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 Post subject: Drift
PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:06 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:30 pm
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Location: Shipping Klunk with Spike. Because I am insane.
(VH is a guest writer here, starting up this Round Robin)

Drift


Raph crouches on the soft sand of the river bank and watches the steady flow of water. Thoughts swirl through his brain as he watches small hatchlings escape from their prisons and into liquid freedom.

For a moment, he’s tempted to join them in their habitat and he tenses as half buried memories and impulses run through his mind. He remembers exactly how free he was in his de-mutated state and a hidden part of him surges to the surface, craving so desperately to return to simpler ways. It claws its way through his brain and when he finally wrestles control back to himself, he opens his eyes to find himself in the water.

With a snarl, he climbs back to the riverbank.

Fuck that, he is more than this.

* * *

"Hey, Raphie!" Mike raised a hand in greeting as his brother came into view. He kicked the porch swing into motion again, earning another grunt of annoyance from Donatello, who had been so boring for the last half-hour he'd been perched on the swing, what with his "I'm-trying-to-read-here" and his determination to ignore every attempt Mike made to be conversational.

Not that it looked like Raph would be a lot of fun, either. He stomped up onto the porch, slammed the back screen door open, and then slammed it shut again behind him.

"Wow, what's eating him?" Mike twisted around to look through the screen door, but couldn't see anything.

"The sun rose this morning?" Don speculated without looking up from the pages of his book. "It could be anything, or nothing at all, where Raph's concerned."

Mike turned back around. "That's not fair, Don -- didn't you notice? Ever since we got out here, it's like Raph's all on edge. It's worse than I've ever seen."

Don closed the book around his finger and gave his brother a skeptical look. "Really? Worse than you've ever seen? This is Raph -- the guy who once went on a two-hour rampage because his favorite program had been pre-empted for the State of the Union Address!"

"What was that?" Mike cocked his head, listening.

"The State of the Union?" Don said patiently. "It's a speech that -- "

"Hsst!" Mike frowned, holding up his hand for silence. "I know what that is. I mean, I thought I heard something from inside the house."

"Let me guess," Don rolled his eyes and opened up his book again. "Raph's decided to pick a fight with Leo in order to avoid dealing with the complexities of his emotions -- "

There was a CRASH!! and something flew out of one of the upstairs windows.

Don looked up from his book. "Wow," he said, brows crinkling in surprise, "that's not something you see every day."

* * * *

Something alien and wild scrabbled furiously underneath Raph’s skin, howling in protest as the man-made walls loomed in on him. He struggled against its foreign claustrophobia, gritting his teeth as he forced himself up the stairs, past Leo and Master Splinter in the kitchen. He caught a brief glimpse of startled eyes before he stumbled up into the attic.

He took half a step forward then collapsed onto an ancient couch, panting furiously. The musty darkness soothed that…thing crawling around inside his chest, the haze of untamed fury relaxed enough for his own thoughts to surface.

Raph let out a quiet sigh of relief; he’d gotten home before the craziness that had infected his brain had overtaken him and torn him away from his family forever. Out by the river, it had almost completely overwhelmed him and had he stayed out any longer, he knew his family would have never seen him again.

“Raph?” Leo’s voice penetrated the stagnant air and it broke the spell the darkness had woven; the wildness came surging back to the surface in force.

Not Leo! He frantically screamed as his body shot to its feet and charged his brother. He fought for control. Somehow he managed to turn aside and he watched with a detached sense of astonishment as he mauled a dressmaker’s dummy before sending it through a window.

"Whoa -- whoa!" Leonardo was saying, but he was too late to save the figure from a noisy crash through the window. It took the wire screen right out with it, frame and all, both thumped noisily on the sloped roof of the porch and took several shingles with it as it descended into the shrubbery below.

Raphael's fingers opened and closed and his eyes were twitchy and darting as they scanned the room, looking for something else to attack and destroy -- something that wasn't Leo. He lunged for a rickety night-stand but by then his brother had seized him. His style of grappling was quick and calculating, and he spoke with infuriating calm. "Stop it."

The situation became equal parts terrifying and humiliating. He curled in on himself and began shaking uncontrollably, and it felt as though there were a second skin overlying his own that was too hot and crawling, sliding and bouncing over his pores like the foam pebbles in a bean bag. His vision became jagged and and sketchy, jags of color, writhing shadows, and visual noise.

Worse yet, more eyes would soon be on them. He could hear them crashing up the stairs and then he could feel the blaze of their curious, searching gazes looking in from the open doorway. His body would not obey the screaming commands of his frantic mind. There was no where to go but deeper inward.

"I -- I don't know what's wrong," Leonardo said unsteadily. He released Raphael immediately and shot up to his feet. The glimpse Raph caught of his face looked sickened -- maybe it was embarrassment. He wasn't any happier than Raph to be caught wrestling his batshit crazy brother to the floor.

"What if it's the thing, dude -- the leech!" Mike was pointing and stammering like a moron.

"There's is nothing wrong with him," Donatello declared. His tone was so decisive and sharp that everyone but Raph himself turned to stare in mute surprise.

"Th'fuck there isn't!" Raph managed to spit, his eyes ground shut and his teeth bared in a snarl. "Fucking -- help me -- or get away from me!"

"Out. Get out, both of you," Don demanded, pointing at the door with one hand as he stalked over to Raph. He loomed over the cowering turtle with a demeanor of readiness but paused before taking any further action. Donatello stared until Leo and Mike both seemed to recognize that his expression was becoming his patented Death Glare. They ducked their heads closer to their shoulders and quickly scooted out the door without another word.

Only when they were gone did the other turtle crouch down beside his brother. He placed a cool hand on the back of the other turtle's neck and said quietly, "We defeated it, Raph. And what's happening right now is you're having a panic attack. I'm not going to patronize you and say things like "it's all in your head", like this is something you can shake off. So what we're going to do is, we're just going to wait. And you're going to listen to my boring voice, and eventually it's going to pass. And when it does, we never have to talk about any of this again -- because really, who needs that? What you went through -- God, Raph, I can only imagine how traumatizing it was. But it's not happening again. That slimy bastard was defeated, remember? Plus, you haven't gone anywhere near any natural bodies of fresh water ever since."

Raph had come to his senses enough that he was able to scowl furiously. He wouldn't look at Don, but he could hear the apologetic smile in his voice as he added. "Sorry. I can't help it. I notice pretty much everything."

* * * *
He can do this. He’s been doing things like this all his life. The rooftops are Raphael’s kingdoms, he’s performed backflips on ground crumbling beneath him, has ran across poles thinner than his feet. He’s been transported across the galaxy and pulled stunts like this in alien cities.

His muscles shake and his brain can’t seem to direct them to make movements that should come as naturally as breathing. But Michelangelo’s taunts echo in his ears and he forces himself to up onto the roof even though every inch of his body screams that this is a BAD idea.

It can’t be that hard. All he has to do is get over there, tag Mikey and make sure they continue this game inside. He just needs to cross the rooftop to his smirking brother who was performing a hand stand as if taunting Raph’s confused muscles and reflexes.

