only to be greeted by a worried April and a narrowed eyed master Splinter.

They all tense, originally they planned on sneaking in before master Splinter ever noticed their disappearance but it all comes crashing down as they see master Splinter's eyes dart between you, Mugen and then to them.

"Master Splinter, we could explain-"Leo starts,

He holds up a hand to silence his son.

"I'd ask you to explain yourselves right now but it could wait, it seems I already got the gist of it and they need your help." they look at each other as they all head towards the lab, but paused as master Splinter spoke up once again.

"We will talk once this has been dealt with." They give him a bow as they scurry off before master Splinter could say anything else.

In the lab Donnie quickly gets to work, grabbing the medical kit, as Mikey carefully lays you on the medical bed Ralph recently vacated. he wasn't a doctor and the fact he was the most qualified to do this was almost ridiculous, he was an inventor not a doctor! Sure he patched his brothers up but that was because they healed fast, nothing as delicate procedure such as this!

He glances at your sleeping face, you were so fragile... and if he messed this up- Oh god, IF he messes this up he'll never forgive himself. A knock on the door snaps him out of his spiralling thoughts.

April's red head peeks from the door way, and enters almost a bit cautiously.

"Hey, can I do anything to help?"

Donnie nods, "I need to stitch her up, it's a rather deep cut, but I need to clean the area first, think you can grab a bowl of water and clean the surrounding tissue?"

"On it"

Donnie looks at his brothers and sighs, "everyone else, please wait outside."

"What! But-" Leo puts a hand on Ralph's shoulder and shakes his head, he gives them an annoyed look, but heads out followed by Leo, Mikey lingers a bit, but Donnie gives him a stern look and points towards the door, he pouts but goes out anyways.

Not long after, April returned with a bowl of clean water and a piece of cloth. The wound was cleaned and he had a sterilized needle and thread on his hand, his hand looked so large and clumsy compared to your small bleeding arm, it also made him realize how vastly different he and his brothers are to you .

"Donnie?"

He blinks, looking at April, he hasn't noticed he was shaking.

"She needs you Dee, you can't chicken out now"

He looks back at you, so pale and so peaceful, he gently brushes off a lock of hair that has gone to your face, with a determined nod, he starts.

You were finally stitched up and after several other checks, you were deemed stable, turns out, all that red made it look like you lost more than you had, it was a relief that you didn't really need any blood transfusions.

April looks at you breathing steadily as the beeping of the heart monitor and various machinery in Don's lab fills out the silence.

"I think I've done a pretty decent job if I say so myself."

"I'm sure she'll be fine Dee, what happened out there? Ralph's T-phone started beeping like crazy and he dashed off the tunnels by himself. "

"I'm not quite sure either, but when we arrived she was already facing Karai with Leo and Ralph arrived clutching Mugen- Oh right! Mugen! I gotta go check-"

He starts to get up but pauses as Mugen and Ralph strolls in,

"Sorry to barge in but the little guy was about to throw a tantrum, Leo figured seeing her would calm him down"

Donnie doesn't miss the "subtle" lingering glances Ralph has been giving you the whole time, 'oh? Looks like Mugen isn't the only one who wants to see her'

Mugen, upon seeing you scampers up towards the bed you were lying in letting out clicks and whines babbling rapidly.

Ralph picks him up as he desperately clings to your shirt."You gotta let her rest little man. "

"Ralph! Be more sensitive will you? The little guy is just worried, give him here, I'll watch him for a while."

April reaches out, waiting for Ralph to hand Mugen, he hesitates a bit but shrugs, 'what's the worse that could happen?'

As soon as Mugen noticed to whom he was being handed to, he immediately latches unto Ralph, letting out panicked churrs, pleading at Ralph with his big black eyes.

Ralph stops, giving April a smug grin, "whoops, sorry, doesn't look like he wants to go with you, maybe another time, probably when you look less scary for mutant children. "

April, in return, gives him a deadpan look, as Donnie chuckles, "well, since he's already sooo attached to you you don't mind doing babysitting duty, do you?" He says in a sweetly saccharine tone.

"That's right, he's attache- WHAT, hold up, oh nononono, I'm NOT doing babysitting duty. Let somebody else do it!"

"Like who?"

"You."

"Y/n duties" he says gesturing to your steadily breathing form.

"Leo then"

"we need him when we get y/n's things"

"Why can't I do it?"

"More inconspicuous and... you're still not recovered."

"Argh. April?"

"Ha, didn't you just say he didn't like me?" She says crossing her arms on her chest with a grin rivaling his a moment ago.

"Mikey?"

They both give him a look that says 'really?'.

"Right... fine. I'll watch him but I'm not doing any of that motherly shi-" he catches himself, an awkward pause, he glances at Mugen then to them, trailing off.

"Shiiiifts... motherly shifts that y/n does."

" you're doing great already" Donnie gives him a pat on the shoulder as April snickers in the background, he grumbles something under his breath all the while Mugen looks at the whole exchange with interest.

"Now Ralph can you put him on the table I need to check on those scratches I saw earlier. " Ralph gingerly puts Mugen on the lab table.

to Don's surprise, the small cuts and scrapes he saw before were gone, a little baffled, he pokes Mugen to see for any signs of broken bone or bumps or any pain at all. 'It couldn't be all from his imagination, could it?'

Mugen lets out a giggle as he bats away Donnie's hands, deciding to keep the information to himself for now, Don gives Ralph a thumbs up,

"well, the little guy is A-okay, though he could probably use some sleep"

"Didn't you say he was "a little banged up" earlier?" as Donnie waves him off,

"I did, but that was probably just because it was dark that I mistook dirt from scrapes y'know..." Ralph narrows his eyes in suspicion.

Mikey pokes his head through the door interrupting what ever was on Ralph's mind,

" Uhhh dudes? not to bother whatever it is you're doing, but sensei called everyone to the livingroom and he doesn't seem chill at all, so if Donnie is done with y/n can we go now, before he blows a gasket that'd be cool. "

They both grimly nod as Ralph takes Mugen, walking to through the door, April gives Donnie an encouraging smile "don't worry I'll watch her for now." as he too, follows his brother out the door,

To Donnie's surprise he sees Mikey still lingering outside the lab door, he seems fidgety as a bird, "Oh hey Donnie, didn't see you there!"

" you just literally called us like 10 seconds ago, what do you want Mikey? "

He sags a bit, "okay okay, I just want to know how she's doing. "

He gives his brother an intrigued look, first Ralph, now Mikey? His brothers were acting really weird when it came to you recently.

"She's fine, she's currently resting right now, she received a concussion so she'll be out for a while."

Mikey visibly looks relieved that you'll be fine, but it seems that something else was lingering on his mind.

"Do you think she'll hate me when she wakes up?"

Mikey weakly gives a worried laugh looking at the lab door as if he could see you through it. Donnie gives his brother a pat on the shoulder "I don't know, but I don't think she'd hate you"

"You think so?"

"Yeah, and if it makes you feel any better I'll help you get some alone time to clear things out with her."

"You will?" Mikey looks at Donnie hopefully.

"Of course little brother, now let's go face Master Splinter's wrath "

"Oh right ..."

And face his wrath they did. To say he was mad was an understatement, and a promise of harsher and harder training was made, they all collectively groan.

Leo steps into the lab, April had long gone saying she needed to sleep herself, while Donnie had deemed you stable enough to be without constant supervision.

He remains in the shadows of the lab, afraid that if he steps into the light he'd have no choice but to face you. So he remains, looking at you from afar, the bruise on your face was starting to take color, painting you in yellow and purple. Your arm covered thickly in gauze bandages with hints of red peeking out.

Leonardo doesn't quite understand what brought him here, probably some misplaced sense of guilt, that he let you down and didn't do enough to save you from injury. He was supposed to be the leader, protect those that needed protecting, in a way he believes he failed.

He knew his feelings for Karai got in the way, he admired her for her strength and determination, always trying to convince her to turn into the light, his decisions had led to this, he clenches his fist.

He vows he'll never let his feelings get in the way of his duties ever again, He'll protect you from harm and won't let anyone hurt you, he won't fail, not again.

"I'm sorry"

An apology that fell on deaf ears, as he left the room.

Chapter Text

Green.

You were drowning

You flailed your arms attempting to swim in the green waters but it doesn't seem like you weren't going anywhere.

You panic, looking above but see nothing but an endless bright green, and to your horror it seems like you were slowly sinking in the muck.

you couldn't do anything.

You couldn't breathe

You gasp awake, flailing as you try to take in as much air in your lungs as you could.

Bright lights assault your eyes as the rapid beeping of a heart monitor could be heard in the background.

You swore as you close your eyes again, a headache seems to bloom at the side of your head as you try to calm yourself, everything hurts.

You try again, this time more slowly, as your eyes start to adjust and the ache behind your eyes turns into a dull throb, immediately recognizing Donnie's lab as you finally get your bearings, but unlike before, you were the one lying on the medical bed right now.

You try to sit up but grunt in pain, looking down towards the source, you see your arm wrapped thickly in gauze, a sharp ache shoots up as soon as you even try moving your heavily bandaged arm.

You slowly sit up, favoring your uninjured side, frowning as the headache only seems to get worse by the minute, and that incessant beeping is starting to get on your headache and nerves, with a quick tug you rip out the wires hooked up on you.

The heart monitor flat lines. You blink. your mind slowly catching up on what you just did,

'huh, maybe I should've just reached out a bit to turn it off-"

Donnie frantically barges in making you visibly jump, your heart beating a mile a minute.

"Y/N! Oh shell- I thought- the alerts from my watch started going off, I thought you-"

"Died?" You morbidly supply, Donnie blinks, "I was gonna say, had a heart attack, though I guess it's not far from that, haha..."

"sorry about that, I wasn't really thinking when I started yanking on the wires." You say sheepishly twiddling with a wire with your good hand

Donnie waves your apology, he grabs a clip board and settles on a stool beside you, "it's fine, I'm glad you're finally awake, how're you feeling anyway?"

You give him a weak grin, "honestly? I feel like shit."

He chuckles, "You're starting to sound a lot like Ralph- "

At the mention of his name everything comes flooding back like a flood, Mugen falling, the fight, that crazy-katana-wielding woman, that strange violent feeling you seem to develop as of late.

You didn't notice you haven't heard anything Donnie had said for the past minute. You seem to be lost in thought, Donnie easily picks up on your silence, "-and...What's wrong? Does your injuries hurt? Here lemme get you some pain killers"

He busies around in search for the meds while you were left to ponder,

"Is everyone okay?"

He looks at you, astonished. You were the one hooked up on the medical bed, yet here you are asking mutants with fast regeneration if they're okay, how...strange. He smiles to himself,

"Uh... yeah Me and Mikey haven't really gotten a piece of the action, Ralph was fine even though he seemed really tired, Leo on the other hand...well he's all patched up so I deemed that as okay, we're pretty tough, y'know? and ...Mugen was oddly unscratched from the whole ordeal, even though Ralph swore he was kicked off the roof."

He looks at you curiously as if waiting for some explanation, but you seemed to be too relieved everyone was okay to notice, he decides not to push the topic, for now.

"Hey Donnie, are they in the living room?"

"Oh they're at the dojo, Mikey and Ralph are probably sparring at the same time babysitting Mugen and Leo le- Hey, hey hey! where are you going?" He pauses from his search, and gently puts his hands on your shoulders to prevent you from standing up.

Giving him your best 'I'm-Alright-smile', as you pat his hand,

"I'll be fine." He doesn't look convinced.

He glances at your hand on his, then back to your face, not waiting for him to finish thinking, you easily push through his hold, not because you suddenly gained mutant strength but mainly because he didn't really apply any pressure at all, afraid to hurt you by accident.

As soon as your legs bear your weight you almost collapsed to the floor, your legs unsteady and weak, you shakily make your first steps as Donnie offers his assistance.

"Oh geez, I got you, hold on...slowly...."

"Thanks, Donnie" You give him a grin,

You can vaguely hear him sigh, then mutter something about being surrounded by stubborn people.

"Alright, you can go. But as soon as you show any signs that you're starting to strain yourself, it's back to the bed for you. And take this before we go" he hands you some pain killers and a bottle of water, you nod and you do as you're told.

You both slowly made it to the dojo without incident, in the middle was a blindfolded Ralph and Mikey sparring, Ralph obviously gaining the upper hand while Mikey fought with less gusto, seemingly distracted.

All the while, Mugen looks on from the sidelines, watching with rapt attention, but upon seeing you enter, he runs towards you chirping and babbling excitedly.

You pick him up with your good arm. He nuzzles into you, letting out soft churrs. "Miss you too, bud."

You quietly scan him for any injuries, but as Donnie had said, not even a scratch. You still continue checking for anything you might've missed. Not long, he gets annoyed and shrugs off your fussing, Donnie chuckles at you,

"You worry too much y/n, I already did my check on him before "

"Sorry, old habits" Not that you didn't trust Donnie but you had to see for yourself, right? Mugen pouts, but clings to you none the less.

"Y/n! You're awake!"

Upon hearing your voice Mikey perks up and pauses his sparring to wave at you from the direction of your voice.

"Are you feeling better, ange- oof!"

Not stopping his barrage of attacks, Ralph swipes a leg underneath Mikey successfully making him land on his behind.

"Third time in a row, Mikey, you're making this too easy, little bro." he says, removing his blindfold.

"Yeah, well, this time it's for a good reason " he says, removing his blindfold as well." besides, I'm pretty sure that was cheating,"

Ralph just gives him a smug look and shrugs "You know what sensei says, 'the enemy isn't going to play fair'" he says mimicking master Splinter.

Mikey shoots him a dirty look.

"You really need to go back to rest y/n. "

They stop their bickering as both shift their attention at you, who seemed worse for wear and started leaning more on Donnie, relying on him for support.

"I'm fine, I just need to sit down a bit, is all!" You say waving off his concern, as you slowly settle down on the dojo's floor, letting out a sigh of relief when the room slowly stopped spinning.

Mugen looks at you worriedly, babbling something similar to "Oh white" repeatedly. Weird, you didn't exactly think there was a possibility that he'd develop speech as he grows, You rub his head to assure him and decide to look into this further when you weren't out of commission.

Mikey approaches you with Ralph cautiously trailing behind. "Nice to see you again, Sugarcube" Mikey says gently. Looking at you, or rather looking at your injuries to be exact. He couldn't hide the small wince as his eyes glosses at the damage.

"Not exactly looking nice right now, but nice to see you all again, too." You say a bit dryly, feeling a little self-conscious.

"Are you kidding me? Nah, you still look like an angel, Angelcakes!"

You chuckle, you try but couldn't hide the heat creeping up your cheeks from the compliment. You hear Donnie cough from behind you,

"Hey, uhh, Ralph you mind if I do a little check on you? I need to see if the antivenom had fully done it's job. Mikey, mind watching them both for a moment?"

Ralph looks at him quizzically, "what? But didn't you just say I was good to-"

Donnie gives him a look.

He gives Donnie a look of confusion. In return Donnie face palms.

"Just follow me, It seems the venom affected your cognitive ability to notice cues, I'll explain during the check up."

"my what?...Okay, I guess...." he gives you a quick glance over then he frowns,... and here you thought he was finally okay with your presence, as he begrudgingly follows Donnie out.

As soon as Ralph steps out the door way, he sees Donnie pressed up against the side of the wall, out of sight from where you and Mikey were sitting.

"What the hell are yo-"

"Shhhhhhhhh, I'm trying to hear how this goes." Donnie says in a hush tone, gesturing for him to do the same.

Ralph deadpans at Donnie, he could feel his annoyance slowly ticking, "what're ya doing? I thought I needed a check up?"

"That was a cover up, dummy, Mikey asked me to help set him up for some alone time with y/n, and I'm TRYING to see how this goes. Now quiet before they hear us!"

"Hear what?"

They both stiffen, both slowly turn to see their leader, with his arms crossed, looking like he's about to start a lecture, Donatello opens his mouth to explain, when Raphael beats him to it.

"Mikey's gonna ask y/n out." Ralph, blurts out the first sentence running through his mind.

"What?" Donatello and Leonardo says stunned.

Realizing what Donnie had just said, Leo looks at Donnie suspiciously, as Donnie quickly backtracks.

