Donatello had not known what to expect when he stepped into the corridor between his world and Niccolo’s. The pathway created by the joint harmonics of two artifacts, synchronized to work together, held firmly as the five turtles entered it and were surrounded by a swirling brightness.
In truth, Donatello had spent no time at all thinking about what the tunnel between his world and Niccolo’s would be like. He wished he had.
It felt as though hundreds – no thousands, of tiny electrical impulses were dancing across his skin, trying to pull his atoms apart. There was a high pitched buzzing sound all around them and it seemed more like they were floating than walking, even though the movement of their feet carried them forward.
None of it was exactly painful, but it was unpleasant. Don instinctively began to move faster. Nicco, who held his hand tightly, was either having the same disagreeable reaction or was responding to Don’s, because he picked up the pace as well.
All around them were bright blues and whites, blurred together. Maybe that was just how Don’s vision was affected by the energy inside the tunnel. His brothers, who were ahead of him, were out of focus. The only one he could see with any real clarity was Niccolo. His mate.
To take his mind off the experience, Donatello thought back on how he’d met Nicco. Don had gone to April’s shop to help with some electrical repairs. While there he’d found her Uncle Augie’s puzzle box and made the mistake of picking it up. The small transportation device had popped open and he’d been sucked into a dimensional gateway.
Don had wound up on an unknown and extremely harsh world. He found out immediately that he wasn’t alone, though at first the turtle who’d rescued him from drowning seemed to be his brother Raphael. It wasn’t though, it was Niccolo.
Nicco was on a treasure hunt and had been expecting to be joined by his brother Masolino. Somehow the simultaneous activations of their puzzle boxes had tossed Donatello onto the planet and left Mase at home. Since Masolino was a no show, Don guessed that his puzzle box had been damaged by a power surge.
It was obvious right then and there that Don and Nicco were going to have to join forces in order to survive. Niccolo had made it sound as if he was doing Don a favor by allowing the ninja to travel with him. He had implied, quite forcefully, that he was in charge of their expedition.
Donatello had not liked Niccolo one little bit.
The large turtle was abrasive, authoritative, cocky, insulting, irreverent, and full of himself. He had made it clear that he intended to complete his treasure hunting expedition before venturing to locate that world’s transport artifact.
When Nicco had started teasing the younger turtle with innuendo and then testing his personal boundaries, Don had been more than a little disconcerted. Don had no experience with that sort of thing and felt as though Nicco was making fun of him.
After a couple of days, Don discovered that Nicco hadn’t been mocking him. Niccolo had a strong interest in Donatello, an interest of a sexual nature, and Don hadn’t known how to take that.
Donatello was starting to like Niccolo, more than a little bit.
Surprised by all of his new feelings, Don kept reminding himself that he had to get home to his family. He tried to cling to his initial reactions to Nicco, running through the list of what he’d at first perceived to be negative personality traits.
Those descriptive words had changed though. Don now knew Nicco to be confident, brave, intelligent, protective, self-sacrificing, honest, caring, passionate, and striking. Nicco was also very attractive and extremely sensuous.
They’d become intimate. It had all been so natural, despite Don’s lack of experience. Nicco had taken his time, not allowing himself to be rushed or letting Don move their relationship along too quickly. By the time they’d found a way off of that strange world, Donatello was in love.
The artifact on that world had been off kilter and the only coordinates they could dial up were the ones that would take them to Niccolo’s world. Don had no choice but to travel with the turtle who now called him ‘mate’. It postponed what Don believed would be the inevitable – that they would eventually have to separate.
Meeting Nicco’s brother Masolino had been an experience. Don had figured out from Nicco’s backstory that he was a blend of Leonardo and Raphael. Masolino was clearly a blend of Donatello himself and Michelangelo. The resultant combination was an extremely energetic, intelligent, and insightful turtle. One who bounced from place to place with boundless enthusiasm and talked practically nonstop.
Don learned that on Nicco’s world Leatherhead also had a counterpart whose name was Corius. Masolino and Corius were lovers and very devoted to one another.
The other two members of Nicco’s household were the live-in housekeeper Annabelle, who was a no-nonsense older human woman and was more like a mother to Nicco and Mase. Then there was Nicco’s father, the human scientist who had adopted the pair of mutant turtles. That turned out to be none other than Baxter Stockman.
This Dr. Stockman was brilliant but in no other way similar to the one that Donatello knew. He was well-respected, humble, and caring. He deeply loved his sons and wanted nothing but the best for them.
Mutants walked freely on Nicco’s world. They had fought a war against an alien race and been afforded the same full rights that humans enjoyed. Nicco, Mase, and Corius had all been soldiers in that war. Nicco had advanced in position and eventually came to lead his own regiment of mutants. By the time the war ended, he had reached the rank of colonel, the only mutant to achieve that title.
Along with Mase and Corius, Don had figured out a way to repair their puzzle box. Don had to return home and had no idea if he could duplicate the same repairs on April’s box, which he was certain had burned out as well. The immense sadness and sense of loss over having to leave Nicco was nearly overwhelming.
On his final day on Nicco’s world, Don had said his goodbyes only to be surprised as Nicco walked up to him with packed bags. He announced his intention of going with Don, even if it meant he wouldn’t be able to return to his family.
It was a major sacrifice, one that Nicco was doing because of his love for Don. If Don hadn’t already known how much Nicco cared for him, this certainly made that fact very clear.
The repairs to the puzzle box had worked and the pair had landed, a bit roughly, in April’s shop. Taking April’s puzzle box with him, Don had led the way back to the lair.
Unfortunately, Nicco had not been greeted by Don’s brothers with the same warmth that Don had been shown by his lover’s family. If Master Splinter had not interfered, Leo, Raph, and Mikey would have attacked Nicco.
It had taken time and some smart maneuvering before Don’s brothers had accepted Nicco. Once their differences had been ironed out, Don focused on the puzzle box repairs and the building of a portal room.
When everything was completed, Master Splinter had suggested that Don and his brothers travel with Nicco to his world. Their father would remain at home, watched over by April and Casey.
All of those thoughts passed through Don’s head in a matter of seconds, which was all it took before he saw a change in the corridor. Just in front of them the light was a stable gray in color, as though something had spread open the energy harmonics inside the corridor.
In the lead, Mikey hopped through the opening, followed by Leo and Raph. When they reached the opening, Don and Nicco tightened their grips on each other’s hands so that they could jump together.