It shouldn’t be that hard.

Raphael takes a step and-

Falls.

Gravity eagerly snags his unsupported body and he has a split-second to comprehend that he’s about to die here-

A hand harshly closes on his wrist and he comes to a brutal halt, almost smacking into the wall. Somehow, Mikey has lunged forward in time and grabbed him just before he became a bloody mess on the ground below.

Slowly, his head inches up. His diminished muscles burn in envy at the ease at which his brother had managed to seize him, hanging halfway off the roof. Michelangelo’s eyes rest upon his and for a moment they share the horror of what almost had happened.

Eventually, he remembers how to breathe.

* * * *

But when Raph finally could open his eyes, it wasn't Michelangelo holding him. It was Don. His eyes became round and haunted.

"Raph," Don said softly. He was squinting with equal parts concern and amazement. "Where did you go just now? You stopped hearing me."

"It was happening, it was happening again. I was back," Raph babbled under his breath. "It was all going to--" It was all he could get out before his throat closed. He tried to pull away from his brother and shuddered.

Donatello's hand reasserted itself on his shoulder. "It was a memory. A terrible, traumatizing memory. But it's over now. I promise you."

A memory? God, it had all been so real. Every moment had felt like the present, ultra vivid and technicolor. The cold acidic slice of fear, the vertigo of falling. The grip of his brother's hand. "Y'weren't there," he tried to insist. "Y'didn't feel how--"

"We WERE there," Don insisted, and something in his stance made Raph look askance at him. Damned if he wasn't trying desperately to sound exactly like Leo, firm and intimidating. "We were all there, last summer. But it was the past. It was defeated, I swear to you, Raph."

He was no Leo and Raph's face became slightly wry.

Donatello scowled faintly when he read Raph's skepticism. He rose to his feet and squared his shoulders, smoothly switching tactics. "Why don't you just prove it to me? Pick yourself up, steady your breathing, and stop talking like a crazy person or I'm going to strip you and systematically search your body for leeches. And when I don't find any, I'm going to start suggesting various psychosomatic drugs."

This tactic was far more effective. Raph was on his feet in no time, fists clenched and staring hard at Donatello. Those were fighting words.

But it wasn't Donatello's aim to fight. He gave Raph a vague nod of what looked like approval and clapped his shoulder. "It's over. And I will die before I let anything like that happen to you again."

Raphael really preferred to be angry at Don -- but after a statement like that, he didn't know how. His dangerous look became a puzzled frown.

"I'm going to make sure Mike isn't spazzing and Leo isn't pacing a hole in the floorboards downstairs... Come on down when you're ready, okay? Or they'll send me up to fetch you. But, I know you're going to be fine."

Raph watched him go. And deep in his heart, some wild tremor of fear was still singing. He couldn't help thinking, what if you're wrong? Don usually wasn't, to be fair. But he had been wrong about Raph staying away from bodies of fresh water. He HAD worked up the courage, and look where it had got him?

He couldn't help wishing that his brother had not been quite so sure. It was a long time before he could bring himself to descend the stairs.

* * * *


“All right, Raphael. Begin again.”

Sweat beading on his skin, the turtle once again attempted the simplest of katas. And although Splinter did not stop him this time, Raphael knew it was all wrong. He performed the movements, but the timing, the fluidity, the precision, the implicit power that made it what it more than just a series of movements just wasn’t there. He didn’t feel it.

* * * *

"What's wrong with Raph?" Mike's voice was uncharacteristically quiet.

Leonardo didn't look up from the book he was pretending to read. If he had, his brother would have seen something shiver across his face, something young and scared. "I don't know," he said finally, long after Michelangelo had stopped expecting an answer.

* * * *

"What's wrong with me?"

Donatello's restless hands stilled on the keyboard. He closed his eyes and sighed. As he did, he seemed to grow smaller. "I'm...not sure, Raph."

"Huh." Don's bed creaked as his brother sat down heavily on it. "Least you didn't lie to me and act like there's nothin' wrong," Raphael muttered.

"No," Don turned in his chair to really look at Raph. "You know I wouldn't do that to you."

"But you don't know what it is!" Raph's eyes flashed. "You've been lookin' for something, right? You've got some ideas?" He took a deep breath, and held it -- a new habit he'd developed, instinctively trying to fend off a panic attack.

It never really worked, though. "Don't do that," Don came to sit next to Raphael on the edge of the bed. "The oxygen deprivation, even as slight as that, makes it worse. Just breathe, Raph. Breathe as deeply and slowly as you can."

"I hate this," Raphael ducked his head and clenched his hands together. "I can't stand this. I can't, I can't -- " the walls were closing in on him. The humming of the computers were suddenly as loud as jet engines. He had to get up, get out, get away!

"Calm down, Raph. It's just a panic attack, just like before. We're just going to wait it out, remember? We're just -- "

"No!" Raph jumped up, trembling. The cracked ceiling was way too close. He couldn't look at his brother -- he was afraid of what he might do to Don. "I just, I gotta, I-I..."

"Breathe, Raph," Don's voice was low and calm.

But he couldn’t. Every breath he drew was pinched and painful, like a great weight was pressing on his chest, and the hammering of his heart thudded through every sinew of his body. He reached out almost blindly, groping for something, anything to anchor him, and all the while his breaths came shorter, more ragged…

“Raph.” This time the calm voice was once again accompanied by a firm touch, and Raphael grasped his brother’s arm as he went to his knees.

The voice came again—more distant, it seemed, but still in that even, familiar tone. “Raphael. Stop fighting, and just breathe.”

But Raph would never stop fighting—couldn’t even allow himself the thought of it, or else next time… next time… he was sure he'd be lost for good.

* * * *

“Time to level with me, Don—do you think there’s something really wrong with him? Medically?”

“I… don’t think so,” Donatello answered, but he had the decency to avert his eyes as he said so. Still, he could feel Leo’s eyes boring into him, and he lifted his eyes again and said, “I mean, I can’t be sure… if we were back at the lair, I could run some tests, but even those could very well be inconclusive.”

“Maybe we should go back,” Leo said. “If you tell Master Splinter, I’m sure he’d agree. Raph can’t go on like this. These, these, panic attacks, or whatever they are, are getting worse. Even you trying to talk him down isn’t working—he just hyperventilates and passes out. Maybe it would help him to get away from here, to go home.” To be away from the River…

Don shook his head slowly. “We can see what Master Splinter thinks, but I can’t help feeling that…” He hesitated.

“That what?” Leo asked sharply.

“I don’t know. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, or whatever, but I feel like this is just something Raph has to figure out how to deal with. And something tells me that leaving here would be a mistake."


Last edited by vacant houses on Wed May 25, 2011 7:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Drift
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2011 7:53 pm 
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Location: Shipping Klunk with Spike. Because I am insane.
* * * *

“Stupid, idiotic, useless-“ Raph continued his tirade under his breath as he stomped through grass and bushes to get to the river.