"Uhhh yeah- um Mikey asked me to help set him up to talk to y/n ..." Not exactly a lie, though omitting that Mikey's just gonna apologize, Donnie was not exactly sure if Ralph was serious or just making this up to bait Leo into listening in, as well as getting them both out of trouble.

"Either way, that's none of your business, shouldn't be eavesdropping."

"C'mon fearless, aren't you just a liiiittle bit curious how this will go?" Ralph goads.

"No-"

"Shhhh shut up, you guys, they're talking"

As if it was coordinated, they all hurriedly press up beside the door way to listen in at the same time.

"What was that all about?" You wonder out loud, Mikey doesn't answer, you look back at him worriedly, the loud turtle seemed uncharacteristically quiet.

He was nervously playing with his hands, and he looks like he was about to pass out from holding his breath.

' do I stink?' you discreetly sniff near your shoulder, pretending to look at your injury. Okay, maybe you do. Oh god, you had the urge to run to the nearest bathroom to freshen up. Heavily conscious of yourself, it was your turn to nervously glance at him but he's too busy trying to avoid your gaze despite being right in front of you.

"Mikey,... are you alright?" He jolts.

"I'msorryIdidn'twatchMugenasIshouldhaveandnowyougotinjuredandit'sallmyfaultandItotallyunderstandifyouhatemebutpleasedon'thateme" he blurts out in one breath, surprising you.

"What?"

"I'm so-"

"I'm not mad."

"...You're not?" Mikey looks at you hopefully,

" well maybe just a little", he deflates at that "but not at you, I'm more mad at myself, at Baxter, those ninjas, you guys have been nothing but nice to me since I got here.

"I don't really understand why you're mad at yourself, angel, you've done nothing wrong. "

You smile sadly at him, then look down watching Mugen play with the strands of your hair, " I guess I'm just mad at myself for making the wrong decisions, I shouldn't have taken that job in the lab, I was blindsided by what they offered and then Mugen was created, because I was too naive to think it was for a good cause, now here I am bringing trouble at your doorstep, just because I couldn't protect us, I should've thought this through, I just feel so...so useless like this-"

"that's crazy talk, you're not useless at all! You're as smart as Donnie and you saved him" he says waving a hand at Mugen to which Mugen follows the gesture curiously, churring at him in question. " 'sides I like having you here!"

You blink, slightly embarrassed and grateful at his honesty.

"and don't worry y/n, you have us! and we'll protect you, Mugen and everyone else from Baxter and his goons, that's a Mikey promise"

You couldn't help it, he said it with such conviction you actually believe everything will be alright.

Your thoughts were interrupted when three turtles fall through the door way letting out yelps and grunts of surprise, behind them master Splinter gives them a look of somewhere between disapproval and disappointment, though you swear you could see a hint of amusement in his eyes.

"My sons, I believe I've already taught you that there are some conversations that are meant to be private, and Leonardo, I expected this from your brothers but not you, it's the hashi for you three"

A chorus of "yes, sensei" and "Sorry sensei" is heard from the three of them as they all hang their heads in shame.

You look at them with a raised brow, surprised and bemused that the ninjas were caught in such a juvenile act as eavesdropping.

Ralph wears his usual scowl not looking at master Splinter in the eye, upon noticing you looking, his mood sours further, as he lets out a huff of annoyance.

Looking at Leo, not expecting his rule abiding demeanor to eavesdrop, he notices you staring and quickly looks away, a hint of a blush, from embarrassment or guilt in getting caught, you couldn't tell.

Donnie looks like he was busy trying to come up with an excuse but probably finding none, he nervously resigns to his fate.

"Wow, this is probably the first time I'm not involved in a hashi punishment" Mikey whispers.

Master Splinter looks at his sons disapprovingly, then realizes you were watching them, "ah, it seems I too, have interrupted, how are you feeling, my child?"

"I've seen better days, master Splinter, but I'll be alright, and um... it's fine, you don't need to punish them, there wasn't any secrets said anyways."

"You're too kind, miss y/n, but it is important they know discipline, this is just to remind them. Now, it's best if you rest easy, you need to recover, you've been out for two days after all. " he says stroking his beard

"Oh okay,... wait, two days!?" You look at the guys, Donnie gives you an apologetic wince as the other two gives him a look, then look back to master Splinter.

Master Splinter raises an eyebrow at you in surprise, "I take it you weren't informed?"

"Er..I- no" you say shaking your head.

"ahaha...Sorry y/n I was going to inform you, but it slipped mind." Donny apologizes, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.

"It's fine- no wait, it's not... I mean, it's just a lot to take in I guess, I'm just a little overwhelmed..." you finish off weakly. Master Splinter nods in understanding.

"Michelangelo, please take miss y/n to her room so she may rest. And miss y/n?"

"Yes?"

"You're always welcome in the Hamato household." He gives you a gentle smile,

You nod, "Thank you."

"You got it sensei! See ya losers!" They shoot him glare, though, with them all kneeling in front of a less than amused sensei, wasn't really all that intimidating. Without so much as a warning, Mikey lifts you up, as you let out a small squeak of surprise, Mugen scampers up Mikey to hitch a ride by settling on your stomach.

The trip was rather short as Mikey cheerfully carries you both, you arrive at your door as he sets you down on your feet, while Mugen hops down but remains by your side.

" The bathroom is over there," he points to your left, "and feel free to use anything in there. Leo and the others got your stuff two days ago, we figured while you recovered you and Mugen would stay with us for a while."

He twiddles with his thumbs, opens his mouth to say something then hesitates,

"Something wrong?"

"I-I know I didn't do a very good job on watching Mugen the first time 'round, but ... I still wanna hang out with the little dude and I promise I'd watch him this time! So please?"

You glance down at Mugen who seems to be getting bored at the conversation and then back to Mikey who looks at you pleading with big eyes, you pretend to think about it,

"Hmm, I dunno Mikey..."

"I swear! I'll even watch him while he eats!" As soon as he says it you could see the flinch of regret, but he doesn't take it back, and honestly you were impressed on how far he's taking it, knowing he'd rather eat algae and worms than watch Mugen eat warmed raw meat.

"I'm kidding, of course you could still hang out with Mugen, I couldn't keep him away from you anyways." He cheers, picking Mugen up as he does.

Mugen, was oddly immune at the contact as he lets Mikey spin him around. 'they definitely hung out plenty while I was out of commission'

"Yeah! Your the best, Angel, and dontcha worry I'd be watching him, like a...like a hawk! Or a hungry shark watching a boat!"

"Thank you by the way, I really couldn't stress how grateful I am right now, to you and everyone."

"No problemo sweet thang, 'sides it's nice having another girl around the lair other than April, and it gets tiring seeing my brother's ugly mugs everyday, y'know?"

You laugh, as Mikey grins wider, he was glad he got you to laugh, you've been nothing but sad and worried ever since you woken up,

"You have a really pretty laugh."

Oops. That wasn't inner dialogue, wasn't it? By the look of your stunned silence, it wasn't. 'Nice going shell for brains.' Now he definitely looks like a doofus.

"I uh...Well, since my job here is done, I'll go mock my brothers while they're in the hashi, c'mon little dude, we've got some losers to prank, see ya later y/n!"

Mikey bolts away with Mugen following close behind.

'he may be a flirt by nature but he's a good guy.' you thought with a chuckle, you'd be lying though if you said he didn't make you blush up a storm, not used to compliments,

'oh geez, is it because I haven't had a boyfriend for so long that I'm starting to take every guy I come across with as a potential candidate, even mutants?' You internally try to rationalize your feelings as you enter 'your' room.

It was quite similar to the first room you found yourself in, with a bed, a low desk with a cushion and a dresser, though the only difference you notice was the smell, it didn't smell bad, more like the lack of thereof, you were kind of fond of the faint smell of green tea, shame not all guest rooms smell like it.

On the floor was three familiar duffle bags, which you quickly find out contained your clothes and some essentials. You decide that maybe a shower and a change of clothes would help you clear your head.

With that in mind you leave your room, with a towel and a change of clothes at hand, you enter the bathroom.

You turn to look in the mirror and wince, oh, now you understood why Mikey made the same face. The bruise was an ugly bouquet of yellow and purple flowers on the side of your face, though it looks more horrible than it feels, you sigh, no point in worrying on how you'd look at this point, as you pick at the edges of the gauze on your arm.

Dressed in clean clothes and fresh out the shower, you feel better, your arm and face still hurts, even though they're mostly numbed by painkillers. But at least you're clean, so that's progress. You rub your towel on your head trying your best to remove the excess liquid dripping from your hair, as you make your way back to your room you hear yelling in the dojo.

You curiously look towards the direction of the dojo, you contemplate checking out the source of the sounds, but you didn't get to make a decision, not for long anyways, as Mikey runs out, taunting someone by sticking his tongue out behind him as he carries Mugen by his side.

Mugen does his clicking laugh as he claps excitedly, at who? you soon find out as an angry white dusted covered Ralph, Donnie and Leo follow him in pursuit, yelling threats and promises on what they'll do when they catch him.

You smile, yeah, with them, maybe everything will be alright.

Chapter Text

The first couple days of your stay in the Hamato household was, to say the least, the most mind numbing thing you'd ever experienced in your life, not that there was a lack of things to do or lack of excitement, in fact, the boys seem to have gotten busy, they've been having hushed conversations and have taken shut meetings in the lab leaving you out of the loop, they also have been taking more frequent patrols and missions that would sometimes end with them returning with a few scratches here and there. You were worried something was up, but they didn't budge when you questioned, so in the end you were left to rely on your skills of observation.

You tried finding something, Anything to do, but when you showed up in Donnie's lab, he immediately insisted you to "take it easy" and to "come back when your arm is healed up." and promptly kicked you out, temporarily banning you from the lab. Though, he did allow you in, but only for check ups, and a change of bandages.

One night, they came back from a mission all grim faced, and a folder not so inconspicuously hidden behind Donnie, you assumed something had went wrong as they didn't answer your questions anyway.

The Hamato brothers have been acting strange around you, ever since that night, almost as if they were cautiously watching your every move, at first, you thought it was because they were not used to having guests, or humans in their quarters 24/7, which was understandable, you were a stranger as much as they are to you, but as time dragged on it was becoming obvious that that wasn't the case.

You would often find one of them with you or near you, which at first, you thought was a just coincidence, until you found Mikey loitering just outside the bathroom, he seems to be lost in thought but upon seeing the door open he cheerily grins at your direction.

"Mikey? Oh! Sorry, didn't mean to hog the bathroom." You say sidestepping to give way to the door.

"Wha? Oh no problem I wasn't gonna use it"

You subconsciously look around for clues on what he was doing, the bathroom was at the end of the hall with no other rooms nearby except the one you were staying in.

"So then uh, what're you doing here?"

"It's my turn to watch- ....I mean, I was looking for you!"

Oh, his turn to tail you, huh?

"Me? Okay you found me, so what's up?"

He freezes for a second, a flash of panic crosses his features, as if he didn't exactly think this far ahead in the conversation. But that can't be it, right? Note: Sarcasm.

"What I mean to say was, uhh... Donnie needs to see you!"

"Donnie? Isn't he on patrol with Leo? Did they come back early?"

He's now cringing, his eyes darting everywhere for Something , trying to cover his slip up. You raise an eyebrow suspiciously at him trying to hide a smile twitching on your lips, he's now visibly sweating, as his eyes darts at the door behind you.

"Um... no...? Y'know what? You're right! I was gonna use the bathroom, see ya!"

He hastily shuts himself inside the bathroom, leaving you looking confused but grinning widely at the closed bathroom door. You had suspected he was waiting for you to come out, but you decided to play along... you hope you'd last long enough at whatever it is they're doing.

They did say curiosity killed the cat, you hope that doesn't apply to you.

On the second week of your stay, you were getting restless, you were lying on your back on the couch with your legs hanging over the seat, as you watch Mugen clumsily copy action scenes from a cartoon Leo played for the both of you on the TV.

God, you were so bored.

You couldn't even take notes on Mugen's growth without Donnie getting up your case about resting.

You've noticed his rapid changes recently, his tottering on twos had gone into full on running, granted, he fell a few times but it doesn't seem to matter to him, you've even heard him babble words, though you weren't quite sure if it was words or coincidental string of babbling, and...has he grown a little taller?

You squint your eyes at him holding out your palm trying to frame his moving figure as if that would help you discern his height without a measuring apparatus.

Someone clearing their throat interrupts your imaginary ruler, your gaze falls sideways as you look at Donnie upside down.

"Hey Dee man, what's... down?" You chuckle at your own joke. you try, god, you need a new hobby.

The corners of Donatello's mouth twitch upwards in a phantom of a smile. You count that as a win.

"Bored?"

"Why, what makes you say that? I'm very entertained watching captain Watchamacallhim fight." You lather the sarcasm heavily, waving a careless hand at the direction of the TV screen.

He smiles wryly as looks at Mugen then back to you, the cogs of his mind rapidly turning,

"If you like... you and Mugen could watch us train? That is... if you're interested. " His eyes directly trained on Mugen.

"Wait, you're not pulling my leg, are you?" You sit up more appropriately to see whether he was just playing a cruel joke at your expense.

He shrugs, watching Mugen imitate punching an invisible enemy, as the hero in the movie does the same.

"I don't see why not, besides you look like you're about to lose another brain cell watching Leo's old cartoons. "

"Oh thank you, thank you, I owe you one Donnie!" Anything is better than doing nothing at this rate, and...they're ninjas, watching them fight is cool. This is probably the only action you'll see during your stay here.

Mugen chirps at you questioningly, wondering what got you so excited.

"C'mon Mugen we're gonna watch some real ninjas train!"

He churrs happily. You weren't sure if he understands or he's just happy you seem happy. You pick him up as he holds on to your shirt.

Donatello smiles at your enthusiasm, an idea forms in your mind, it's a long shot but....

"Maybe..." He glances suspiciously at the saccharine change of your tone, "If I could do some work in the lab I wouldn't lose a brain cell in fact-"

"Still no. Until that arm is out of its wraps, you're not researching anything."

Eh. Worth the try.

So here you sat crossed legged, on the mats of the dojo as you watch them spar from the sidelines,

Mugen had taken it upon himself to fight a small dummy, the dummy in question was actually two sizes bigger than its tiny mutant opponent, as Mugen attempts to copy the moves the guys were pulling off with practiced ease, while you silently watch, mesmerized by how their large frames move in a blur with speed and fluidity you only see in dancers.

Focusing on their fighting styles, you started strategizing who would win against who, each of them had their own strengths and weaknesses if played right could win against the other.

As you predicted Mikey's wild card way of attacking was no match against Leo's calm and precise techniques and soon had taken the mat beside you, you give him a pat on the arm to consolidate, he gives you a grin in return. Donnie, on the other hand, had obviously over calculated his attacks to even actually attack and didn't stand a chance against Ralph's relentless and brutal hits and soon enough, like Mikey, he too had to sit and watch the next battle commence.

Leo and Ralph exchanged bows, as soon as they did Ralph made the first move, charging at Leo with his sais leaving the blue clad terrapin on defense, using his katana to block the attack, he swings it upwards forcing Ralph to drop his stance and back away before Leo could deliver a kick to his side.

You were enjoying seeing them spar more than you had expected, it was dangerous, yet you know it was safe, your eyes seem to follow every movement, every action, as if it was moving in slow motion, lost in thought, you didn't expect a stray weapon to come flying your way, Donnie pulls you to him as the projectile zooms past where your head was a few seconds ago, not even batting an eye, they're probably use to flying weapons in the dojo. You let out a sigh of relief, and decided to pay more attention to the battle, giving Donnie a thankful thumbs up, Leo had obviously noticed the incident.

Leo was down as Ralph had taken his sword, in all the tussle he thinks fast and pulls a mat near him shoving it in Ralph's direction, distracted, Ralph takes a step back as Leo delivers a kick, using the mat he wraps it over Ralph's head forcing him down and ending the match.

Leonardo stops the match, much to Ralph's annoyance.

"Hey! What gives? I didn't know we could use things in the dojo!"

He ignores Ralph's protests as his gaze zeroes on you.

Uh. Oh.

"What are you doing here?"

You squirm uneasily, as if he caught you with your hand on the proverbial cookie jar. Though, there really wasn't any reason for you to feel guilty Donnie DID invite you....

"Watching you guys train?"

He pinches the space between his eyes as if a headache was coming along, then he sighs.

"Sorry y/n, but you can't hang around here while we train." looking at you apologetically, the glance at your injured arm and slightly bruised face doesn't go unnoticed.

"What? Oh not you too!" You protested, staring at him incredulously.

"It's dangerous here, Ralph's sai could've poked your eye out. "

Point taken, so maybe you could stay behind one of the dummies next time.

"But it didn't! Donnie pulled me just in time."

"What if he wasn't there?"

"Cut it out Leo, she was bored out of her mind, I invited her." You look at Donatello, a bit surprised.

"Yeah, cut Angel some slack." Mikey pipes up by your left.

He turns his strict eyes on his brothers which promptly shuts them up.

"You were supposed to keep her out of any forms of fighting, it's bad enough any stress would trigger-" he catches himself.

"...would slow down her healing process. You said so yourself, Don."

Donatello opens his mouth, probably to counterargue but a conflicted look flashes just a second on his face before he shuts his mouth.You weren't about to watch someone take the blame for you, it wasn't reasonable to get worked up over you watching them spar, and you were sure nothing bad really could've happened since you were technically between two mutant ninjas.

You stand up, as you try to get as close as you can to match Leonardo's height, which really wasn't much, as you had intended,

"I have a cut on my arm and look, I. can. move. it, "

You say poking a finger at his plastron, it honestly doesn't hurt when you move it, the bandages were just to keep the wound clean and healing at this rate.

"It isn't like I broke the damn thing, Im a grown woman, and I'm well versed in Biology and medicine, a little spar wouldn't stress me out. I understand you guys are doing this for my sake and I'm grateful, but I can't keep living like this until the cut heals up–

"I'm sorry Y/n, I really am, but if it's possible to keep you from getting hurt, I'd rather take it, you can't stay here when we spar." A tone of finality. It annoys you that he dismisses everything you've just said.

Leonardo gives Donatello a look, they seem to exchange a silent message as Donnie stands up putting a careful hand on your shoulder trying to steer you away, as you silently fume, watching Leo calmly turn his back to his sparring.

You have to leave this place.

"Okay okay, c'mon y/n, maybe we can play some video games, how about we play Street Racer, yeah?"

"Hey! That's our thing!" Mikey protests, standing up as well, intending to follow you both.

"Who said it was your thing?" Donnie give his younger brother a cheeky grin.

This is a trap.

"I- We played it first so it's our thing, right Angelcakes?...Angel?"

You didn't hear them.

They're slowly trapping you. You must escape.

"What? O-oh... yeah. Right." You say distractedly as Mikey sticks his tongue out at Donnie. They both escort you out the dojo.

What was that?

You groan, sitting on the top of your bed watching a rerun of some sappy movie on an old smart phone April lent you, Mikey and Donnie soon had to return back to the dojo.

Mugen seems to share your predicament, as he too seemed like he was itching to throw up another disappearing act, You had to give him credit though, the tiny mutant had been nothing but well behaved during your recovery often walking near you or would follow the guys everywhere, despite having the freedom in wandering in places you were banned from, remaining to suffer in boredom with you.

You sigh, giving him a pat on the head.

"You and me both, c'mon Mugen, let's get something to eat, and then maybe we could find something to do around here. "

He sullenly nods, as you both make your way to the kitchen, you rummage through the cupboards that April had thankfully stocked up with the help of the boys, filled up with groceries that would suit yours and Mugen's palate, pizza is great but when it becomes an everyday staple you start feeling a bit sick of it.

You mildly wonder how the guys are able to stomach it day after day, you decided to prepare food for everyone, you may be a little salty about the whole situation, but you were still grateful for everything they've done for you....aaaand maybe you could convince them to lift the ban with the lab at least, with the help of some good food to change their minds?

Any distraction is welcomed at this rate after those strange thoughts you had at the dojo.

With a determined nod you get to work, listing the ingredients and readying the pots and pans, you weren't a chef but you could make a decent meal at the veryleast, the result of having to live alone for a decade with a tight budget.

You look up and see at the top shelf, a can of what you needed to prepare your meal, you stretch out your good arm to reach it but your fingers barely brush the side of the can, with a huff, you drag a small stool to help you, you test the stool when it barely wobbled you slowly climb up taking care to grab on the shelf for balance, a small 'aha!' indicates you successfully obtained the can.

"What the hell are ya doing?!"

Startled , you quickly turn around towards the source of the voice, unfortunately the stool wasn't wide enough for such an action and your foot slips.

Everything seems to go in slow motion.

You hear Mugen squeak in alarm, as the stool topples over, you let go of the can to try and find purchase on anything to stop your fall.

The can falls with a dull clang.

...

"Oi, how long are ya gonna close your eyes? you're heavy"

You open your eyes, you found yourself staring up at a stern pair of green eyes, you didnt notice you had your hand on a death grip on his arm, you make a small startled noise at the back at your throat as you struggle to get down, Ralph seems to get the idea and slowly puts you down, you scramble trying to stand up. He hands you the dented can, which you tentatively take.

Mugen, immediately jumps off his seat, running out the door, 'he's probably gonna call Donnie' it became a sort of habit for Mugen whenever he senses you felt any discomfort or dizziness to go and drag Donnie from whatever it is he's been doing to 'treat' you. Most of the time it was just giving you a painkiller, or a play pretend of being treated, much to your embarrassment, but it seems to appease Mugen so Donatello had decided to humor him.

"I... uhh... ."

Nice start. Keep going, your mind snides. Your relationship with the turtle in red had been...to say the least, civil, he would often answer you in short, clipped answers or would oftentimes avoid you, in short. It wasn't that great as you had hoped it would be.

"Ya really shouldn't be climbing where you could fall, princess.

"Sorry, I was just getting a can of-"

"A can?" His gaze goes to the dented can in your hands then back to the top shelves, he scowls," You should've called me for it! Or-or Leo, heck Mikey or Donnie!"

You frown, "I don't need to call you or anyone for a can, Ralph, that's just inconvenient for everyone."

"Inconvenient? What's inconvenient is you'd end up with a concussion again at this rate, sheesh you really bring a lotta trouble."

There it was again. The condescending tone he uses everytime he talks to you. You weren't sure why you felt so annoyed, you usually brush it off, because that's just the way he talks towards you, but for some reason your patience today was wearing thin, maybe because you've been cooped up like a prisoner for days and the arguement with Leo earlier still fresh in your mind, or probably because you've had enough of the guys treating you like a porcelain doll.

"I don't really understand why you're getting so worked up about this. Besides, wouldn't have fallen if you hadn't yelled, and don't call me princess, nicknames are Mikey's thing" you say in a clipped tone turning your back on him and walking to where the can opener was. Okay, maybe you said the last part out of pettiness, but he was getting under your skin. Hoping he'll leave you alone, you continue what you were doing trying your best to give him the silent treatment.

"Wha- my fault?? oh okay I see how this goes, well, sorry to say but Princess isn't a nickname it's your title." you grip the can opener a little tighter. Seeing your body tense up, Ralph doesn't relent.

"You've been nothing but a problem since day one, you've been spoiled rotten, and you always caused trouble bringing your chemical grade chihuahua with you." He says ticking off each one with his fingers,

His words was like a slap to the face, it stung, because you know it was true, the reason you didn't want them babying you was due to the fact that you were a burden to them, you understood your situation quite well, but being told that outright hurt, and you wanted to hurt back. Your anger bubbles up, You snap.

"What do you want, Ralph? Because for the life of me, I know I didn't ask for all the bullshit I've experienced for the last week!"

"Oh really? 'Cause I'm sure you've enjoyed all the attention my brothers have been showering you with, oh, and a simple "thank you" would've been better by the way."

Oh...he didn't just-

"Well THANK YOU, you insufferable, self-obsessed ass." The can opener you've been gripping goes flying towards Ralph with the agility and accuracy you didn't know you possessed.

His eyes widen in surprise, it was only for a second, with a quick flick of his sai he bats the flying kitchen tool away, it hits the sink with a loud clatter.

"YOU'RE WELCOME, YOUR HIGHNESS. "

There was the telltale signs of your eyes pricking with unshed tears and your throat clogging up with all your emotions rushing out of you, but you wont allow yourself to cry. You hate it. You hate your situation. You HATE him. a voice in your mind hisses.

"Ralph? Y/n? What's with all the shouting?"

You see in the doorway Donnie was holding Mugen's hand, he was looking back and forth between you and Ralph, trying to piece out the situation. Behind him, you could see Leo and Mikey had followed to see the what all the commotion was about, giving you and Ralph equally concerned looks.

Mugen churrs at you softly, he subconsciously steps closer to Donnie, at the sight of him looking scared of you seems to cool your anger as it's immediately replaced by shame.

"Why don't you ask her." Ralph says on his way out the door, He's held back by the shoulder by Leo, but he shrugs him off, "Not in the mood for your lectures, Leo" he gives Mikey a glare as he goes.

"What did I do?" Mikey asks his brothers to which they shrug and turn to you in question, you hadn't moved from your spot as you attempt to quell your boiling temper by breathing through your nose.

In. Out. In. Out.

'Run, too many.'

"Y/n?" Donnie approaches you like how he'd approach a wounded cornered animal.

"It's nothing-"

"What happened?" Leo looks you over, you couldn't look him in the eye, not when you feel so exposed, you feel too vulnerable under his gaze.

"I said it was nothing!"You growl, They all take a cautionary step back, looking at you as if seeing a wild creature, it wasn't fair on their part, they've been nothing but kind to you since they took you in, but for some reason your emotions seem to be all over the place.

'Run!'

"Sorry-I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me, I- I gotta go..."

They don't stop you as you flee back into your room, as soon as the door slams shut you slowly sink down on the floor, blood pounding in your ears, you held your head in your hands, ' What's wrong with me?'

'I Hate him. I hate Raphael.'

You blink. Your mind suddenly a lot clearer.

'No...I don't.' Despite your interaction earlier, a rational part of you knows you started it. You knew he had a short temper but you took it and ran a mile with it.

'Hate. Hate hate him' What's going on?

'I don't!'

'I. Hate. himmm.'The thought hisses at you more clearly.

"No. I DONT." This time you're standing up, wildly looking around your room for the culprit of the thoughts you've been hearing, 'am I going crazy?'

Maybe that female ninja had hit you too hard on the head and you're having hallucinations? Maybe you must've inhaled some mutagen and now you're talking to someone in your head. 'Or maybe you just hate Ralphael-'

"SHUT UP!"

A knock.

Your gaze snaps to the door, as you jump away, startling at the sound.

The door opens as Leo cautiously steps inside,

"Y/n, who're you talking to?" Whatever he was going to say gets stuck in his throat as he looks alarmed upon seeing you.

" Y/n? Hey, hey, It's just me, Leo." He holds his hands up in a pacifying manner, slowly taking a step towards you as if doing anything sudden might trigger you into attacking.

Your gaze flicks towards the door behind him, then back to him, the action does not go lost upon the blue clad terrapin as he suddenly looks scared, not of you, FOR you. He inches a bit to his right trying to block the only exit of your room, You tense up.

You suddenly felt hyper aware of everything, how Leo was watching your movements his breathing calm but his stance a touch defensive.

'Leonardo...he's a friend. He won't hurt me'

'He will.'

'He WON'T'

You hadn't noticed you've taken up a fighting stance despite knowing you really weren't in danger, you slowly unclench your fists, willing your body into something more passive.

"That's it... see? Everything's going to be okay, I'll explain everything, just... just calm down and we'll talk about it. Sounds like plan?"

You look down at your shaking hands, horrified at what you were about to do, even though you knew he was more than capable in defending himself, you didn't to actually want fight him.

He takes more steps until he was merely a foot away from you.

"Leo, what's wrong with me?"

You were shaking, from the fear or the adrenaline, you couldn't distinguish it anymore, you didn't trust yourself.

He lifts a hand towards you, you unintentionally flinch, he sighs, and pulls you into him, you don't resist, instead you allow yourself to be cocooned in his frame, like a safety blanket, you take deep breath and smell green tea, and a musk that you could only describe as Leo as he gently pats your hair, until your trembling stops.

"Shhh shhh, it's okay, I got you, nothing's wrong with you, I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."

"Then ...what's happening to me?"

"It's your instincts, they're not stable... yet." he says before trailing off.

You look up at him, furrowing your brows, prompting him to explain.

He looks down at you, now that you've calmed down, he notices how you were still wrapped up in his arms and how your warmth was seeping into his skin, raising goosebumps, how he could feel the slow rise and fall of your chest- he blushes. He gives you a nod, as he quickly but gently pries himself off, you're suddenly aware of how odd this might've looked if someone had walk in or even passed by, if your face wasn't already red from crying you'd probably be right now, but you couldn't help but miss his warmth, so you wrap your arms protectively around yourself to compensate as you both awkwardly shuffle. Leo was the one who breaks the ice by clearing his throat,

"I don't remember the exact terms Donnie used, but we found some files at the lab, while digging around we found a file about you and Mugen, it's basically because you're developing a motherly instinct towards Mugen "

A file? They were experimenting on you? How? When??

You give him a confused look, not quite sure what he means by that, as he drags a weary hand down his face,

"Experimenting on me!? I never- but I didn't? No that can't be right, I never agreed to any experimentation!" Confusion. Were you drugged? Did they put something in the food??

"C'mon Donnie, can explain this better." Gesturing you to follow him.

"Wait!"

He glances at you with a raised brow, as you fidget feeling embarrassed all of the sudden.

"Can you not tell the guys about this?"

"This?" His confusion immediately morphs into kind understanding, "I won't. "

You give him a grateful smile. You already broke down in front of Leonardo twice and that's probably why he thinks you're fragile, you didn't need others doing the same.

You slightly wince at the memory. Pathetic the voice snides, you couldn't help but agree.

You both arrive in the lab just in time to see Donatello typing away on the computer while Mugen sat on the medical table beside him, he gives you both a double take.

"Y/n? Leo? Umm you guys need something?"

Leo nods.

"Tell her, she needs to know."

"What?"He pauses from his typing to look at Leo as if he suddenly grew a second head.

"It's happening, and it's better she's prepared for what's going on."

Donatello drags a weary hand down his face.

"Right. Okay...Y/n?" He gestures at an empty stool, you take a seat, as Donnie pulls out the folder you saw the night before they all started guarding you in shifts.

"You might wanna see this."

Chapter Text

"You might wanna see this."

You tentatively take the offered folder, you give him a look as he urges you to proceed. Upon opening you slowly scan the text, reading it aloud.

"Experiment M.O.M. ...?" He must have read the confusion on your face, as he elaborates, while you continue reading.

"Eh, it stands for Mutant Obedience Manipulation, MOM for short, basically it was a project dedicated in making loyal super mutants with disregard for their safety except their handlers' and their orders."

"What does that have to do with me?"He and Leo share a look of uncertainty before looking at you the same way.

"Well, to put it shortly, Everything."

You open your mouth to ask, but he stops you before you could utter a word.

"Hold on lemme explain, Well uhh.. where do I start?"

"Probably from the top." Leo interjects, as Donnie nods.

"Right. Okay, it seems Baxter had gotten a hold of some mutagen and was using the lab as a coverup do do his psychotic experiments, he's smart, in a crazy way, of course, he isn't exactly a biology kinda guy, so he hired a bunch of scientists to do the work for him," guess that's where you'd come in, "They planned to make super mutant soldiers which would follow any orders given to them without fear of their own lives, kinda like robots," He gives Mugen a side glance, " and they succeeded... partially."

You look at Mugen as well, he swings his feet idly listening to Donnie, upon seeing he has your attention he raises his arms at you, asking to be picked up, you do. Now he patiently sits at your lap, making calm purring noises, huddling in your form. Leo and Donnie watches the whole interaction in silence, you look at them questioningly.

"What?"

Donnie clears his throat.

"You see, the first person he," he gestures to Mugen, " was was supposed to see was Baxter first, he probably had opened his eyes in the wrong time and saw you first instead."

Your brows pinch together in confusion but continue letting Donnie explain further.

"Y'know why baby ducklings or chicks recognize their parents?"