He’d had enough of waiting around for the next panic attack and for Don to come up with some sort of explanation; he was down here to figure out what the hell was going on with him. This is where the craziness had started ever so long ago when his brothers had thought it would be a fucking hilarious prank to stick a leech on him. Turned out there’s absolutely nothing hilarious about demutating and it was too freaking bad Raph had to have gone through it before they learned that lesson.

His brothers might have meant it as a harmless joke but it was no comfort at all for the coldness that immediately spread inside him at the sight of any large body of water.

Raph was close now and he knew that because his legs had morphed into lumps of iron and it took every effort to drag them forward. For Christ’s sake, he’d just been down here only a couple of days ago, what the hell was wrong with him? This was ridiculous.

He gritted his teeth and forced himself onwards. It was just water. It wasn’t even alive! He couldn’t possibly be afraid. That would be stupid. It would absolutely humiliating. He was going to get down there and he was going to prove that stupid part of him wrong-

Involuntarily, Raphael drew to a sudden halt as he was hit by a strong blast of deja-vu.

This was how it started last time. He’d been so determined to prove that he wasn’t scared of leeches; he’d stuck his shell in that damn cave and stupidly provided Bloodsucker direct access to the mutagen.

The river...it was so close. He glanced back along the path he’d trundled along to get here, gnashing his teeth in frustration.

Fuck.

He closed his eyes. It didn't help. He was already slipping back into the folds of memory and opening his mind to that fateful day.

The baby turtle was impossibly small in his cupped, three-fingered hands. Suddenly it didn't matter that his brothers had been searching the woods for him, intent on kicking his ass. All of his surly mood vanished at the magical sight of them. He had no idea whether or not he had been born in captivity, but he preferred to dream that it was someplace like this: the golden sun beating down on logs and slates of shale, scuttling through the silt, and lazy water reeds drifting in the currents of the river.

Raph had been drawn to this one's frantic movements in particular. More than just lively, this tiny creature had moved with a panic that Raphael could not understand. It seemed whole enough, with no bite marks or deformities. Freshly hatched, the shell and plastron were surprisingly soft. Raphael did his best to hold it gingerly, irrationally afraid of crushing it. He wasn't expecting it to feel quite so fragile. And its underside was unexpectedly... slimy?

Carefully, he flipped the tiny creature onto its back -- and just barely avoided dropping it in surprise.

"He's got a leech stuck to him? Ugh! I hate leeches! Hate 'em, hate 'em, hate 'em!"

His stomach lurched, and all the while some part of him was screaming "NO! LEAVE IT BE! This is how it all starts!" But his hands wouldn't listen. The stick was already in his hands, trying to pry the parasite off the hatchling's plastron without touching it. It could not feed through the tiny reptile's chest plates, but they were soft enough that the slimy beast had decent purchase.

"Did you hear that, Brother Mike?" There was a nasty note in Leo's voice.

Almost got it...!

"Can't stand leeches, he says, Brother Leo!" Mike replied, picking up on Leo's word choice instantly and affecting a stuffy accent to match it.

There!

Donatello was terrible at accents, but that didn't stop him from trying to join their game. "Why, I didn't think Brother Raph was afraid of anything!"

"Bleeagh!" Raph eyed the leech squirming on the end of his stick. "Disgusting bloodsucker! You're going for a ride upriver, as soon as soon as I let this little guy go."

That little voice in his brain was still screaming: NO! CRUSH IT! KILL IT NOW! Before they--

Too late! His brothers seized him from behind. They were strong -- much stronger than he was, collectively.

"We don't think you're being friendly, Raph."

"He wants to be your friend!"

"Yeah, see? He likes you, Raph."

"No -- c'mon, guys. Don't! Get it off my foot!"

Raphael tried with all his might, but failed to break free.

"GET IT OFF! I CAN'T STAND IT!"

They were lifting him off the ground now. He kicked uselessly and thrashed at empty air.

"If you can't stand it -- then you'd better swim for it!"

He hit the riverbed hard and continued to struggle. Water and mud filled his lungs as he tried to scream.

It was happening all over again.

* * * *

No air.

His lungs flared helplessly but he didn’t make the mistake of breathing in. The iron crush on his lungs had sent a shock through his system; suddenly Raph was no longer trapped by the memory of taunting laughter but in the icy grasp of the river’s current instead. Through slitted eyes, he caught sight of grimy rocks and pebbles and sand and he corrected himself, wearily pushing his oxygen deprived body to the surface.

Amidst the bubbling water, a dark shape loomed above him and suddenly helping hands pulled him up. Raph caught a brief glimpse of Mikey’s startled face as he broke the surface and he quickly took in a deep gasp of precious air. Without a word, his brother helped him paddle to the riverbank, they flopped onto the soft sand and for a few moments the only sound Raph could hear was his own laboured breathing.

“Fuck,” he panted at last when he felt sufficiently recovered. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”

“Drowning yourself, Raphie boy, is sooo not the way to go,” Mikey groaned, “Next time, I vote Leo or Don saves you.”

Raph made it to his knees and his eyes widened as he tracked how far down river they’d come. He hadn’t been in the water for a couple of seconds; it had to have been several minutes. Several long minutes.

Coldness began to spread up his chest and he collapsed in on himself as his lungs began to crumple. How long had he been travelling downstream, so tightly wound in the memory that it was only when his body began to suffer from the lack of oxygen that he was able to pull himself free. They were capable of staying underwater for quite a while.

He could have drowned.

“Don’t freak!” Mikey said quickly, rolling over. “Think of, think of stabbing Foot ninja! Football! Wrestling! Um, manly things that have manly grunting involved!”

Raph blearily raised his head and shot a glance at him. “What,” he said instead, “are you doing here?”

“What does it look like? I just saved your life,” Mikey said with a dismissive wave. “I’m so awesome.”

Mikey settled back on the sand, a challenging look in his eye, daring Raph to question him further. But Raph said nothing. Unspoken, they allowed the near-death experience and the fact Mikey had been tailing him to bury itself between them.

* * * *

“And where is Raphael now?” Splinter asked coolly.

“He’s… well he went off somewhere,” Don answered. “Mike’s keeping an eye on him,” he added hastily, exchanging a look with Leo standing beside him.

Splinter nodded slightly—in approval, Don hoped. “And do you feel it is in Raphael’s best interests if we return to the lair?”

Don shifted his weight a little, and said, “I’d be able to run some tests there, which may help rule out physical causes for what he’s experiencing. So medically speaking—”

“I did not ask for your medical opinion,” Splinter broke in, and Don, who had been looking vaguely upward as he rattled off his answer, immediately snapped his gaze to the old rat’s face.

“Sensei?” he said hesitantly, and his face heated as he felt Leo staring at him too.

Splinter held his eyes for a moment. “I have seen you around him, Donatello. And I have seen how you act when one of your brothers is injured. If you believed he was ill, you would not be here today asking me if we should return—you would have been here days ago, commanding it.”

Don opened his mouth, but it was several seconds before he could find his voice. “I wouldn’t, um… I mean sure, I might advise…”

Splinters face relaxed just slightly, giving his eyes a softer look. “That was not meant as a criticism. But I am right, yes?”

The turtle nodded, reluctantly, and quickly looked down.

“When you speak to him,” Splinter continued, “you do not act as you might towards one who is ill. So I ask again: Do you think it is in your brother’s best interests to go back to the lair?”

Still keeping his eyes downcast, Don muttered, “No, Sensei.”

“And Leonardo. What do you think?” Splinter said, calmly switching his gaze to his other son.

Leonardo cleared his throat lightly. “I think that maybe if Raphael came to talk to you, perhaps there is a way you could help him, Sensei.”

“Ah, yes. We could talk and meditate, and you would hope this would help your brother come to terms with what he has been through.”

“Yes, Sensei.”

Splinter considered for a moment. “That is probably the most rational course of action—and if were you…” he paused here, momentarily catching Leo’s eye, “It might work. But… it is not you. I know it pains you to see your brother suffering—but wishing for a… quick fix,” he said, reaching for the phrase, “does not mean that one is possible, or even advisable.”

He turned back to Donatello. “We do not yet know the full nature of Raphael’s struggle. We must all offer him our support—but we must not rush him. For now, we will stay where we are. And we will wait.”


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 Post subject: Re: Drift
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:46 pm 
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Location: The eye of the storm (or something similarly witty)
This update is... breathtaking. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Drift
PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2011 8:42 pm 
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Location: Deeply immersed in my second childhood
Raphael stares out the window of the bedroom he usually sleeps in at the farm. It doesn't face the forest and the long, slow slope down to the river. Instead, it faces the barn and the fallow fields beyond it. A decaying wooden fence edges the nearest field. Raph knows that this fence extends all the way up to the distant road, and if he leaned out the window and looked to his right, he could look at it marching off for almost a quarter of a mile before it turns.

He doesn't lean out the window.

Raphael stares out at the barn and the fence, and lets his eyes and his thoughts linger on all the rotting, wooden, human-made futility of the structures in front of him, and tries not to think about the river at all.

Sometimes, he's even successful for a few seconds.

* * * *

"So is he still, y'know?" Mike dropped his voice to a whisper as he dried dishes and put them away in the cabinets.

"Hm?" Don blinked down at the sudsy water, clearly coming back from some distant thoughts. His hands went on mechanically scrubbing the dinner plates and moving them into the second sink for rinsing, a task that didn't need any brain power at all. "Is who what now?"

Michelangelo looked around furtively, and stepped closer to his brother. His voice was almost too low to be heard. "You know -- Raph! Is he still, uh, having 'issues'?"

Donatello looked at the air quotes with an expression of distaste. "I'm not going to discuss this like it's some kind of celebrity gossip, Mike," he said shortly.

"No no no, of course not!" Michelangelo frowned, now. "It's not like that. Damn it, Don, you know I wouldn't...it's not like that." He fell silent while they went on with the chore of cleaning up the kitchen after dinner. His frown didn't fade while he stacked dishes and fitted the pans back into the cabinets. Finally he said, "I just gotta know, is it getting any worse? 'Cause watching him try to drown himself was easily one of the top five Worst Moments of My Life, and I just need to know if I gotta adjust my standards. It was four days ago -- are we in for a repeat performance?"

"I...don't know," Don admitted with a sigh. "I just don't know." His mouth tightened.

Mike watched his brother for a second. "There's got to be something we can do."

* * *

They were talking about him.

Raph’s grip tightened on the banister at the top of the stairs and resisted the urge to storm down there and-what? Yell at them for prying their beaks into his business? Trying to figure out the craziness that had infected his brain? They were just trying to help.

Cheh, yeah, he thought. Good luck with that.

He scowled and backed into his room, crossing over to reach the window. He wasn’t going to stay in here if his trained ears were just going to pick up the dull murmur of conversation about him. Raph carefully slid the window open and slipped out.

Images and sensations flashed through his brain-the horrible feeling of weightlessness, the cold rush of air- Raph gritted his teeth and tightened his hold on the window sill. This- this was nothing; he’d been jumping down heights larger than this since he was six. Carefully he made his way down to the ground, and hated himself every inch of the way for being such a coward.

He ground his teeth, and ground himself in the here and now, but nonetheless there were moments that the dream of Mikey and the Fall yawned beneath him and threatened to swallow him.

Involuntarily his eyes were drawn off to the distant trees. Raph growled and shook his head. He wasn’t going over there. But what else? He couldn't hang around the house knowing his brothers were gossiping about his brain. Just picturing the two of them laughing behind his back made him furious with anger. His eyes swept the yard and fell onto the old barn. There. He could chill out in the barn until dinner time and not have to worry about having nosy brothers somewhere in the background watching over him.

He stepped inside the musty old barn.

Something ploughed into his face hard, before his eyes had enough time to adjust to the darkness. He spat his helmet's mouthgard from between his teeth in surprise, blinking and reeling with confusion.

His... Mouthguard?

His dizzy gaze dropped to the ground and refused to focus properly. The shadows had stretched across the floor, red and entirely wrong for midday. The shadows. They were wrong. Oh god. He was drifting again, drifting away from what was real. No, no, no.

There was no time to comprehend anything more than a seeping sense of horror. His head was spinning and he struggled to focus on something solid in front of him.

Leonardo.

Holy moly. Leo looked pretty impressive, cutting a striking black shape against the open barn doors, silhouetted in the glare of an amber sunset. Both swords were poised in a ready battle stance. Raph gaped with open appreciation.

His brother finally looked down at Raphael and his mouth twisted with open disdain. "Well are you just going to stand there? Phah!" He tossed his twin ninjaken away, harmlessly pinning a heap of straw with deadly aim without even looking. "Back to bokken and boffers, if you insist on acting like a five-year-old. I can't believe you're so dedicated to this stupid game!" His hands shoved hard at Raph's chest, hard enough to send him crashing backwards into one of three heavy beams holding up the barn's rickety roof.

Raph tucked his head in close like Master Splinter had taught them, protecting his neck and soaking any damage he might have taken with his heavily armored shell. He also tucked his tail in to keep from pinching it beneath him as he landed hard on his rump. He shrieked with laughter as he went down. "My butt!" he wailed, clutching at it. "You BROKE it!"

Leonardo wasn't laughing. He was being sooooo serious, glowering and gnashing his teeth as he snapped a helmet over his shiny dome of a lima bean head. Then his brother stalked over to a crate near the mouth of the barn and produced a pair of padded bo staves. Both ends had been cushioned with upholstery foam stuffed in dish towels and wrapped liberally with duct tape, rendering them relatively harmless. Surely Leonardo meant the weapons as an insult of the highest order, but Raphael only widened his eyes and scrambled to his feet, murmuring, "Cooool. Just like American Gladiators!" He stretched his hands forward and made gimme fingers at the weapons. "Let's play. I get to be Diamond."

"Diamond?" Leonardo says, real low and no-nonsense, swinging his homemade weapons like a baton-twirling show-off. "I'm pretty sure Diamond was played by a girl... ugh, why do I even remember that?" He flung one of the staves at Raphael, savage but predictable, swinging with all his might.