You nod, " Familial imprint, right?"

"Correct. As soon as Mugen saw you he immediately made a bond to you, Baxter wanted to get you on their side but wanted to confirm the parental bond before he did anything rash, so they got one of the female scientists to act mean to you on a frequent basis while Mugen was around..."

Your hand goes to try and cover your mouth as you emit an audible loud gasp. You thought she was just mean because Baxter gave you special treatment and haven't thought much about her attitude, because, hey, we all have that one person at work we couldn't see eye to eye with, but you didn't want her dead, knowing her death wasn't an accident made it worse!

Seeing the horrified look on your face, he softens, "look, it's not your fault it's Baxter's."

"But-"

"No buts. it's time you have to stop blaming yourself y/n. Baxter killed her, we have to stop him before he kills many more." Leo puts a gentle hand on your shoulder. The action doesn't go unnoticed by Donatello as his eyes quickly flick towards yours and Leo's faces.

"Yeah, you're right. We have to take him down."You say with determination.

A flash of conflict passes through his eyes before he gives you a slow nod, he steps back and goes back to leaning on the wall, saying nothing more, as if lost in thought.

You turn to face Donnie, as if caught staring he stutters , "S-so as you had witnessed, ehem, Mugen had immediately thought of her as a threat to your wellbeing and ... protected you the only way he knew how. He's still technically a child and would easily react upon instinct."

Mugen seems to understand what Donnie said because he's gone quiet, looking at you with big black eyes, silently asking if he'd done a bad thing. You shake your head, and exhale a small sigh, the corners of your mouth turning up to a small smile, which you hope wasn't a grimace.

"Okay, I get that, but why am I also affected? I'm human."

"Yeah... about that we didn't exactly had enough time to look for more info before we got ambushed by foot soldiers, but we found was just some recent documents, and the gist of it was centered on you. The data on that folder shown your uh ... changes, it seems Baxter knew something going on about you that we don't."

You knew that slimeball was up to something, but the fact that you actually benefited during your employment far more than the average Joe in the lab should've raised some alarms in your mind, so in other words you should've read the fine print.You internally scold yourself.

"About the succeeding partially, what did you mean?"

"Well...," he glances at Mugen for the third time this conversation, as if holding something back from you, your eyebrows pinch together in worry,

"Okay Donnie, no offense but you've been glancing at Mugen like he's going to explode any minute, and it's starting to get to me." He snaps his gaze back to you holding his hands up in surrender, while Leo pinches the area between his eyes.

"To break it to you slowly, he's emitting a very subtle mutagen excretion that is almost similar to pheromones, except pheromones don't exactly change the whole mind framework of what you think. We caught on too late, it doesn't affect mutants but... it seems rather effective on it's human 'mother'."

You almost drop Mugen, if only you weren't sitting down and frozen still in shock, your mind whirring so fast to catch up with your thoughts.

"Hold on, I've been studying him for weeks! I haven't detected any secretions or poisonous glands on him except for his fangs, how is that possible?"

"Kinda hard to find something when you don't know what you're looking for."

He has a point.

" So what does it exactly do?"

"Well, in short eh... it makes you all motherly, as motherly as lionesses are."

'So this chemical makes me doted on him?'

'Am I only influenced to keep him safe?'

'Is everything I have done so far, the chemical's doing?'

A second passes.

"You- you mean to say, Mugen has been using me the whole time???"

Mugen startles at the accusation and hisses at Donnie.

Donatello's eyes widen in surprise as he immediately takes it back, holding his hands out waving them, to further emphasize on how wrong that actually is.

"What? No! Nono no no, you got that wrong, basically it's not like a parasitic relationship! It's more like..like mutualism!"

You pause.

"What?"

"Y'know, mutualism? The relationship wherein both organisms benefit from each other-"

"I know what mutualism is, Donnie. I'm a biology major."

"Sorry, it's a habit to explain to my brothers."

"Hey! back to the main topic, guys." Leo protests from the side.

Donnie gives him a wry grin,

"Right....I get how I benefit Mugen but how does he benefit me? I mean no offense, I like the little guy but he doesn't exactly provide me food or protection he's just a baby-"

"Yet. He's not capable of providing efficient protection yet, and yes, he's still at his stages of infancy, but he's been growing at an alarmingly fast pace, I still don't quite understand why his growth has been speeding up as of late...."

You nod, so it wasn't just your imagination, Mugen has been growing.

"And... if you read article 4 page 30 of this folder here, you'll see your profile," like an obedient student, you turn the pages, listening attentively as you go, "They have your whole life collected in those pages,"

He was right, it was almost as creepy as having the whole lab know about you without your knowledge, it sends a disgusting sense of vulnerability, like standing in front of a live theater show in only your naked.

"Family records, medical history, education and everything else, how did they get this!? This is illegal!"

"There's nothing really legal about Baxter, Y/n. "

Leonardo's right, and how they got it wasn't really the main issue, what are they going to do with that information while you're on the run?

"But why did it only start showing effects now? Why not the first few months I had with Mugen?"

They both exchange looks, a silent conversation seems to pass through them, with Donnie looking more weary with each passing second.

"Well uh... we think it's because you're adapting to company."

"What?" You seem to be fond of that word tonight .

"The more mutants you hang out with, the more mutant-like the chemicals make you think you are to help you survive."

You sputter, trying to come up with reasons how no chemical can do that, before remembering you weren't dealing with a normal chemical.

"We were thinking of separating you with Mugen and maybe with less exposure, your body will return back to its original state, but it seems to have a very negative impact between you two."

You frown, for some reason the thought doesn't sit well with you, as you hold your tongue from lashing at unsuspecting terrapin, and wait for him to continue.

"You see, since you're not exactly mutant, so barely affects you, Mugen on the other hand, feels the brunt of the effects, as he has higher chances of perishing due to separation anxiety or depression. It only lasts until adolescence. That's what we got so far."

You look down on Mugen he has curled up in your lap sleeping, a glance at the clock on the wall tells you it's already dawn.

You slowly pat the smooth scales of his head, you couldn't abandon him, even if it risks your humanity. You made your decision in the lab, so you're going to stick with it.Then something clicks in your mind.

"Wait, is that why you guys were taking turns in watching me? To take notes??"

They visibly wince, "Y-you noticed?" Donnie says in a small voice as Leo drags a hand down his face.

" You guys weren't exactly being stealthy about it. You all are great and all that, but I need to breathe."

Leo scratches the back of his head, "look, y/n, we're really sorry about invading your space like that, it wasn't our intention."

"Technically, we just needed to observe and get some info if anything strange happens to you," Leonardo stiffens, "Other than your fight with Ralph, nothing really happened, right?"

You feel a little bad about hiding your symptoms just to save face, so you decided to come clean. Gathering yourself,

You and Leo meet gazes,

"Yeah, something might've.."
"Nope, nothing happened. "
you both say at the same time, respectively.

Donatello raises a brow his mouth slightly agape in question.

You both backtrack,
"What? I mean, there might've been a little-" ,
"there is nothing to be worried about just -"

You stop, staring at Leo who looks at you in question as well, oh. Oh. He's actually helping you get away from telling what happened earlier. That's really sweet of him despite that the information could be a crucial thing for Donatello to know, he still kept his word.

You smile at Leonardo and shook your head, you felt a little warm inside for some reason.

Donatello crosses his arms at the both of you.

"I'm starting to think you guys are hiding something from me."

"No, it's just a little embarrassing for me.... " You
explain, but excluding the parts where your your face was all tear streaked and blotchy and was too busy smudging it on Leo's plastron , yeah, he doesn't need to know that, in fact, may it be forever be forgotten.

Donatello rubs his chin, deep in thought.

"Fascinating, I mean, not so fascinating since you went all crazy, it's just the actual concept of the chemical in your blood stream seems to only affect your brain. Do you mind if I ask you a few more questions before you go?" You give him an unamused face, before sighing then eventually giving in.

This is going to be a long long night.

After a lot of questioning and answers from you, Donatello finally lets you go back to your room,

Leonardo decides to escort you but Donatello stops him before he could,

"Leo, mind if we talk?"

Leonardo gestures you to go ahead as you shrug carrying a sleeping Mugen as you go, as the door clicks shut,

"So, what was that all about?"

Leonardo furrows his brows in confusion,

"I just think it was best for her to know, she was going to find out anyway and it's probably better if she knew it from us. How's her arm by the way?"

Donatello nods,

"Eh, a little pinkish but nothing she couldn't handle, Mugen's mutagen has been doing some speedy work on her. Give it another week and she can take it off the bandages."

Leonardo nods, "Okay, I'll inform April, she'll be moving in by then."

"What? So soon??" Leonardo gives the tall terrapin a confused look, "I mean, she could still need check ups and we need to see if there's really a big side effect with her exposure to Mugen-"

"All the more reason to integrate her back in human society, than here in the sewers with us, we can't just watch her slowly become feral...besides she can always come to visit, like April and Casey."

A conflicted look passes through Donatello eyes, he probably wouldn't admit it out loud right now, but he'd hate to see you leave, he'd gone and accustomed himself with your presence in the lair, it was a nice change to talk about complex stuff without having to "Dumb it down" and nerd about xenobiotics or gene polymorphism. In other words, he'd miss you.

Donatello clears his throat, before looking back at Leonardo, "Yeah, I'll keep you posted."

Leo gives him a pat on the shoulder before turning around to head off to bed himself, "Thanks Donnie."

Alone in his lab he glances back at his computer then to your files sitting on his desk among the clutter. The soft light of the computers showing a human diagram not far from your physique, and a smaller one depicting Mugen lazily spinning with a bunch of charts and graphs beside it.

He drags a coffee mug towards him, taking a loud sip before sitting down, he has a long night to go.

You couldn't sleep, it's been 3 hours since you've been listlessly tossing and turning in your bed, careful not to wake Mugen up, you slowly get up, upon making it out of your bed without so much as a chirp of protest from the tyke, you crept towards the kitchen, glancing at the clock, it was a quarter before noon, you've gone and followed the Hamato family's nocturnal nature, since you were basically underground, there really wasn't a way to tell how much daylight has passed anyways.

Your arguement with Ralph has been eating at your mind ever since you've finally cleared your head, you glance at the direction of his door thinking about apologizing immediately, but decided against it, 'he's probably asleep as well and might not take kindly to being woken up.'

'Coward.'

You make a mental note to ignore everything that voice in your head says.

You fix yourself a cup of warm tea, hoping to soothe your anxious thoughts from keeping you up and finally drown them to give you some shuteye.

A clatter in the living room makes you spill your tea, letting out a quiet hiss as you shake your slightly scalded hand, you take a peek to see Ralphael very much awake and had taken a spot on the couch au contrair to your previous thought,

'This is your chance y/n, go on and apologize.'

You set down your cup,

'On second thought, maybe later?'

'No, no, just be the bigger person and apologize.'

You hesitate by the door, feeling jittery more than before, watching him as he watches TV. You take a deep breath mustering up your courage, you step a little further before immediately deflating and turning around to sneak back into your room.

'What if he hates me? Or he'll just ignore me or worse laugh at my attempt of making peace? It's too much of a risk.'

You think to yourself, as you slowly tip toe, you barely make it out from the kitchen,

"Y'know... I could hear ya, right?" A gruff, but familiar voice calls out from the couch.

You trip, immediately catching yourself, you could feel the telltale prickle of heat crawling on your neck as you slowly turn around to face him, he was still looking at the TV, if it weren't for the tension on the atmosphere you would've thought you've imagined him calling you out.

No way out, you worry your lip, deciding to go ahead with it, " Um Ralph, I-"

"I'm sorry. " he says quietly, but it was loud enough for you to make you shut trap the apology on your lips, caught off guard, you stand there mouth hanging, in a little surprised 'o'.

Ralph continues, "about the stuff I said in the kitchen... I didn't mean it. I'm a dumbass, and let my temper get to me, and I might've gotten a little...." he mumbles the last part.

"What?" Was all you could say dumbly.

He shuts the TV off, walking towards you until he was only a several feet away from you.

"I'm apologizing, pri-" he stops himself. Right. You probably hate that nickname now. He groans, muttering curses at himself. 'Way to go Ralph, apology with a side of insult will get you back to her good graces.' He looks at your very stunned and confused face, feeling the shame crawling on his skin he makes an attempt to go to his room and hide.

"Right, whatever, that's all I wanted t'say, night."

The more fact that he's apologizing first was a surprise a big deal in itself, you never would've pegged his tough guy nature to do so (stereotyping, yes but what did you expect from a guy who never cracked a smile in your direction from the past 2 weeks?)

Snapping out of your shock, you quickly turn around grabbing his arm in an attempt to stop him, it does, as he glances at your small hand on his arm, then back at you,

Feeling like you've overstepped, you drop your hand.

"I-I'm sorry too." You say wringing your wrist, "I also said things I didn't mean and ...I never got to thank you." You say, looking at him the red mask making his emerald green eyes stand out in the low light, not unlike the first time you've seen him in the alley.

"Thank me?" He says with a hint of bewilderment in his tone.

"Yeah. If you hadn't showed up in the alley before who knows what could've happened to me and Mugen."

If he'd shown up a moment too late or not at all, you could've been just another murder case in an alley in New York, only to be forgotten as soon as the next one shows up.

"So we're both sorry, what now?"

"Maybe, we can start all over again?" You say, extending your hand out to shake, he thinks for a moment tapping his chin in thought. You look at him hopefully.

"No." He says directly, making you frown, dropping your hand.

"No?"

You were about to go back to you room dejectedly before he grins at you, "Not unless you make whatever it was you were planning to make, before this dumbass ruined it, deal?" He holds out his hand.

You couldn't help but smile, "deal." You shake on it.

"Well well, what's this? A deal? Feelings, without moi? Ralph, you break my heart, bro" Mikey saunters in holding a pizza slice and box of it on the other as he drapes his weight on Raphael

"I'm about to break something else entirely if you don't get off." Mikey tosses you a wink, before letting out a burp at Ralph's face. Classy.

"MIKEY"

Raphael doesn't waste time in making a disgusted face before Mikey could make his escape Ralph twists his arm as he pins his knee on his brother on the back.

"Uncle! Uncle!! Y/n help!"

You chuckle at their shenanigans, you were about to rescue Mikey from Ralph's noogie warpath, before a loud clatter and alarmed chirping in your room was heard.

'Mugen!' He must've woken up from all the noise and panicked when he didn't see you.

You rush back to your room, leaving Mikey and Ralph in the livingroom, you open the door flicking on the light bathing the room in a soft glow, as you saw Mugen on the floor tangled in sheets, making clicking whimpering noises.

You coo at him, slowly untangling him from the sheets, he's knocked the lamp down in panic trying to get out of bed to look for you.

"Shhh shh, it's okay, I'm here now, I'm not going anywhere," carrying him like how your parents did when you had a nightmare as a kid. Until the whimpers turned into soft hiccups, sometimes you forget he's just a baby despite being an intelligent mutant the size of a human toddler.

You see Ralph and Mikey out the door weapons at ready for any sign of danger, they lower their stances upon just seeing you and a hiccup-sobbing Mugen.

"Is he...crying?" Ralph nudges an elbow at Mikey telling him to shut up.

"No, he's sweating through his eyes, state the obvious Mikey." Mikey sticks his tongue out at Ralph.

"That's strange, he's never cried before, not even when Baxter experimented on him," you continue cooing trying to soothe a clearly shaken Mugen.

"Maybe he's just hungry?" Mikey says patting his head.

That's how you're back again in the kitchen, this time preparing Mugen's meal, as he sits on Ralph's lap still hiccupping, the poor thing hasn't taken his eyes off you the entire time. Mikey had gone to get Donatello hoping he'd have answers.

You set the meal in front of Mugen, he looks at the meal, before pushing it away and making grabby hands at you, you sigh as you pluck him off a confused Ralph.

"Not hungry then, nightmare?" He says scratching his head.

You frown, he hasn't had a nightmare even though he'd face so many thing that would've traumatized a normal kid or maybe it was a late reaction? A scary movie? You knew you shouldn't have let him watch that stupid space junk.

Donatello sleepily stumbles in after being pushed by Mikey,

"C'mon Dee, the little dude, needs your sprinkle of science-y knowledge. "

"Wha," he yawns, "does he need?"

He looks at you, then to the tear streaked tot in your arms.

"Is he crying?"

"No, he's doing a water magic trick through his eyes." Donnie shoots Ralph an unamused look.

"Maybe he's hungry?"

"That's what I said!" Mikey pipes up. You shake your head, pointing your chin at the untouched bowl.

" In pain?"

You all exchange worried looks.

"Alright, into the lab you go."

That is how you found Mugen hooked up in various machinery, again.

He wouldn't let go of you, so you had no choice but to carry him, while Donnie runs his tests, by now Mugen had quieted, as you use the sleeves of your shirt to dry his tears.

The printer beeps as a long sheet of paper prints out the results, he reads it 'hmm'-ing all the way.

"So what's the verdict, doc?" You joke, trying to lighten the mood.

"No anomalies on his health." He says eyes scrolling down the long sheet of paper.

You breathe a sigh of relief.

"So what's wrong?" You worriedly look down in your arms brushing his little plump cheeks, Mugen clicks, chirping trying to mumble words you couldn't understand.

You look at the guys hoping that they actually share some kind of mutant language. They shrug, helplessly looking at one another.

"Sorry bud, I don't understand..." you sigh, "who understands mutant baby talk anyways?" You say outloud to no one in particular.

"OH! OH! maybe master Splinter could help!" Mikey practically yells making you all look at him in surprise curiosity.

"Master Splinter? Mikey, now's not really the time for your hair brained theories." Ralph says while giving his brother a deadpan look.

"Of course, master Splinter!" You all turn to Donatello in bewilderment.

"You buy his idea?" Ralph says jerking his thumb at Mikey's direction, to which Mikey responds with a dirty look at his brother in red.

"No no, you guys dont get it, Master Splinter. Y'know? Our father who raised us ever since we were baby mutant turtles??"

If you could, you'd slap your forehead right now, 'of course the answer was staring right at me past a long pointy furry nose the whole time.'

You waste no time piling in front of master Splinter's door, you all stand there, waiting, waiting...

"So... why is nobody knocking?" You say as you shift Mugen in your arms.

"Er... Master Splinter is currently in meditation so the practical solution would be to wait for him until he's done."

"Yeah, what he said, dudette "

You turn to look at Ralph, he crosses his arms looking to the side, "What? I ain't knocking, I just got pummeled in this morning's training. "

You frown, "You're supposed to be ninjas."

"We are it's just-"

"You're going to poke the guy, who taught us the art."

"Do no disturbance of my peace unless it is an emergency, or you're looking for a one way ticket to Shell kicked town" Mikey says in his best impersonation of Master Splinter.

You couldn't help the small twitch in the corners of your lips, you weren't sure if you were going to frown or grin at Mikey. You huff, "Fine, if you guys aren't knocking then I will." You hand Mugen to Ralph, which he awkwardly fumbles with, before holding him away at arms length, like a cheap knock off of the Lion king.

"Uhh, y/n I don't think that's a smart idea." Donnie says, but doesn't get in your way as make your way to the door.

"It was nice meeting you Angelcakes, dont forget me, your Michelangelo."

You roll your eyes as you march up the door raising a hand to knock.

Before you could, the door slides open and a tall figure wearing a maroon robe stood looming over you and the turtles.

"It's quite late for games, now, what's all this racket?"

Chapter Text

Your fist raised to knock still awkwardly hovers in the air as Master Splinter gazes at the group in front of his room, "Ms. Y/n? What brings you here?"

His eyes falls on his sons suspiciously as if one of them were the culprit of your presence so late, which wasn't exactly far from the truth.

Everyone was so silent you could swear you heard someone behind you swallow in trepidation,

"Sensei! They have something to ask, it's late. I'm still pretty tired, yaaawn, see? so I'm just gunna...go."

From the corner of your eye you could see Michelangelo trying to make a run for it only to be held back Ralphael. He his gaze falls down at you in question, you sheepishly bring down your hand only to twiddle them,

"Sorry to bother you this late Master Splinter, it's about Mugen, and I honestly don't understand what's going on, I've never baby sat and I have very little experience in taking care of children much less mutant babies, and I'm hoping maybe you have an idea, that is if that's alright? S-since you've raised the guys and all- I hope you weren't busy, resting or meditating."

His gaze softens as he holds out a furry palm to stop you before you start tripping over your words.

"It is quite alright Ms. Y/n, no one is ever prepared to be a parent, some of us have to learn as we go, feel free to call for me when you have questions." You let out a breath you seem to be holding in, glad for a fatherly figure such as Master Splinter to take the reigns.

"I'm not his mom though..." you mumble, but master Splinter heard you either way, raising a brow he glances at you.

"Do you not care for him?"

"Yes, I care but-"

"Do you not provide for him as would a parent?"

"Yes, I do that but-"

"Do you not feel responsible for him?"

You huff, slightly getting annoyed from being interrupted, " Yes, I feel very responsible of his creation. "

He nods in understanding. "Then do you love him as if he is your own?"

You pause.

'Love him as if he is mine?'

It's true you've taken care of him and these past few months you've grown attached, but you've never thought of him as yours. Your responsibility, yes. But probably nothing more than that...right?

Master Splinter probably sees the conflict in your eyes because he smiles knowingly.

"You don't have to give an immediate answer."

He gently pats you on your shoulder before he moves towards Mugen's and Ralph's direction.

Facing the small sniffling toddler, sagging dejectedly at Ralph's hold, Master Splinter takes him as he gently places him by the crook of his arm.

Looking at Mugen so small and defenseless, he is still, technically, an infant, despite the fact that he was more intelligent, stronger and far more independent from a human baby. The fact that you have never really treated him like he was yours is like a stab to your conscience.

"Why does she get special treatment?...ow." Ralph mutters. Donatello elbows him to shut up, he glares at the assailant while rubbing his sore ribs, Mikey snickers,

"Wait till I wipe that smile off your-", right before Ralph could send his brother another noogie package, Master Splinter slams his cane down loud enough for the sound to echo in the dojo, breaking up their fight.

"Yame."

They quickly stand in attention, the action not far from soldiers facing their general and awaiting orders.

"It seems another lesson is in order," You could see them internally groan as they slightly droop in their perfectly straight postures.

"I have trained you as warriors for far too long that I have neglected to teach you important virtues a ninja must have. Compassion, care, and understanding." He glances at Ralphael who grunts, not meeting his eye, Michelangelo has the call to look sheepish, Donatello looks a little troubled.

"Not to be sexist sensei, but didn'cha say that to April a month ago, isn't that for a kunoichi?"

"Dude, that was totally sexist." Mikey loudly whispers, to which he rolls his eyes.

"Yes, I did. It is what every ninja should have and practice, not just kunoichis, understood?"

"Hai, sensei."

"Sensei, I hate to break it to you, but isn't saving the city compassionate enough?" Donatello pipes,

"Yeah! Plus kicking mutant butts for free on a daily basis practically makes us caring heroes." Mikey reasons, Master Splinter strokes his beard thoughtfully,

"That might be so, my sons, but recently you've all been reckless, brash, charging ahead like bulls."

You felt a little bad for them, as you stand there, unsure how to proceed, Mugen by this time had fallen asleep in Master Splinter's arm, 'The poor thing must've tired himself out from crying', you decided to take him from Master Splinter, before you could, Leonardo strides in, a katana held on his right.

'He must've woken up from all the noise.' You think, as he sheaths his katana when he saw there was no danger.

"Sensei? Y/n? What's going on, why're you guys still up so late?" Leonardo walks in, his eyes switching from you to master Splinter and then guys.

"Ah, Leonardo, just in time." Master Splinter calmly beckons his son closer to the group.

He tries to make sense of the whole situation, as he takes his place standing beside his brothers.

"What have you guys done this time?" Leonardo mutters accusingly at his right.

"You might be surprised, fearless, but we've actually done nothing." Raphael mutters back, looking straight ahead.

"As your hands on training, you'll be caring for Mugen, for the span of two weeks." A momentary pause, as everyone including you stares at Master Splinter all slack jawed, before the guys all bursts out in a fit of laughter, you on the other hand, was not laughing.

"You can't be serious, master Splinter." You plead, not that you didn't trust the guys to keep an eye on him, it's just that, they weren't exactly father figures, not that you could say much about yourself, but the fact that you've already cared for him for months makes you more passable at parenting than they will, especially when Mugen doesn't seem like himself at the moment.

"Yeah what she said, why're we babysitting when we should be stopping Baxter, the Kraang and Shredder from tearing up the whole city by creating more baby mutant freaks." He emphasizes his point by pounding his fist at his hand.

It may be the chemical or it was just you, but you made a sound of protest glaring at him, at what he just called Mugen, to which he holds his hands up in surrender, eyes wide, like a dear caught in headlights.

"Not him! I didn't mean him!"

You see Donatello whisper something to Ralphael, Michelangelo obviously overhears as he lets out a teasing snicker, he looks flustered before raising his fists threateningly at his brothers, "I am not!"

Mikey hides behind his taller brother, still giggling, in fact both of them are.

"Father, I might have to agree with them, I don't see how babysitting will be training for us, I mean... taking care of Mugen is," he glances at you then to the sleeping tyke on his father's arms. "...fairly easy." The guys pause from their bickering to make a sound of agreement.

'Oh. OH. easy he says? Waking up in the crackass of dawn just to take him to the bathroom, dealing with having zero privacy at all, plus having to shoulder preparing his meal on schedule, and oh don't forget, keeping him busy with such a short attention span sure is freaking Easy'

You and Master Splinter share a knowing look, you fold your arms across your chest, you could immediately see Leonardo regret his choice of words.

Master Splinter looks at his sons, thoughtfully rubbing his chin. "Very well this should be a simple task for all such great ninjas, if you could pass a week I'll end the training by then, this will give Miss Y/n a break and time for meditation while you all take over." He says gently handing Leonardo the sleeping mutant.

"Wait. Y/n isn't helping us?" Donatello pauses from deflecting Ralph's attacks, "Oof", Raphael lands a successful hit.

"Surely, you four can handle babysitting without her for a week?"

Oh you are simply going to enjoy this.

They all look at you pleadingly, you shrug in feigned helplessness, " Sorry boys, Master Splinter's orders, besides you did say it was fairly easy."

They all groan.

"My sons think of it as Fatherhood training."

"Fatherhood training?" They parrot.

"Why yes, you're all fully grown men, one day if fate allows it, you might have a family of your own."

They all nervously shuffle, as you can clearly see who Donnie is thinking about. You grin at him slyly, to which he notices as he rolls his eyes. The interaction isn't lost among the brothers as they share a curious look.

"Sensei, I'm not too sure about fatherhood training, but if you're talking about motherhood training, Leo's got that in the bag, nagging, giving out orders." The guys snicker among themselves as Leonardo sends them a deadpan glare.

"I'm sure you'll figure it out yourselves, miss Y/n and I will have some tea. Please follow me, Miss Y/n."

"Just Y/n is fine, master Splinter, It's far due for formalities."

"Very well, y/n." as both of you make your way to his meditation room.

You couldn't help but glance behind, it's just a small discussion you'll be gone for an hour or less, what can go wrong? With that thought in mind, you head inside.

-
You glance at the sparsely decorated room, mildly smelling of incense, it was spacious enough and quiet.
Master Splinter beckons you to sit as he pours you a cup of tea, "Have a sip, chamomile calms the mind very well.

You do as you're told, blowing on the cup before taking a sip, letting the warm liquid soothe you, as you try to relax, "This is really good."

"I am quite fond of the beverage as well. So tell me Y/n, when has he started having his night terrors?"

"N-night terrors? Is that what's wrong with him?"

"Why yes, from what I have seen, he was tired and immediately fell asleep upon being tucked in, not unlike my sons when they were younger and suffered night terrors"

Night terrors, as a kid you also had them, and none of them any pleasant than the last, it was usually about a horror movie you've seen in passing, it would usually leave you drained and exhausted by the morning.

"I don't know, this is the first time I've ever seen him cry like that." You say worriedly.

"Hmm...."

"He's doesn't scare easily either, even when facing danger, and stuff that would've scarred a normal kid. Was he putting up a front this whole time? no, that cant be it, it only happened earlier right before when- oh."

He looks at you as a sudden realization came to mind,

"It seems you found your answer, would you care to share with this old man?"

"Master Splinter, you don't suppose the guys got lonely or have worried you'd abandon them when they were younger, did they?" You could be wrong but the timing couldn't be any better.

He ponders for a moment, "Hmm...Ah, there is one, my youngest, Michelangelo, was quite clingy among his brothers, had always stuck to me most of the time, and Leonardo," he chuckles, his eyes looking far away, at a memory you couldn't see, "Yes, there were times they have worried for my safety and but they had each other, and before I knew it, they are no longer the same small turtles that have been needing me."

You smile, taking another sip, "That's not entirely true, they still need you and rely on you Master Splinter, you're a good father to have raised such fine men."

He raises a furry eyebrow at you, "Oh? Fine men you say? You don't suppose that any of them has taken your fancy?"

You sputter almost choking on your tea as master Splinter laughs, " I merely jest. It is quite fun to tease the younger generation these days."

You could feel your face burning, as you try to maintain some sliver of composure.

"Oh Harr harr." You say drily, would have been more convincing if your face wasn't the same shade as a ripe tomato.

He smiles, you notice the atmosphere a little lighter than when you entered. He gestures for you to continue where you were heading with with the conversation.

You clear your throat, "I just think he's scared I might leave him one day."

"We sometimes do irrational things when we are scared or unsure. What makes you believe he fears such a thing?" He sets down his cup.

"It was never mentioned but it was heavily implied during my conversation with Donnie that he might be using me, and I sorta... freaked out, he must've thought of it badly...." you say, guilty,

"I see, it seems you have to right some wrongs, and make up for it. I am sure you understand what you have to do?"

You nod, "thank you very much master Splinter." As you stand up to leave, you have some fixing to do.

"Oh one more thing, master Splinter is babysitting really a ninja training?" The question has been niggling at you for a while now.

He gives you a closed eyed smile, but doesn't answer, a part of you was sure, the whole thing was made up, seeing as he won't answer you surmise the conversation has ended, so you head to the door.

" Oh Y/n?" You turn around in question.

"You've been kind to my sons, and I thank you for that, feel free to join me for meditation. " You give him a grin and a thumbs up, before sliding the doors close.

"My sons, have a lot to learn about relationships, and if one of their fates entwined with yours, I would not have minded at all." Master Splinter says to no one but the ghost of you before he hums and returns to his meditation.


You exit the dojo with a clearer mind, the talk with Master Splinter helped you sort some things out. It was late but you had one agenda in mind before the sleeping hours pass.

Upon entering the livingroom you weren't quite sure what you were seeing, Leonardo was clearly wearing a flowery apron, Donatello with a fake mustache and tie, Michelangelo and Raphael with matching baby bonnets with bibs and a very confused Mugen in a stroller. Upon seeing you, they quickly remove the costumes, stuffing it behind them or any crevice they could chuck it in.

You couldn't help the snort that escapes you as you helplessly try to suppress your laughter. "W-what's u-up guys?-" you say between wheezing giggles. Mikey grins draping an arm across your shoulder as he brings you closer to the group, you were still chuckling to even resist. "Well you see sweet cheeks, we're assigning roles in raising little junior here" You could see the guys face palm as Mikey explains, you on the other hand try to keep a straight face but was miserably failing.

"Junior? Roles??"

"Yup! You see Leo's the mommy, Donnie's the daddy, Me and Ralph are the brothers!" He says pointing to each, before spinning you to him, "me and Ralph wanted the role as daddy, but we weren't 'responsible' enough, so we're brothers." He says rolling his eyes at Leo and Donnie, then his voice drops to a whisper, "but between you and me, I'm the da-"

"Alright break it up, that was a stupid idea anyways." Ralph says shoving Mikey's face away from you as you bite your cheek trying not to laugh upon seeing Ralph with a bib up close, he seems to have forgotten about it being there up until his gaze lands on where you were looking. He immediately rips it off, tossing it away, before muttering something under his breath as he grumpily sits on a bean bag

"Well it was pretty silly," you say honestly, "but was endearing to see you guys taking this seriously enough to dress up and assign roles." You say as you walk to Donnie removing the fake mustache he forgot half stuck to his face.