Raphael barely managed to get his hands up in time to catch the oncoming weapon. The force was enough to knock him backwards several steps and left both of his palms stringing with pain. But if there's one thing Raphie knows how to do, it's take a licking without being a wuss! It's actually pretty funny how Leo is trying so hard to look mean, huffing and puffing. The defending turtle propped the childish weapon in the crook of his arm to nursing his main hand and grin at Leo like an idiot. "Who cares? Still woulda kicked YOUR butt!"

Leonardo's face darkened. "I will NOT play this game with you!" He loomed then, and swung the padded staff at Raphael in a devastating series of blows that began like frustrated slaps that began to fall like sudden driving rain.

“NO!” the little voice inside his head protested in horrified realization. Raphael suffered a terrible out-of-body rush of vertigo and horror as he began to understand -- he had become that tiny screaming voice. He was trapped -- but where? A memory? A supernatural attack? He raked his hands but couldn't seem to find his own face, and despaired. Not this. Please. Please stop. I was too stupid at the time. I don't want to see it clearly. I don't want to know.

Leo raised the padded bo to strike him again and again. Raph tried but only managed to block some of those steady, rhythmic, unrelenting blows. He began to flinch backwards and lowered his center of gravity, clumsy and more defensive and timid than Leo had seen him fight in years.

Raphael's eyes grew wider and wider. The voice in the back of his head was confusing him. Its screams became louder and meaner. “STOP HIM! FUCKING STOP HIM! YOU KNOW HOW TO STOP HIM! You had better get up or he’s going to hit you again!

Get up? Was he on the ground? Raphael dizzily assessed the situation and decided that he was. Crud.

The next blow was merciless, catching him sharply across the face and splitting his lip on his teeth. Raphael was too slow to stop that one.

He's too slow to stop all the ones that follow.

His helmet breaks to pieces under the furious cyclone of his big brother's blows. Raphael can offer up no counter attack. It is all he can manage not to be socked from one end of the barn to the other.

Man, it hurts. Raph could give a crap about the lumps and bruises that Leonardo's whupping is going to leave on his arms, legs, and face. But he doesn't understand why Leo wants to hurt him for real. He thought that they were just playing American Gladiators. Master Splinter said American Gladiators didn't really hurt themselves. More and more it looks like maybe Leo hates him and he has no idea why!

Oh, right. They said he wasn't doing good enough in training. Or maybe it was because he was such a pain yesterday at supper.

Leonardo disarmed him with a sneer and kicked him to the ground. The padded bo whipped overhead like the blades of a helicopter, buffeting Raph's face with wind. "You win!" he squeaked, cringing into a ball and wrapping his arms around his head protectively. Once, this gesture was recognized by his brothers as the universal sign of surrender. "You win this round, 'kay, Leo? I d'wanna play this game anymore..."

His chunky fingers opened just a crack, peeking up at Leonardo nervously. Big brother had frozen mid-swing, staring at him.

Slowly -- very slowly -- Leo lowered the padded weapon and tossed it onto the ground beside him. It landed with a clatter and he noticed with some detachment that the duct tape had split and it was coming apart. He tore the helmet from his own face and continued to stare into the earnest, baffled face that had become a mess of bruises. Raph's left eye was beginning to swell shut and his mouth and chin were smeared with blood.

"I'm sorry, Leo... Sorry for being stupid." Raph croaked, leaping at Leo suddenly and throwing his arms around his brother's neck. Leonardo felt nothing but numb. Now he sank like a stone, letting his brother's weight drag him to his knees. "And I'm sorry for flinging April's taters at everybody. I'm sorry, Leo. I didn't know you would hate me so much for it. Let's be buds again... okay?"

“Raph,” his brother said softly, voice strange and distorted as though from a great distance, “Raph. I'm sorry. Ancestors... This can't be real. This can't really be you."

The words were wrong; wasn’t Leo supposed to be apologizing? "Huh?" Raph twisted in Leo's arms, trying to give his brother a puzzled frown. But Leo was holding him tightly now -- squishing Raph against his chest plates so hard that he could barely breathe.

"This isn't happening. It's a horrible trick you're playing. You'll come back to us. You've got to come back..." The rest became unintelligible as Leonardo began to sob in earnest. "Can't be real. It isn't. Raph."

Raph huddled quietly as Leo rocked him, his shoulders shaking. It was weird at first, but he eventually relaxed and even cuddled against his big brother willingly. Raph chose to politely ignore the fact that the other turtle was being a crybaby. These things happen. Obviously Raph should have told Leo he was sorry sooner.

In less than two minutes Leo composed himself and fell silent -- but they stayed like that for a time, sprawled on the floor of the barn and clinging to one another.

"It's not real, Raph," his brother was still murmuring. "Come back to me. Hey, you. Wake up."

Raphael stirred and rubbed at phantom pains that were still throbbing in his face. "Fell asleep? M'sorry... m'sorry for everything."

The hand that had been shaking him went very still. Leo's answering words were grave and stiff. "You have got no reason at all to be sorry."

The here and now came back to Raphael in a rush. The memories of being a lack-wit degenerate displaced rapidly and left him gasping for air. Suddenly he was shoving away from Leo and curling up amidst the sparse straw on the ground at the barn's doorway. Leo crouched down in front of him, no padded weapons or helmets in sight, his brother was armed with his ninjaken instead.

The other turtle gazed at him with haunted, all-too-perceptive eyes. They left Raph with a terrible suspicion that Leo knew exactly which memory he'd just been trapped in.

“Shit,” Raph wheezed, his body shook with panicked tremors that he couldn’t contain, “That-fuck-” his throat clenched and squeezed out the few words his brain had managed to scrap together.

“Raph-”

“Shut up!” he spat desperately, trying to scrabble for some semblance of control but his brother’s voice had distracted him, sending him far away from the here and now. The shadows lengthened and reddened, then relaxed. Objects, Leo’s ninjaken, a helmet, the splintered bo, appeared in the corner of his eye and vanished again as he shook his head. The world wavered in front of him and a thousand sounds echoed inside his brain.

His head throbbed with pain as he struggled to sort through the input of memories. For a brief second, he was seated on a chair in Casey’s kitchen, laughing as he sent a bowl of casserole flying through the air. Then Raph was back on the roof, his wrist ached in memory of Mikey’s rough grasp saving him from the fall. The scene skipped again, he was holding on to the steering wheel of the Chevy for dear life as it roared out of control and smashed into the old windmill.

STOP! His voice was drowned out helplessly amidst the maelstrom of the past. The images and sounds began to meld together, he was playing that old computer game with Don, but the game somehow had been transmuted into a cruel parody. Instead, he was controlling a small, pixelated Leo who was mercilessly beating the life out a digital, defenceless Raphael.

With a horrified yelp, Raph backed away from the keyboard. For a moment, he was aware of Leo, the barn, the feel of straw on his skin and his brother’s voice screaming for help.

Which was wrong, he wondered briefly. Leo never needed help.