"Thanks." He says quietly obviously embarrassed.

You shake your head, silently laughing as you pick Mugen up, he seems better now, a little confused but better. He chirps, pointing at the guys then to you, then to the stroller. You chuckle, "They were playing house, you're the baby, Mikey and Ralph are your brothers, Donnie is your daddy and Leo's your mommy."

He seem rather startled at the last part, switching from looking at you then to Leo then back again so fast you were worried he'd get whiplash. He immediately latches into you chirping, burying his face on your shirt. "Oh!" You glance at Leo for help, he shrugs " Maybe he doesn't want me as mom?" He jokes.

You slap your forehead, he must've thought you were giving him away. "Awh Mugen, do you not want Leo as mom?"

He shakes his head on your shirt.

"Even for just a game?"

He shakes his head again.

"Do you want me to be the mom?" He nods. Finally looking up at you, your gaze softens. "Okay, I'll be your mom." Saying that out loud, was like a weight off your chest, if somebody told you you'd be an adoptive mother of a mutant baby at the beginning of your career, you would've suggested they visit a psychologist in a very colorful manner, but it seems fate has more in store for you.

"Awww you finally accept being his mommy!"

Mikey receives a thwack to the head, he glares at Ralph, "Way to ruin the mood shell brain."

"Nice of you to finally accept being his mom." Leo says patting Mugen on the head.

"I believe, the exact words would be, 'nice of you to be out of denial.' " Donnie cheekily grins.

You roll your eyes, settling down on the couch, you close your eyes trying to get some moment of peace from their teasing." Yeah yeah, you're practically the dad by tomorrow on so let's see who's laughing by then."

They all have fallen silent, realizing what you just said, your eyes snap open in a flustered panic. They were looking at Donatello and you in stunned surprise. Donatello looks a little pinker under his shade of green, you've definitely embarrassed him in front of his brothers.

"I mean, you all are!" Now all of them look confused. Oh wait. That's not it.

"Not because I'm the mom- that's not it." The conversation with Master Splinter repeating on your mind, painting your cheeks bright pink.

"I mean you're all dads, since master Splinter told you to."

Exit Brain. Insert foot to mouth.

"O-oh yeah. Pshhh I knew that." Donatello says crossing and uncrossing his arms before sitting stiffly on the nearest bean bag.

Leo and Ralph look away, making sounds of agreement. Mumbling "yeah" and "knew that".

"Oh for a second, thought you and Donnie were dating."

You all freeze. "M-me? Dating? Pshh I'm single as a unicellular organism."

You cringe. Nice one nerd. You seriously want to crawl into a crevice and hide.

"I dunno what unicello orange is, but nice to know you're free angelcakes...ow, what'd I do this time?"

"Just shut up Mikey."

Mikey rubs his no doubt sore head, giving his at brothers confused looks.

Mugen yawns, giving you an excuse from this embarrassing conversation, he seems to be fighting to go to sleep for some reason.

"Sleepy?"

He shakes his head, but was clearly nodding off.

"Oh Oh! Sing him a lullaby!" Mikey pipes.

You chuckle still feeling a little warm at the cheeks. "Haven't I embarrassed myself enough for the day? I don't think you guys could stand hearing my cat screeching I call singing."

"It couldn't be as bad as Mikey's rapping" Donnie says, finally relaxed at his seat.

"Hey!"

"There is a little more time before night comes, and we all could use some shut eye." Leo reasons.

"I dunno..." you already knew you were going to give in.

"C'mon what could go wrong?"

"Your busted eardrums and my vanishing dignity?" You joke, as Ralph rolls his eyes.

"Alright alright, but I'm not liable if it sucks, I already warned you."

You carefully arrange Mugen comfortably on the crook of your neck the way you have seen mothers do to their child. He yawns again, this time blinking slowly.

You think of a song, you weren't an amazing singer but you weren't terrible either, surely a lullaby won't embarrass you too much. You vaguely remember listening to a lullaby on the TV before.

Humming the tune at first trying to remember the lyrics you start.

"Baby mine, don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes"

You see Ralph yawn, followed by Mikey as they settle down to listen.

"Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part
Baby of mine"

Leo had taken the floor near Ralph leaning on the bean bag he was looking tired as well.

"Little one, when you play
Don't you mind what they say"

By then, Donnie has fallen asleep his mouth hanging slightly open. Mikey was already snoring.

"Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear
Baby of mine"

You yawn, looking down you see Mugen peacefully asleep and so was everyone else. You gently lie Mugen down the couch, grabbing some blankets, you carefully cover each one of them, Ralph snorts, startling you, as he turns in his sleep subconsciously grabbing the blanket, seeing you haven't woken up anyone, you relax.

You glance at the clock, 'there's a little more time before night comes and everyone gets busy, maybe a little shut eye won't hurt' as you succumbed to sleep as well.

Chapter Text

Leo really wasn't asleep.

Why was he pretending to? Well, he wasn't really pretending at first he just wanted some shut eye before their nightly patrol starts, when you had stopped singing he assumed you've taken Mugen back to your room, what he didn't quite expect was a blanket draping over his form, a small peek of his eye shows you've done the same for his brothers.

He immediately shuts it as soon as you've turned around, you stepped closer towards his direction.

'Crap. She definitely saw me. Why am I still pretending to be asleep!?'

You stop not far from his left. He dares another peek to see you draping a blanket on Ralph, he breathes a quiet sigh of relief, when he accidentally displaces his weight on the bean bag causing it to slightly shift to the side, rolling Ralph along, he shifts at the sudden change in surface. Leo holds his breath waiting for either you or Ralph to react. To his and your relief Ralph doesn't wake, and you didn't even seem to notice the cause of his shifting.

You soon had taken the couch and promptly laid down, your back facing them, creating a small cocoon around Mugen with your body. Leo waited until your breathing became steady and even, before standing up, he scans the living room, his brothers all fast asleep and blanketed, courtesy of your caring demeanor. He sighs to himself when he notices you forgot to bring one for yourself.

He eyes his fallen blanket, picks it up, before silently making his way to your sleeping form, with a flick, the blanket gently drapes on you and Mugen. He peers at your sleeping face, you probably had a lot on your mind because you had your brows slightly furrowed. He does quick scan on his surroundings to see if anyone was watching, satisfied that no one was awake to bear witness, he lightly presses a finger between your brows, softly easing it to a more neutral appearance, you crinkle your nose in a sleepy protest before subconciously complying, he quietly chuckles to himself.

You shift a little, surprising Leo, but only to nuzzle Mugen closer, probably to gain more warmth, despite the blanket, the Lair was not exactly heated, and being underground, there really wasn't a way to keep the cold from seeping in, maybe he should ask Donnie to make a small heater? He shakes his head, that won't be necessary, you're leaving in two weeks... but maybe you could use it from time to time when you visit. He stores the thought on the back of his mind, for now he has some things to do.

He grabs his gear, a final glance at you and his brothers, funny, this is how he found you on your first day in the lair, asleep holding Mugen on the couch, looking so peaceful... he shakes his head, he'll be back before midnight.

The night was bustling as people chatter and scurry to get home or to whatever nightly destination they had in mind, cars honk loudly at the traffic, only adding to the noisy atmosphere of the city. Atop a tall apartment complex, a figure sits hunched, still enough to be mistaken as a gargoyle, as he observes the busy streets, the tails of his blue mask dancing along with the night wind.

"What do you want, Karai?"

A figure tuts as she emerges from the shadows, her clothing blending into the darkness as she saunters across the building towards the looming figure who regards her with caution.

"Miss me?" She says in mock sweetness, cocking a hip to the side.

Leonardo narrows his eye at her, his eyes none too friendly as he draws his weapon.

"I'm not going to ask again, what do you want?"

She pouts, crossing her arms. "That's not how you greet an old friend is it? Especially after that little stunt your pet did to me? It left an ugly bruise y'know, wanna see?" Her lips twitches into a sultry grin as she fiddles with the collar of her outfit making a show of tugging it to the side.

She frowns as she notices he has not shifted in a flustered panic nor shown any interest in her teasing so unlike before, he points his katana at her throat.

She rolls her eyes, waving her hand indifferently, tilting the weapon off her direction "alright alright, you're no fun," she observes him, " You know what I want, and we both know you aren't handing her and the mutant child over without a fight."

"So why come to me?"

"I wanted to see you, like good ol times." She chuckles, moving closer to him until only a foot of space separates them apart, she reaches out a hand to twiddle with the tails of his mask,

A flicker in his icy deep blues. 'Gotcha' Karai smirks as she drapes another hand at his shoulder, drawing herself a little closer. She has to admit, if he wasn't such a goody goody she'd no doubt be more than willing, especially since she's yet to meet a ninja such as him, a natural born leader, skilled and honest, her eyes flicker to his face, to her hand gripping rough but sculpted muscle. Yeah, she definitely wouldn't mind at all.

Looking into his stoic face, the only way you could see his inner turmoil was his eyes which have been looking at her, unsure whether to pull her closer or to push her away.

He closes his eyes, as if in an internal struggle. He raises his forearm to stop her twiddling and with a shrug, he brushes her off him, stepping away from her grasp. As he regards her with scrutiny, "We both know that's a lie."

She clicks her tongue, 'patience Karai, if you play your cards right, you'll get what you want.' She crosses her arms, playing indifferently.

"Say what you want Leo, but I haven't lied, teased you, maybe, but I haven't lied."

Distrust fully written on his frame, before turning around to leave.

"I have nothing else to say to you."

"Oh, but I do. And it has something to do with your little lost fawn. but it seems you're not interested" she says shrugging.

He knows better than to get roped back to her web again. While she did tell the truth, the information she usually withheld had dropped him and his brothers into hot water and escaping death barely by the skin of their shells, the risk is too high for him to play with, it's best to walk away and dig into this themselves.

" 'cause I heard a little tidbit, that the little mutant might die, if the puny excuse of a scientist doesn't get his grubby hands on him in time."

He stops, and slightly tilts his head at her direction,

"Oh, now I have your attention,"

He narrows his eyes on her, she gives a wicked smile in return.

"You see, I overheard from Stockman, that the little one wasn't supposed to be out and about from the mutagen tank he was in, and if he doesn't get his mutagen bath, who knows?" She says making a slicing motion with her thumb right at her neck, he frowns.

He knows it was wrong to think of it, but if Mugen disappeared you could go back to your human life. The world will be safe from mutant assassins, sure you'd be sad, but as soon as the chemical messing with your brain goes away, you'd go back to normal, right?

As if reading his mind she adds,
"Oh, you're going to enjoy this little extra, you see if the baby dies, the mother goes crazy, but that's just a guess from that wimp."

"Crazy?"

"Oh y'know, probably feral, where she goes ape on you and your brothers."

He falls silent, he's gotta tell Donnie, but first ... "And what do you gain from telling me this?"

Her lip twitches into a smirk, " Think of it as a little gift, for our long standing hmm.... relationship? No, let's just say, friendship, we wouldn't want your pet dying on you now. You just got her after all."

He gives her one last withering look, before disappearing in the city rooftops.

She doesn't follow him, instead she makes her way back to report her findings.

'You've definitely gotten attached to something that doesn't belong to your world, Leo.'

She kneels in front of her so-called-father, she knew he wasn't her real father, but what other reality does she know? She wouldn't trade it anyways, the power that came with it was immense and one day she'll have it all.

"I have confirmed that the woman has already established a bond with the mutant prototype. She may be in hiding under the protection of the turtles."

An imposing figure wearing sharp armor taps a clawed finger on his throne. "Very good Karai, it's just a matter of time before they make their move, and we'll be waiting for them, when they do."


You wake up, stretching your body, a few satisfying pops indicate your uncomfortable sleeping position, caused by napping on the couch.

You look around to find everyone had already woken up and had left, to your alarm so has Mugen.

A loud clanking of pots and pans followed by voices can be heard from the kitchen, you calm, the guys are watching him starting today.

You stand up folding the blanket you were using- wait a minute, blanket? You hold up the soft cloth, observing it, you clearly remembered you forgot to bring yours down, and was too lazy to go get it, did one of the boys handed you theirs? ...that was rather sweet of them.

Making your way to the kitchen, you knock on the door frame, before you can fully grasp on what they're doing in the kitchen, an egg flies towards you, you manage to dodge it in time before it splats on the floor, eggshell and all.

You look at them bewilderedly, fully awake now. You see Mikey carrying Mugen by a sling cloth on his plastron, the tiny mutant seems to be enjoying the view of the chaos of in kitchen as ingredients were strewn everywhere. Donnie who was holding a carton of eggs with Ralph as if playing tug of war,

"You need to make tiny holes on each side of the egg so we can still use the egg shells as smoke bombs!"

"Why does it have to be this batch of breakfast? Besides that takes too long to make scrambled eggs."

"Eugh bros, hate to interrupt but I Can't feed him THIS." He gestures to the assorted pile of meats, before making a disgusted face, he notices you staring at the mess.

"Oh, morning Sugarcube, slept well?"

You give Mikey a wry grin, "Morning to you too, So uhh, what's with all the commotion? Why're you all in the kitchen?"

"Breakfast." They chorus. You raise an eyebrow at the two playing tug of war with the carton of eggs.

"Well you see, y/n, the best way to utilize an egg is to leave nothing to waste, by carefully blowing out the egg and leaving the egg shells I can still use it as smoke bombs. "

"In short he wants us to starve before we have to leave for patrol." Ralph says successfully tugging the carton away from Donnie's grasp, before cracking several in a bowl.

Donnie forlornly looks at the shells, he sighs at the loss before deciding it wasn't worth the fight, as he picks up a few cracking them in a bowl as he reads a cook book, from your angle you could clearly see a picture of a pancake.

Taking pity on Mikey and Mugen, you prepare his meal, you avoid getting into Donnie's and Ralph's path as you maneuver your way around the kitchen, adding a few vegetables into the mix, much to both their disgust, "It's good for you, y'know", you say poking Mugen's nose, he mumbles something which you take as him protesting.

" Alright, breakfast, come and get it." Ralph hands you a plate, with a generous helping of eggs, as you all take your places on the table, you glance at the empty space where Leo sits.

"Where's Leo? "

"Most likely out. He likes to do a quick sweep from time to time before we begin." As Donnie puts down the last of the pancake, it's not perfectly circle but it doesn't look inedible.

"Oh"

You take a bite of your food, to your surprise, it doesn't taste as bad as you thought, you've gotten used to pizza as your daily meal, you're surprised you haven't bloated into a balloon without any form of excercise, 'Does running around chasing Mugen count?' Despite the initial mess in the kitchen, the guys did a great job at making simple breakfast that didn't involve pizza.

You give them a thumbs up, your mouth full of food, they preen at the praise, digging in themselves.

As you ate, you notice Mugen was not eating as much, he glances at you, or more like, he glances at the forkful of egg in your hand. You blink, he denied human food in his earlier stages, but maybe?...

You don't know much about easing babies off "baby food", but you try offering a scoop of your own eggs.
At first he shies away, he sniffs at it tentatively before chomping on it. You smile, "How is it?" His eyes brighten up as he opens his mouth asking for more, you make a move of grabbing more, Mikey plucks your fork from your hand stopping you, before using it to try and feed Mugen himself, you look at him questioningly.

"Ah ah ah, We're supposed to be the ones who's looking after him, remember? So enjoy your little vacation sweet cheeks, we got this." He say tossing a wink at your direction, you fidget a little before grabbing a new fork and continue eating, the tips of your ears flaring.

Mugen frowns at the change of person as he refuses to even take a bite from Mikey.

You chuckle, "It's okay, I can do it." You attempt to take the fork back before he childishly extends it out of your reach.

"Thanks y/n, but as sensei said we're not allowed to get help from you", Donnie says as he moves to try and help his brother.

"Alright little guy, here comes the airplane." He makes airplane noises as he waves the forkful of egg around. Mugen pouts still not opening his mouth, in fact as if it wasn't possible he clamps it more.

"Guess he doesn't like airplanes?" Donnie says scratching his head.

Ralph seems to get an idea as he gets up to whisper something to Donnie. Mugen eyes him warily, as Donnie distracts him once more waving the for around, Ralph sneakily goes behind Mugen as you watch them attempt to get Mugen to eat.