Then the slideshow started up again and he slid deeper in delusion.


“We need to figure out what’s happening, Don. And fast.”


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 27, 2011 11:07 pm 
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This was where it started.

Mikey stared down the rushing water, searching for an answer to this insanity in the murky depths. He may have pulled Raphael out of the river but somehow it felt like his brother was still trapped in its icy grasp, drowning in the chaos inside his brain. Raph hadn’t woken since his latest attack in the barn and Mikey couldn’t take another moment spent hovering nervously outside his brother’s room, listening to Don and Leo bounce useless theories between them.

This was where it started. There had to be something, a clue, a reason, anything to what was going on. He stood carefully on the river bank and watched the water flow, trying to convince himself he wasn’t grasping at straws.

The river ignored Mikey’s desperate need for answers and bubbled gently past.

Biting his lip nervously, Mike went to one knee and slid his left hand carefully into the water. "I know you're here," he muttered, self-conscious. He wiggled his fingers a little bit, then stilled them with an effort. "Come and get me. Tasty mutant turtle blood, right here..."

Nothing happened.

"C'mon!" he glanced upstream, "I'm here! You wanted mutant turtle, and now you've got one right in front of you."

Now would be the perfect time for one of my brothers to come along and say, 'Mikey, what do you think you're doing?', he thought. Mike glanced over his shoulder, half-hoping that one or more of his brothers would be standing there, looking skeptical and amused. I'd tell him my screwball idea to capture that leech, he'd laugh at me, we'd go home...everything just peachy-keen, no problems here!

His hand dipped further into the murky water. Mike let out a breath he hadn't meant to hold, and tried to remember what it had been like on the day the leech came and scrambled Raph's brains the first time. It was hot. Sunny. Turtle eggs were hatching.

An ordinary day at the farm, in every way, until...Michelangelo shivered with the guilt that crashed on him. "This is my fault," he said mournfully. Then he shook his head, cleared his throat, and said it again, firmly, to the bubbling water. "This is my fault. My fault! So come and get me, wherever you are! I won't even fight you -- come and get me, you stupid leech!"

He braced himself against the ground and lowered his hand into the water up to his elbow. "C'mon! I know you're not afraid of me! Come and get me, you stupid maggot!" His mouth wouldn't shape any more timid pleas. His voice wouldn't stop rising. "I'm right here, you pus-filled excuse for a life-form! Are you too stupid to recognize what I'm offering? Is it straining your microscopic brain to think about all of the mutant blood over here? You were so happy to take my brother, why the fuck won't you come and get me?!"

His cheek was flat against the ground now, the fresh, rich decay of the mud and the fishy stench of the river flooding his nostrils, and he strained his arm outward until the river swallowed it all the way up to his shoulder. Michelangelo squeezed his eyes shut, waiting to feel the pull, waiting for… something… but all he felt was the gentle drag of the current, and the cool and infuriating ambivalence of the water. With a sob, Mike let go, and unthinkingly flung himself head-first into the river.

If It wouldn’t come for him, he’d go and find It.


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 Post subject: Re: Balls Again
PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:33 am 
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... Moar plz? *puppy dog eyes*

(Very sneaky, almost tricked me with the new thread title!)


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 Post subject: Re: Drift
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:55 pm 
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It wasn’t cold.

In fact, given his distinct lack of wetness, Mikey could hazard a guess that something has gone wrong and weird, which was a sadly accurate summary of his life so far. There was the rough scent of incense choking his throat, a grey mist that flowed like a fluid about him, tangled and complex and he’d been caught in the midst of the weave. And beneath, a rippling darkness that Mikey instinctively knew was the river, the real river. Somehow reality had decided to evict Mikey from the premises; no, someone had set this up, had deliberately laid some sort of mystic trap about this spot.

A flash of cold fear ran through him; was this the work of the Old Man of the River? Had he somehow survived and was attempting to strike back at the mutant family, at Raphael for defeating Bloodsucker? The River had been his domain for thousands of years, the very source of his power. He’d been entwined with the River’s very essence, and the possibility that he could be haunting it suddenly seemed a very real and terrifying possibility.

Mikey cautiously moved an arm, the…mystic stuff…haze…fog rippled and contracted. Suddenly he was thrust into a scene, the sound of cruel laughter echoing harshly through his ears and something told him he was about to relive a day he’d never wanted to remember again.

Except-

-He was on his back, limbs flailing helplessly as his brothers held him down-

What-

-Taunting words flowed from their lips as he begged them to let him go-

This was wrong, no, it was right except-

-They laughed as he struggled to free himself from their arms, then one of his brothers approached, the black leech held carefully -

He hadn’t been the victim.

And just as suddenly as it had started, he was thrust back into the greyness, heart thumping away inside his plastron as he struggled to come to grips with Raphael’s memory, the sheer horror permeating the impressions of sound and images.

Oh, they’d always teased Raph about insects but it had always been a Raph thing, Raph does not like bugs. He’s not afraid of them, no; he just hated the blasted critters. And the sky is blue and the Earth revolves around the sun. It’s a fact of life. Raph does not like bugs. He always made a big show of disgust about any unfortunate insect he happened to come across, but when one lived in a sewer for their entire life, having a phobia about insects just wasn’t possible. At some point, the fear simply wore off (in Raph’s case, it happened so early in their life, Mikey couldn’t actually recall a time when Raph was really afraid of bugs).

And yet…

He’d felt fear in that memory. A cold terror that saturated every inch of his being. And that wasn’t quite right. Raph had been annoyed at them that day, accepting the brotherly teasing and ribbing with his usual bluster. But this…fear, it felt wrong, out of place with what Mikey knew had happened. He moved his hand cautiously and was thrust back into the memory.

And after a moment, he saw it. Raph knew what was going to happen, was aware that he was reliving a memory and that had him terrified. An all-encompassing fear that drained the fight from his bones and turned his mind blank. No control, something whispered to Mikey, and it was desperate and scared and he couldn’t differentiate whether the thought came from his mind or not, nocontrolnocontrolnocontrolit'sgonnahappenagainpleasestop!

The coldness faded. He was back in the dark mists of the psychic trap. He gagged on the scent of incense, rough sandalwood poured down his throat accompanied by a whirlwind myriad of split-second impressions, fur, fabric, sharp keratin clawing at his shell and then one pair of bright eyes stared down at him and regarded him curiously. As soon as that last image faded, the storm died and he realized he was floating down river.

For a long while Mikey laid limp, allowed the water to guide his body this way and that. His mind floated with a loose detachment as he numbly tried to piece things together. Then, with a snap everything came together. Mikey kicked frantically for the shore, dragged himself onto sandy ground then he was up, sprinting through the forest.

I don’t believe this.


Anger, confusion and betrayal bounced about inside himself as he hurried and when he finally reached the house, he was shaking with fury. Michelangelo’s fingers fumbled with the doorhandle, the urge to strike out at something-someone-anything!- scrambling his co-ordination as he tried to keep himself under control.