You saw it coming, or moreover you saw his plan as soon as he reached out to tickle Mugen's sides, right when he opens his mouth a forkful of food meets him as he clamps up again.

The guys cheer upon their success, Mugen on the other hand doesn't seem happy to be played, but when he saw you looking he begrudgingly chews. You let out a sigh of relief, at least he wouldn't give the guys a hard time...too much. You pick up their empty plates to do the dishes.

"Oh, y/n you don't need to do that, we can do our own dishes."

You shake your head, grabbing a sponge lathering it with dish soap.

"Nah, I don't mind, it's the least I could do since you guys made breakfast and are now on babysitting duty."

They let you do as you please, by the time you were done Mugen and the guys were halfway through the meal.

"I'll let you guys finish up, I promised master Splinter to join him for meditation, and uhh, guys he can feed himself y'know?" They wave you off, saying they "Got it handled", as you give them a final worried glance, before making you way to the dojo.

'They'll be fine, right?'

"See ya later, y/n."

As soon as you left, Mugen spits out the mouthful of eggs at Donnie's direction, Donnie makes an unamused face, before grabbing a rag to wipe it off. Meanwhile Ralph and Mikey fall in to hysterics laughing at their brother's incident.

"Okay. Gross. But forgiven, since you originally did not like the idea of us feeding you, but if you dont mind cooperating until you at least finish your food."

They lock into a stare down, Mugen opens his mouth, as Donnie prepares to spoon another forkful of the food, the mischievous glint in Mugen's eyes should have been a warning because as soon as the spoon nears him he pushes the fork in an upward motion causing it's contents to fly up and shower Donnie in bits of yellow and grease.

"Why you-"

"Donnie Donnie, calm yourself, he's just a kid. Here, let the pro handle it." Ralph says confidently, taking Donnie's seat, while the latter cleans himself and the mess up, muttering to himself.

Ralph takes the fork attempting what Donnie just did, like the same Mugen does the same trick, he swats the fork, but Ralph seems to anticipate this as he grabs the bowl, as he catches the majority of the flying food in it, expertly avoiding getting any on him. He grins triumphantly at the small mutant.

"Didn't expect that huh, who's your sensei now?" As he shoves his face at Mugen, smugly raising an eyebrow at the small tyke, who stares at him blankly before kicking the bowl that was a little too close to his foot, spilling all it's contents into Ralph.

Mikey and Donnie bursts out in a fit of laughter at their brother's expense.

"That's it! no more mister nice turtle."

"Now now, Ralph remember what you said, 'he's just a pfft- kid'." It was Donnie's turn to try and hide a laugh, barely restraining Ralph by the shoulder, both pause hearing a clicking like laugh, they turn around to see Mugen laughing at Ralph, by now Mikey was barely breathing as he tries but fails to stifle his own chuckles.

"Ralph- bro- Haha- he totally got you." Ralph flicks off the food towards Mikey, it lands squarely on his face, causing his laughter to die and to give the assailant an annoyed glare.

Deciding he was done with the group, Mugen jumps up from his seat and uses Ralph's head as a spring board and bounces off to the high edge of the ceiling, "Hey!" Ralph trips forward, Mugen uses his claws to scale the walls as he makes his escape, not before sticking his tongue out at his caretakers.

They all look at one another, dumbfounded at what just transpired, before they all clamor to give chase.

"Stop that baby!" Donnie cries out as soon as he noticed the scurrying tyke heading for the (technically his) lab.

Mikey manages to block his path, he makes cooing sounds to get him to come down, Mugen lets out a clicking laugh as he lands on Mikey's face, predator-like, grabbing his whole face, some part of Mikey panics as he remembers the said infant is venomous.

"Guys GUYS! He's got me! He's on my FACE!" He yells hysterically, as he runs around in a blind panic, Mugen on the other hand did not understand what was wrong, but when he saw Donnie and Ralph approaching from both sides respectively, he took the easiest escape route. Up. They all watch in slow motion as Mugen jumps up, hanging from the light fixture, they didn't remember to stop running before it was too late, they all let out a surprised yell, as they crashed into each other.

They groan, a mocking clicking sound comes above them as they slowly untangle themselves.

"Oohh I'm starting to hate that laugh." Ralph grumbles.

"Guys, what's going on here?" Leo approaches them as he takes in the scene, Mugen on the ceiling while his brothers were on a pile on the floor, Ralph was even covered in what he can distinguish, food stains.

Mugen laughs once more as he climbs the ceiling escaping to the halls.

"Leo!"

"Stop him! He's escaping!"

Leo gives chase, while not exactly sure on what's happening, all he knows if he doesn't catch him in time he might run off to a tunnel.

He comes upon an empty hallway, he slowly surveys the area, uncertain which path Mugen took. A soft chirrup right above him catches his attention, he makes a quick turn only for Mugen to latch on his face no different from what he did to Mikey, he stumbles a little off balanced. He plucks the tiny mutant off his face holding him by the scruff, much like how you'd hold a kitten.

He gives Mugen a flat stare, "You've got some explaining to do", Mugen flicks his tongue at his face, making another clicking laugh.

Ralph, Mikey and Donnie runs in, catching up, clearly a little winded from the chase. Leo takes his eyes off the small mutant to stare at his brothers. "Does anyone mind explaining what's going on?"

Raphael raises a finger as he tries to catch his breath.

" Right. So breakfast kinda didn't go as planned, and things got a little outta hand."

" a little?" He raises an eyebrow in question.

"Uh, bro, where's the li'l guy?"

Their eyes all snap to the empty air Leo was holding,

"What the- where'd he go?"

"Ya let him escape??"

"You guys, he's getting away!!" Donnie panics pointing down the hall in alarm.

They all turn to look at the sprinting mutant giggling as he makes a sharp turn back to the first floor. They all hurry to give chase once more.

Meanwhile....

You take a deep breath as the smell of sandalwood invades your senses, you sat crossed legged on the floor mats as Master Splinter stands a few feet away.

"Focus on yourself, clear your mind and listen to the voice inside you."

Listening to his command, you picture a clear blank space everything was empty devoid of shadows and sound. You let yourself sit in that blank space, letting out a sigh as you try to relax.

"I prefer watching the sewers than this disgustingly pristine emptiness, but you do you."

You spin around in your make believe world as you look for the source of the familiar voice only to come face to face with a mirror.

You step closer watching as your reflection does the same. You scan your face noticing little differences you were sure you didn't have, like little faint scars barely visible and the gleam on your eyes, that seems brighter than your natural eye color, she blinks you notice her pupils were slitted not unlike a cats. You let out a gasp, your reflection grins as you take a step back.

"Scared little lamb?", she licks her fangs, " You shouldn't be, I'm you."

The glass cracks crudely in half, as it shatters a million pieces, you brace yourself unconsciously throwing up your hands to shield yourself from the onslaught of broken glass.

You snap awake breathing heavily as if you've just submerged yourself underwater too long. You try to calm yourself as a furry hand falls gently on your shoulder.

" Is everything alright? What did you see?"

"Me." You take in another gulp of air, "I saw myself, except it wasn't. "

"A future self perhaps?"

"I don't know, everything is just so confusing right now."

Master Splinter gives you a gentle smile, "You've done well for your first time, that is enough, you may rest for now." You couldn't, but you give him a reassuring smile.

"I had almost forgotten, how is babysitting going for my sons?"

"Oh, it's been going great, Master Splinter, Mugen seems to enjoy their company and it seems so do they." You brighten, glad for the change of topic.

He nods thoughtfully and turns to leave, "um Master Splinter!" He stops turning to look at you curiously, you wanted to ask him if he could help you defend yourself, however little, but the words seem caught on your throat, "I ah...maybe we could do this again tomorrow?"

"Feel free to join me same time tomorrow. " as he shuts the door, you sigh, 'maybe another time then. Right now I need to check on the guys.'

You smile as you look at Mugen watching cartoons on the couch, the guys seem to have everything under control, you had worried for nothing. They had formed a sort of protective circle around him as Leo sits on the left with Ralph on the right, Mikey had taken the floor in front of the couch, you survey the area, not seeing their tall brother. You scratch your head,

"Hey boys, you seem to be enjoying yourselves."

"Yep"

"Sure!"

"Never been better"

You glance at the almost nodding off toddler, "oh? Sleepy already? It's still morning, little one, you're usually full of energy until later?"

You look at the guys in concern. They share a look, before Leo answers,

"We Uhhh played... uhm tag! Yeah, tag! It must've tired him out.

"Oh I'm guessing, one of you was 'it'?" Slightly amused at the thought of the guys playing a ninja version of the game.

"More like we were all 'it'." Ralph grumbles under his breath.

"What?"

"W-what Ralph means is, kid's got mad skills at the game! It almost felt like we were all it."

You nod, kinda understanding where he's coming from, you didn't notice Mikey releasing a silent 'phew' as Leo subtly wipe his sweat.

"Where's Don?"

"He's in the lab, the usual" as soon as Leo said it, Donnie bursts out from the lab holding a small circular band, you almost mistake it for a scrunchie.

"It's done! " he says waving it around for everyone to see, even Mugen takes his eyes off the TV to look at him.

"Awesome bro, uhh, what is it?"

" It's a tracking band, made with polyester and kevlar bands, making it nearly fireproof and hard to cut, interwoven with alien tech, specialized to track the wearer as far as 900 mile radius signal. I had to disband several detection devices from Kraang tech so that they cannot hack into this specific signal. It was a little bit of work, but it saves us time if Mugen gets lost again."

You take the offered bracelet, observing it, it was a sleek black strip, that shimmers with what you think is alien technology. You flip it over trying to figure out how Donnie had invented such complex and fine device out of scraps, "Donnie this is amazing! The complexity, the extent of such technology is so advanced, it's brilliant!"

"O-oh Well It was nothing, I mean, anybody can dismantle alien language and hack into their signal,... just saying." He says scratching the back of his head, looking away.

"You decoded alien language? How? How'd you even understand which alien piece of technology is the equivalent of human tech??" The concept is so brilliantly foreign, like a science fiction come to life, you couldn't help but bombard the embarrassed turtle in front of you with questions.

"Oh look, they're both nerds, Donnie can finally talk with someone who speaks his language."

"I'd talk to you about the same thing, but sadly I don't think your brain can handle it." You snark at Ralph, grinning.

"OoooHhh, you just got BURNED son!" Mikey hollers.

Ralph narrows his eyes at you, before grinning himself, "Whatever, Nerd."

"Name calling, Ralph? Real mature." He shrugs, with the most smug grin plastered on his face. You've dealt with a lot of bullies growing up, and one thing's for sure you beat them back down at their own game.

'Looks like he's found you a new nickname, should've let him stick with 'princess' so you can tell him 'to kiss your royal- .' 'Then again...maybe not right now.

Mugen chirps at you, curious at the little bracelet on your palm, "look what Donnie made you!" You couldn't help but gush as you show it to Mugen, who sniffs it before picking it up to observe it, you chuckle as you fumble trying to figure out how to fit it into his wrist. It was smaller than his hand not exactly made of stretchy materials, Donnie plucks it from you, with a slide of an almost invisible clasp it shimmers before snapping open, he then proceeds to wrap it around Mugen's wrists, snapping it close once more.

Mugen shakes his arm to see if the black band would come off, when it didn't, he gives Donnie an accusing glare, to which Donnie replies with a "heh, it's for your own good little fella."

"There that should do it." He checks his T-phone to see a red dot actively blink on the screen, before he nods, " That reminds me, here's yours y/n." He hands you a similar T-phone. "That's used to contact us directly, or track Mugen. "

"Thanks for the tracking band and the... Shell phone, Dee" with the most shit eating grin you could muster, waiting for them to catch on.

"You're welcome- what'd you just call the T-phone?" You try and force down a snicker, he almost looks like he didn't just hear you say it.

"The Shell phone?" You say innocently.

They collectively groan, as you laugh at their pained expressions."That was terrible, nerd."

"Well, it IS a shell phone, so she has a point...despite the terrib- I mean terrific pun." Leo supplies, watching your face, you roll your eyes still grinning.

"Ehem... anyways since we're all here, I got some info we might need to discuss." Leo says suddenly looking grim, your brows furrow, this can't be good.

"Before that, y/n how long was Mugen supposed to stay in mutagen incubation for?"

You search your brain, thinking back to the documents you had received when you started working, " I think it was two months, he only needed to start getting his physical and mental training right after, then he...goes back to his tank." Your voice get quieter as soon as the realization slowly sets in.

"He needs to get to his tank soon." You say barely a whisper, you felt as if a weighted stone drop to your stomach as you turn to look at Mugen in fear, fear for him.

"Can somebody fill us in here?" Mikey interjects.

"I just got intel, that he isn't fully developed and needs to get a mutagen bath soon, if he doesn't... he might not make it."

"That can't be right, sure we've classified him as reptilian, but he isn't amphibious, he doesn't even breath water." Donnie yells out as he rushes to his lab, probably to do another scan on his files, you all follow him.

You see him rapidly typing on his computer, pulling out files, he even asks for your flash drive, not wasting time to see if what Leo said was true. You hand it to him, even though you knew Leo was right, but you were clinging on to any hope that he was wrong, that You were wrong.

"Where'd ya even get this information?" Ralph asks,

"Where I got it isn't important, we need to focus on what to do with this situation." Leo says not meeting Ralph's eyes.

"You got it from Karai, didn't you?"

Silence seems to fall in the lab, even Donnie had stopped typing to look at their leader.

Leo seems to clam up, as he glares at Ralph daring him to say more, Ralph takes the challenge head on, as he pushes an accusing finger on his brother's chest.

"You told us you were done with her and her lies."

"I am-"

"Then what the hell is this, Leo?"

"It's us getting to the bottom of it before jumping into conclusions of what she told me."

"You told us the same damn thing last time. Remember where that almost got us? Dead. It almost got us killed, if it weren't by sheer fucking luck."

"Guys guys, cool it. We don't have time for this, we can discuss this when everything is done and over with." Mikey says getting in between, before the arguement breaks into a fight.

They seem to go in a standoff, each not backing down.

You weren't sure if it was a good or bad thing when Mugen chirps at them, they stop their glaring contest as if realizing they weren't the only ones in the room, as you try and shush him, not wanting to draw attention, even though you know they already have their eyes on you and Mugen.

You were sure you could see Leo's eyes look at you in guilt, or shame as he looks a away after a beat too long. He drags a weary hand down his face, like he's done this plenty of times already.

"I can't do this right now, Donnie, tell me if there's any updates about it." he pushes past Ralph ignoring Mikey's pleas of "c'mon guys, not again."

You try and chase after him, but Donnie grabs your arm before you could take a step, shaking his head, you frown, you glance back again to see if you can call out to him.

He already left.

Chapter Text

You all sat in fragile silence, with the distant sound of dripping water. Ralph was the first to break it by letting out a huff of frustration before leaving the room as well, Donnie tries to ignore the whole thing ever happened by going back to his computer, typing away. Mikey doesn't seem to stand for the heavy atmosphere, stretching loudly, "Oh yeah, Anybody up for some Super Brawl?"

Mugen perks up as he wriggles down your hold in favor of following Mikey, the turtle in orange looks at you, a silent question whether you'll be joining them.

You give them an encouraging smile before shaking your head, "Up to you, angelcakes, c'mon Mugen!" They both leave the lab, you watch them set the game up in the livingroom through the door of the lab.

You sigh, you need a distraction, you can't keep worrying about the eminent problem you and Mugen will face, you could feel yourself going crazy just thinking about it.

You glance at Donnie who busies himself with his computer. You planned on asking him about it but he seems like the type not to dwell on the topic. You stand, patting invisible dust as you face him, "I'll be in the dojo, if you need me." He lets out a 'hmm' of acknowledgement, too preoccupied on what he's reading.

"Booyakasha! Boss fight!"

You pass Mikey and Mugen, who seems very engrossed in the game to even notice you, as you make your way to the dojo in hopes of getting some practice on your meditation instead, but it seems your plans might have to do a rain check.

In the middle of the dojo, you see Ralphael mercilessly attacking the shit out of a training dummy, you almost feel sorry for it, as he continues making blow after blow, you hear a tear, then stuffing and wooden splinters fly off from the ragged training mannequin. He stops, breathing heavily, steam rolling off of him in waves.

"That thing's going to be paper soon if you keep pummeling it down like that."

He glares at you, you raise your hands in surrender.

"Thought ya weren't allowed here when we train."

You shrug, "Yeah, well, I don't see any flying weapons, unless you start coming at me with your fists, that is." You say light heartedly.

"What makes ya think I won't?"

You smile, shaking your head, "I'd be honest, if you told me that when I first came here, I would've believed you, but right now, I don't think you will."

Hell. You must love poking trouble, because he looks angrier now, but you stand your ground, even though a rational part of you was screaming at you to slowly walk out and wait till he's cooled off.

He turns back around before letting out a growl, kicking the dummy one last time, it flies a few feet off, making you involuntarily flinch.

You were glad he wasn't facing you, because there's always that tiny tiny part that still believes all mutants are dangerous and they could easily snap you like a toothpick if they wished.

He drags another dummy in the place of the other discarded doll before continuing where he left off, but this time in a steadier pace.

You take him ignoring you means you could stay, so stay you did, as you settle on a mat a little farther from where he stood.

You watch him continuously raining punches on the dummy, frustration clear as day on his face, 'If I didn't know any better, I'd say he's picturing Karai instead of the dummy he's hitting.'

You didn't want to pry, nor get involved any further than you already had, but heavens had cursed or blessed you with innate curiosity, the reason you excelled so much in your field, and what got you in this mess in the first place.

You bite your cheek, conflicted whether you'd be overstepping your welcome if you asked.

Ralph sighs deeply, as he turns to you, "Ya clearly have something to say, if ya keep looking at me like that."

"Like what?"

"Like you're constipated, or somethin'."

"Am not!" He chuckles, before going back to his one sided fight.

"Sooo.... " you fidget in your seat "what was that all about?

He spares you a glance, "Nunya."

"Nunya?"You parrot.

"Nunya business, nerd." Delivering another strong kick.

You huff, before falling silent again. You decide to try and ignore the curiosity for now and try imitating what master Splinter instructed, despite the noise Ralph was making.

Breath in.

Thud thud.

Breath out.

Thud thud thwack.

Picture a blank space.

Maybe he'd budge if you asked the right questions?

Thwack thwack thud thud thud.

You take a small peek at him, he was still going at it.

"What did you mean that Karai almost got you guys killed?" You tentatively ask.

He ignores you.

"Who is she anyways? And why do you seem to hate her, I mean, besides the obvious. " You try again.

He stops his training. Then turns to you with a scowl, "If I answer a few questions, would ya shut up?"

You nod eagerly, 'Point 1 to persistence!' you internally cheer.

He drags a hand down his face, before continuing his training. "Let's just say, she got us into hell lotta trouble before. Leo, that idiot, trusted her too much, thought she was," he grunts after delivering a rather hard punch, " 'good.' despite being the daughter of Shredder. We tried convincing him otherwise but she had him wrapped around her itty bitty finger."

"She gave us half of insider intel, it worked for a while, almost trusted her too, bitch almost got us killed." He hits the dummy a little harder "We followed her by the docks, it was just supposed to be a easy mission. Turns out, the whole setup was a trap, if it weren't for a stray drunk driver that crashed into the gates we would've been a goner."

He sees the look on your face, he continues, "Driver was fine, a little hammered, took him with us and dropped him at the next street corner." A pause, he sighs,

"That was the final straw, he finally stopped believing her or so I thought." His tone going somber, he delivers a series of punches and kicks to the dummy, as it finally gives out when the head snaps off.

You fall silent as you process all that information.

"Why're ya asking me this anyways? Wouldn't it better t'ask Leo?" He says pausing to pick up a towel to wipe the sweat off his face.

You frown, what he said was right, but for some reason you were here keeping him company as he vents out all his anger on a dummy.

In the end you shrug, "I dunno either, guess I was just... worried, 'bout you and Leo" you admit in a small voice, suddenly finding the rack of weapons very interesting.

A pat on your head surprises you, looking up, it seems to have startled the other party as well, he avoids eye contact, awkwardly while patting your head. "You're a good person, nerd."

"And you're a big softie, Ralph."You quip, grinning. He rolls his eyes, still not looking at you as he grumbles something under his breath, which vaguely sounds something like '...lucky... you're not Mikey...."

He was crouched, close enough that from this angle you can see little faint scars, and the sweat he hasn't wiped off, one drop seems to capture your attention as it slowly trickles down from his neck, down his plastron, your eyes follow it as it pauses before each scar, as if to catch its breath, before it joins with the other droplets, disappearing below-

You snap your eyes upwards, for some reason you're glad he wasn't looking at you.

'Is it hot in here? It's definitely hot in here, or maybe it's Ralph...I MEAN BECAUSE HE'S EMITTING IT, HE JUST TRAINED- y'know what? Just shut up y/n.'

You feel warm all of the sudden, you weren't sure whether it's because you've embarrassed yourself or... You scramble to stand up, trying not to make it obvious that you needed to get away.

"What?" He seems confused at your sudden distance.

You look for an excuse, you find it behind him.

"Teach me."

You gesture at the dummy, who's head was punched clean off. He raises an eyebrow at you, this time it's your turn to avoid his gaze.

" You want me to teach you how to... punch?"

You purse your lips, "Yup." Popping the 'p'. He stands up, following your gaze, then he glances at your bandaged arm.

"Yeah, not happening." He says crossing his arms, giving him a deadpan look, you unwrap the bandage from your arm, carefully shoving it in your pocket. It reveals a pinkish red scar, not fully healed but well enough to be out of its wraps.

"Oi. What're ya doing? Put that back on before-"

"Just teach me how to punch, and I promise I'm gonna put it back on, besides, this thing practically okay now." You say, rotating your arm for emphasis.

He frowns, letting out a 'tch' before giving in, "Alright, alright. Just a punch, and then ya get outta here. Capiche? And put that shit back on before Donnie gets up to both our cases."

You smile, before putting it back on, he even helps you tie it up. 'He really was a big softie.' You face the dummy. "Alright nerd, show me what you can do."

"Wait, aren't you gonna instruct me how to do it?"

He makes a shooing motion telling you to proceed.

You shrug, as you attempt to throw a punch- "Stop." You freeze in place, you face him, a little thrown off balanced.

He circles you, before grabbing your arm, he adjusts the angle of your punch, "If you punch from that angle, you're gonna hurt your shoulder, keep your wrist straight, extend your arm and lock your elbows when ya throw a punch." He says, holding your wrist.

"At least ya got the fist part right. The thumb outside your fist, tucked below your fingers...clench it properly." He observes, "...when you're punching y'gotta put all your body weight into the punch, don't throw your arm around, and you hit fast and hard. Usin' your legs t'balance ya out. And ya tuck in the other arm. Like this-"

He demonstrates a punch, making the movements slow as possible for you to follow. You attempt to copy his form as you adjust your feet. Tilting your body the way he instructed. He uses his foot to tap yours a little forward, you follow. He tilts your body forward, you let him move you like a stop motion doll, making adjustments here and there.

"When ya throw it, you lower your chin, and the punch is thrown straight, your shoulder rises up to cover your chin." He explains, as he guides you through the motion slowly.

Once he was satisfied, he steps back " Now punch."

You do, surprised how the impact didn't cause you any pain as it reverberates into your body. You flex your fingers, a little proud of your small achievement.

You couldn't help the giddy smile that makes it's way up your face, Ralph couldn't help but give you a proud grin in return, making you smile toothily.

"Alright nerd, again."

"Yeah, yeah, I'll get o- what did you say?" You spin to look whether he was pulling your leg.

He rolls his eyes, standing behind the dummy, steadying it.

"I'm not gunna say it again, are ya gonna throw a punch or not?"

You didn't need to be told twice as you throw a punch. "Again." Another punch, delivered faster than the previous one. He gestures you to keep it going.

You do this for a while until you could feel the sweat trickle down the nape of your neck and your shirt clinging rather uncomfortably and the twinge of soreness on your knuckles. "You can stop now."

You collapse on the floor, you were sure your arms are going to be sore tomorrow. You pant as you face the bright ceiling, letting the exhaustion take over you.

'Maybe, I shouldn't have asked Ralph specifically to train me.'

He toes your form on the floor, you groan, batting his foot away. "C'mon nerd, that was just a warm up."

You glare through narrowed eyes, you see his smug grin blocking the light as he looks down at you. "I'm pretty sure, you did that on purpose."

He shrugs innocently "I dunno whatcha meant, short stack."

He offers a hand to help you up. Still catching your breath, you glance at him then to his offered hand, after making sure he didn't had any tricks up his sleeve, you grasp it, letting him help you up.

Your arms probably haven't recovered from the exertion as your grip loosens from his.

He must've sensed it, because he yanks you up quickly before you drop back on the dojo floor. The motion a bit too fast as your body lurches, crashing into him with an 'oof', he holds your shoulders to steady the both of you.

You look up to see if he was alright.

Bad idea.

You felt as if your heart just stopped. Your hands were splayed out on his chest, and his face was so close, you could feel his breath tickling your hair. The grip on your shoulders was firm but gentle. You could feel blood rushing through your ears, that's probably from standing up too fast. Right?

A knock on the door frame startles the both of you, making you both jump away from each other as if burned.

You see April enter the room with a cheeky grin on her face. You internally groan, you've seen that face on your best friend when your crush walks by. You'll never hear the end of it.

" Sorry to interrupt, mind if I borrow y/n for a second? Donnie said he needed her help."

Your eyes accidentally meet Ralph's as you immediately point your eyes back to April. She gives you a sly smile, "I'll go ahead, y/n."

"Uh. Yeah, sure"

"Sure, Red."

You look at Ralph, a little fidgety all of the sudden. "I'm just gonna.." You trail off, jabbing your thumb at the direction of the exit.

"Oh, yeah, go ahead. "

"So... tomorrow?" He seems a little confused, before realizing you meant the training.

"Depends, if y'can still throw a punch tomorrow. " he jokes.

"Oh, right. Um bye then." Before making a run for the exit, hoping April had really gone ahead. To your dismay she was waiting right out the hall.

You stifle a groan, you try to speed up your pace by walking faster but she seems to have easily caught up. 'Darn, I forgot she was a reporter.'

"So anything you wanna share?"

"Nope" a light lilt to your tone. That doesn't seem to deter her as she presses on.

"So how long has this been going on?"

"Nothing's going on, he was teaching me how to punch, my hands slipped when he tried pulling me up."

"So you guys lovingly holding each other was a part of the slipping thing."

You stop, turning to her, who was definitely looking at you like she found the next scoop for her article.

"What the- there weren't any 'lovingly holding' happening, it was me clumsily shoving myself at him, after losing my grip."

"Riiiiigght." You give her a dead stare, she raises her hands in surrender, giggling. "Alright, alright, I believe you, I saw the whole thing, and was just teasing, but y'know, anyone who could've walked in the right moment would assume otherwise. "

You couldn't help the groan that escapes you, trudging towards the direction of your room.

"So nothing's really going on with you and Ralph?" She says following you.

"None whatsoever."

"Did you wish there was?"

"N-no." You curse yourself for stuttering.

April seems to process your reply as she nods. You glance at her, accompanying you in silence. "What about you? Any guy in your interest?"

She seems to think about it for a while, before shaking her head.

"Yeah, no."

"Oh? What about from work or Donatello? You two seem close." You say nonchalantly.

"Donnie? He's been my bestfriend since we were teens, along with the guys of course."

"You guys met when you were just teens?"

"Yeah, they helped me find my dad..." She says a little wistful.

"So you and Donnie really must've gone way back, huh?"

She just gives an acknowledging 'hmm' in reply. You decided to drop it, not wanting to oust Donnie by accidentally pushing it.

After getting a change of shirt and reapplying your bandages. You both make your way down the lab, you find Donnie between taller stacks of paper than when you have left him.

Mugen and Mikey had decided to play hide and seek in the lab, Donnie doesn't seem to have noticed, or he's decided to ignore them.

"Hey Dee, found your scientist."

He peeks out from the pile of papers, his goggles mounted askew on his face, "Thanks April!"

"No prob, I gotta go train with sensei, I'll see you guys later." She says waving, before making her exit.

"She knows how to do...," you try and find a suitable word for what they do, but in the end you give up, " ninja stuff?"

Donatello looks at you amused, "Ninja stuff?" You shrug.

"Yeah, sensei has been teaching 'ninja stuff' to her since we were teenagers. She doesn't get to train often because of her job but she's definitely getting better at it." You can hear the pride in his voice when he talks about her.

'Too bad. That can be fixed though.'

And here you thought that voice had left you. You decide to block it out as best as you can by ignoring it.

It seems to work, as you pick up the papers scattered haphazardly on his desk. "What's this?"

"I tried running some of his cells through some tests, if I can speed up the aging process to verify whether long avoidance of a Mutagen dip would have negative effects on him, but it- it just doesn't make sense."

"What doesn't make sense?" You ask a little worried.

"All of them dies at the first week or less without one, like they ran out of mutagen battery or something...."

So it was true. And you have less than a week left. You couldn't help the surge of familiar yet foreign anger, at Baxter, at yourself and the damned fates of it all.

'Go, kill...we must... hurry'

You should've thought this all through, should've escaped when the whole experimentation process was finished, but you knew it wouldn't be the same by then. At least, Mugen wouldn't.

Breath y/n. Clear your mind, don't let your thoughts cloud you.

You think for a bit. You need a plan and you need it fast. Your brain working overtime as you devise a strategy to get what you need without sacrificing anyone's lives. You pick up some files quickly scanning the ones you think you might need. Looks like you're going to need all the help you can get.

"I have to go and turn myself in." You mutter, still deep in thought. Donnie drops the pile of papers he was holding as he looks at you stunned.

Mikey who was hiding underneath one of the desks hits his head trying to stand up, as he groans poking his head out to check if he's heard you correctly. "What?"

Mugen tackles him making clicking laughs as he finally found Mikey. You crouch down and call for Mugen, who responds promptly making his way to you,

"Mia-chirp- Mia-chirp-" You smile fondly, picking him up, you look at Donatello who still hasn't moved from his shock.

Mikey seems to have recovered first, as he rushes forward, shaking you. "Angelcakes. You CANNOT throw away your life like that, I made a promise remember? I'm gonna protect you- you got me and the guys."

"What the- what're you talking about Mikey? I'm not throwing my life away." You try to wriggle away from his grip, Mugen seems equally confused as you, carefully pushing Mikey's face away from yours, using the pads of his palms rather than his claws.

"Correct me if I'm wrong, but you just stated you're going to surrender yourself to Baxter? If that isn't throwing your life away then Mikey must be the smartest guy alive." Donnie says, finally snapping out of it.

"Hey! ...I'm gonna ignore that for now, but yeah what he said-ouch!" Mugen manages to deliver a well placed kick to Mikey's shin after his failed attempts in harmlessly keeping him away from you.

Mikey lets go of you, in favor in holding his shin as he hops on one foot. "I thought we were bros, Mugen I am your father! Oh oh. The betrayal. It Hurts." He cries out dramatically falling on the floor.

You and Donnie roll your eyes at his theatrics.

Mugen in return, actually believes he's done real damage as he panics, seeing Donnie he immediately grabs his hand pulling him in Mikey's direction.

Donnie picks him up, "D'aw, don't worry bud, Mikey's just being a baby, he's not really hurt, see? He's just pretending. " Mugen pouts, he looks at Mikey who was now pretending to be dead on the floor, he even takes the mile and sticks out his tongue.

Mugen's frown deepens when he notices Mikey was still breathing, further confirming what Donnie says was true.

In spite or childish anger, he puffs up his cheeks, turning his head away from Mikey. Donnie chuckles, before facing you.

"We have week left, you can't just give yourselves up. We can still make a plan before then...."

"I do have one. I think... Im still working on the kinks of it and I'm gonna need everyone's help." You reason out.

He seems unsure at first, as he nods in understanding. "Alright I'm gonna com everyone, we have a lot of preparation to do, and it doesn't seem like we have much time."

You nod.

If it's you they want, then it's you they'll get, but that won't mean you're going without the intention of burning that place down.

Let's just hope your as good at planning as you're as good at biochemistry.