The thought that this was what it was like to be Raph flitted briefly through his mind. It wasn’t a far-fetched possibility, after all -- he had just been trawling through his brother’s memories, perhaps a part of Raphael had latched onto him.

It was a terrifying thought.

I don’t want to go crazy, Mikey thought unhappily. He paused, then amended forlornly, I don’t want Raph’s craziness as well.

Finally his fingers remembered how to work; he stormed past his startled brothers in the kitchen, up the stairs to Raphael’s room. Standing outside the door, the anger grew like a tidal wave, overwhelming, sheer fury choking his throat just as the phantasm scent of incense had only a few minutes ago.

I have to be wrong. Please let me be wrong. I have to be!


Unfortunately there was no delaying with the door this time. The knob turned the first time and he stepped into Raphael’s room. His brother lay on his bed, his large frame unnaturally still. At the foot of his bed, Master Splinter sat calmly on a meditation mat, herbal tea set out before him. His eyes opened at Michelangelo’s approach and in that moment, the turtle knew.

His anger had a split second to erupt through him, then Mikey caught sight of his father’s eyes and he deflated at the sadness, the guilt he found there. “Why?” he rasps the word, tongue dry, his thoughts suspended by an all-encompassing sense of disbelief, the desperate need to believe that he’s wrong even though every instinct is telling him he is right.


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 Post subject: Re: Drift
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:19 pm 
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"Why?" Splinter asked it back to him, drawing the word out like it was a new thing. His gaze turned inward, and it seemed that he didn't like what he saw. "Why, indeed?"

"I don't understand," Mike stepped past his father's meditation mat warily, like it might attack him. He was uncomfortably aware that he was putting himself between Splinter and his insensible brother. It felt like Raphael needed to be protected, somehow, and that went against the grain. Everything about the moment was wrong. "What happened? Why is he...? How did this...?" Suddenly the anger was back, and it was uncontrollable. "What did you do?" he roared at his master, heedless of all respect due from a son to a father.

Splinter's ears flicked backwards from the volume of the shout, but he didn't otherwise react.

Pounding footsteps up the stairs told them that someone else was reacting, though. Michelangelo straightened and turned toward the door, just as it burst open and his brothers crowded in.

"Sensei! What happened?"

"Splinter! Mikey -- are you okay?"

Mike could only stare at them, wordlessly. The betrayal went too deep to explain it. He clenched and relaxed his fists -- the rasping of the rough skin of his calluses was the only sound in the room for a long minute.

Leonardo looked from Splinter to Raphael, then to Mike. "What happened here?" he demanded. "Mike, why were you shouting at Splinter?" His leader-voice was almost firm enough to cover up his obvious sense of being appalled by the idea.

"Is Raph okay?" Don wormed his way past Leo and the others to check the still figure on the bed anxiously.

"He still sleeps," Splinter said, reluctantly. He levered himself up off the meditation mat and folded his hands on the top of his cane.

"That's almost more worrying than anything else," Donatello pointed out. He stepped back from the bed and rubbed his own forehead anxiously. "He shouldn't be able to sleep through all the noise we're making -- what are you doing?" he asked in genuine surprise, looking down at the hand that Mike had wrapped around his elbow and was using to tug him backwards, away from their master.

Then Splinter sighed. "I believe your brother is trying to tell you that Raphael's condition is entirely my fault."

Silence.

The word is inadequate to describe the atmosphere of the room. The tension that hung in the air after Master Splinter’s admission wasn't quiet. It was loud and roaring and screaming as it haemorrhaged betrayal and battered trust. Michelangelo’s grip on Donatello’s elbow became painful, even as Don took a step closer to his brother, shifting himself almost unconsciously to protect the comatose Raphael as well. This revelation had thrown the three turtle asunder, even Mikey with his foreknowledge. It was one thing to know, to think, but to actually hear Splinter come out and say it?

Leonardo took a step closer to their father, a defensive gesture though it was unclear who he intended to protect. “Why?” he said simply and there was nothing, absolutely nothing in his voice. His face was completely blank as his gaze swept over Raphael’s prone form and back to their sensei.

His words bolstered Donatello’s flailing mind into furious action. “Why?” he demanded harshly, pulling himself away from Michelangelo, “What have you done? Why didn't you tell me so I could fix it? I've been trying, trying to figure something out, I've been terrified that Raphael might spend the rest of his life like this and you-you knew something and you didn't tell me! How could you-”

Leonardo was the one to grab his arm this time, holding him until he calmed slightly. “Sensei,” Leo said, no, ordered, not a hint of the hurt and turmoil that was coursing through every inch of his body, “You need to explain to us what you have done.”

The old rat does not look at his sons; he stared at his folded fingers atop his walking cane as he gathered his thoughts together. Normally when he took this stance, the turtles would be kneeling in front of him as they await their sensei’s wise words of wisdom. Not today, not now, his boys are hurt and slightly afraid and at the moment he is certain that they view him as an outsider. The bond between them has always been strong, forged not only from their shared upbringing and training, but from shedding blood together in battle.

Can he even begin this story, knowing that his mistakes might have irreparably damaged his relationship with them, might have irreparably damaged Raphael?

Could he afford not to?

“Michelangelo,” he said softly, “Tell me, where were you this afternoon?”

Mikey shot a quick glance at Raphael. “I went down to the river,” he said tightly. “Actually, I took a swim in the river and stumbled on some sort of psychic trap,” his hands tightened into fists in memory. “I relived the day Raph gotten bitten Bloodsucker…from his perspective.”

Michelangelo stopped there, unwilling to go on, to repeat that moment when things suddenly made horrifying sense. He stared daggers at his father who met his gaze with stoic calmness.

“Okay,” Leo said in a clipped, rational voice, “That didn’t mean it was Sensei’s fault. The River has belonged to the Old Man for thousands of years; it could have been something left over just before he died.”

“It tasted like Sensei,” Michelangelo said bleakly, “It was all fur and claws and, and incense and, you saw me, Sensei! You looked at me and I could see you! And that’s when I knew that whatever it was driving Raph insane, it was down at the river and you had put it there.”

Splinter exhaled roughly, shaking his head with exaggerated slowness as his sons stared at him. Inwardly, he is impressed by Michelangelo’s spiritual awareness, mere months ago he would have never noticed the old rat’s machinations.

“I did indeed,” he confessed bleakly. “Leonardo, before you thought that if Raphael came to me, we could talk and meditate to help him overcome his panic attacks. Do you remember?”

“Yes,” Leo said warily, voice cold. “You said we should not try for a quick-fix.”

“We discussed how such methods might work for yourself. But Raphael has always been the one to handle his burdens on his own. Since the events with the Old Man of the River and Bloodsucker, I have watched your brother battle with his fears…and lose.”

“The river,” Donatello breathed, staring up at his father, “He’s been terrified of water for months now, he wouldn’t go anywhere near it, not here, not in New York.”

Splinter nodded; gratified that he was not alone in his observations. “I waited for Raphael to confide his fears, in myself perhaps, if not one of his brothers. He did not. Instead, he chose to push the memories back, allowing them to fester inside. He continued his routine as though everything was normal but he has not been fine for a long time. And in doing so, he has been endangering you all.”

Leonardo sucked his breath in sharply as his brothers exchanged uncertain glances. “Sensei-”

“A ninja must be prepared for anything,” the old rat said firmly, determined now to make his sons understand the fear that had plagued him since those events so very long ago. “Danger can come at any time, at any place. New York is a city built by the ocean and Raphael’s fear of the water has become crippling. We cannot predict where his adventures on the surface will take him but in combat, that fear could be fatal.”

Splinter’s eldest son slowly slid to his knees in front of his sensei. His brothers followed him after a moment’s hesitation. They could see now that this was a lesson, a lesson perhaps that had gone disastrously wrong but one started with the best intentions in mind.

“This trip was an opportunity that I did not have back in the lair,” Splinter continued. “Raphael needed to confront the fear inside him, so I placed- the concept is difficult to explain,” Splinter broke off. “It was not something of malicious intent like a psychic trap. It was more like a prompt, to merely bring Raphael’s memories from the depth from which he had buried them, so that they could be laid to rest at last.”

“Sensei, he was having panic attacks at the memory of what happened,” Donatello protested.

“A miscalculation on my part, Donatello,” the old rat admitted reluctantly, his grip tightening on his walking stick. “I knew that his fears ran deep; I did not realise how far it had gone else I would have not have intervened this way. At the very worst, he should have experienced nightmares that would have faded upon waking and left no memory behind. My intention was to set Raphael on the path of healing; giving him the tools to reflect upon his experiences. Time would have then resolved this problem eventually. Instead, I'm afraid that he is now reliving those memories continuously.”

“What can we do now?” Leonardo asked. “Sensei, is there any way to fix it?”

Splinter’s eyes turned to Raphael’s still body. “Raphael must master his fear for the memories to be laid to rest. All we can do now is wait for him to pull himself through.”


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 Post subject: Re: Drift
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:56 pm 
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Small update!
Looks like the conclusion is sorta on the horizon now. Anyone interested in taking this or should I keep chipping away?


We never did manage to recover that universe with the female mutant turtle but things were kinda crazy in there and we're not missing out on much.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:28 pm 
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I'm all in favor of you taking it to the end.


Kittens, jam, and rage. That's what Dee is made of...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:13 am 
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POSTED! (Man, I miss saying that. And uh, chatting with you guys :()
This RR snippet is brought to you today by the end of my exams. Dee, that means that deadline you set yourself is coming up. For whatever it was that you were giving yourself a deadline (next chapter of Renaissance?)



Raphael wakes to the River.

He is perched on a log by its edge, basking in the hot sun. He feels comfortable and safe enough that his long neck is unwound and stretched to its full length, his head resting on the bark. The light warms his head and lulls him to near sleep.

He might have remained in that position for days. Time is immeasurable. The River bubbles gently beneath him, its presence a comforting influence to his primitive mind. This is how he has always been, hads’t it? Small and round and slow and content with the warmth of the sun.

He moves eventually. Hunger gnaws at his belly and it prods him into languid action. He slowly hoists himself up and then prepares to slide into the water.

But then he-

Froze-

A garbled explosion of noise slams through his head as he stands on his four feet, balanced above the River. It is a tangled mess of fear, of cold horror that crawlz down his shell and makes him baulk away from the edge. His head spins and feels like it is splitting into two and it hurts. Static fills his ears for a heartbeat; there is a strangled scream and a voice-

NONONONONO-

Something inside the turtle shivers in recognition at the sound and it squirms and claws at him to remember…something. Anything. Then the chaos in his mind ends with sudden stillness and the moment is lost. The turtle gasps for air as he tries to calm himself. He remains stationary for several moments and waits for it to come back to him but whatever it was, it is gone. Then the turtle’s hunger makes itself known again. He pushs himself off the log and into the water without hesitation.

A tiny part of his mind tries to howl a protest. But it is far too quiet and so the turtle ceases to pay it heed any more and ignores it.

* * *

Raphael wakes to the River.

His head breaks the surface, he has a moment to struggle wildly in its turbulent waters. It's a losing battle, his panic makes his limbs uncooperative and uncoordinated.

He sinks.


The turtle swims through the water, chasing a small fish. His jaws clamp down, blood slides down his throat as he floats in the water.

Suddenly, a shadow falls on him as something large looms in the water. It's sinking fast, the turtle darts out of the way and watches it go past as he chews thoughtfully on his meal. When he is finished, he cautiously follows the thing down. It's an enormous reptile and it doesn't move as it sinks to the bottom of the river.

The turtle swims forward curiously, examining the head of the big creature. There's something long and thin wrapped around its face, the turtle nibbles on it curiously to see if it is anything interesting and tasty.

It's not, so the turtle returns to its examination. He wonders if the other reptile is edible and bites the creature on its shoulder and-


A sting of pain brings Raphael back to consciousness again. He opens his eyes to the River, opens his mouth to suck in air and drowns instead on a lungful of water.

He blindly struggles to the surface somehow. Head breaks the water, he coughs up the water he's swallowed and then gasps in air. He remembers how to swim this time, treads the water as his breathing slowly calms.

Eventually he opens his eyes again.

The River is all he can see.

It stretches on for miles in every direction. The riverbank sits on the horizon.

It's too much. In his shock and his fear, he forgets how to keep afloat.

Down he goes again.


The turtle watches the big reptile sink again with something akin to bemusement. It isn't right, the turtle knows. He swims forward again and bites the other animal.

There.

That should get it moving.


This time Raphael doesn't make the mistake of gulping down water when he comes back to himself. Instead, he reaches the surface a lot more smoothly. He is prepared for the vastness, the emptiness. He simply treads water for several long minutes as he takes in his situation.

Something nips a toe and he glances down to see he has a companion in this fucked up nightmare. There's a turtle there, circling round and exploring his foot.

"Hey," he says, somewhat grouchy and yet simultaneously relieved that he isn't alone. "Stop that."

The turtle backs off and loses interest. There's a flash of silver, a fish of some sort, and the turtle gives chase. Raphael watches it go, a cold sliver of fear sliding down his spine as he realized just what had awoken him. There's no one here now to help him if he goes under again.

And it's a long way back to shore.


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 Post subject: Re: Drift
PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:22 am 
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Tartfriend

Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:30 pm
Posts: 734
Location: Shipping Klunk with Spike. Because I am insane.
POSTED!

So. It's that time of the year when I'm crazily busy and instead decide to procrastinate with fanfic again. I've been haunting the old posts and was very sad to see it's almost been a year from when I said I'd finish this thing off. That means I've forgotten most of the way this was going to pan out and I'm pretty much starting afresh.

Also. I was wondering if there should be warnings or something for the whole drowning thing that's going to be going on a lot from here on now. Some people might find it triggering...? I don't and I've had a near-drowning experience that can freak me out from sheer memory alone. But that just me, personally...


We never did manage to recover that universe with the female mutant turtle but things were kinda crazy in there and we're not missing out on much.


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