I want to preface this by saying that, yes, I'm aware that 'Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' is the current rendition of the series (at the time this is being written) but I've just got a soft spot for the 2012 version so that's what this is going to be based on. Also, yes this will be heavily inspired by Werepirechick's series 'Tetrad Unity' which is the series that the book this is inspired by is apart of.
Plus, I've always liked 10yrsy on deviantart and their turtle AU's (especially their re-imagining of the 2012 + their human-ish AU) which have also inspired this story in some ways. If you go on their page on Tumblr you can find what's tagged AUT - a brilliant ask blog subsection and what made me fall in love with their art style.
So, cred it giving aside hope you enjoy this.
Donnie stuck close to Leo's side as they investigated deeper into the sewer tunnels than they ever had before. Their human friend - well friend was a stretch, she was a bringer of information who they didn't have too many qualms over keeping close and protecting- April had informed them that there were turtles other than themselves in New York.
The Purple Dragons had apparently been shaking people down for information regarding the 'two unmasked green freaks that have been stealing from us'. That enough was enough to spark the thought that there were more turtles in the city. But then- then the real kicker had come through their private pipeline. There were descriptions:
One, lime in colouring with blue eyes not unlike Leo's stood at about four foot eight. He was apparently the younger one and seemed to be very bouncy when he wasn't gunning for the Purple Dragons directly. They didn't appear to speak English from the reports; speaking in a strange chittering and clicking.
The other, apparently the clearly older one, stood at about five foot three. He was dark green and had green eyes with a cracked plasteron - a lightning bolt shaped gap- and was infintly more aggressive.
It was the specifically shaped scar that had caused their current expedition; it hadn't always just been him and Leo. There was originally four of them, they must of been three when the incident happened when the flood swept through the lair taking two of their brothers with its unforgiving tide. But by that time Raphael - or Raphie as he was always called in Donnie's memories- had already had a lightning shaped crack in his plasteron.
The sound of skittering broke Donnie from his thoughts and brought him back to the present. "It's only a rat. Stick to my nine Don." He nodded at his older brother and kept his gaze forward and his staff ready. The skittering stopped as Leo's katana sliced the perpetrator in half- Donnie wondered how he could do it so heartlessly when their father himself was a rat.
For the past twelve years they'd been led to believe that their brothers were dead and now they had a chance to find them- but what would they be like now?
From the sound of it they were feral- what little English they'd learnt had been forgotten over the years and the description of the scars that they both held pointed to a not-so-safe upbringing.
"Are you guys sure you don't want back up?" April's comforting voice sounded through the radio strapped to his belt and he tried to focus on that as the emotions of potentially finding his older brother and younger brother welled up inside him and the fear that they were dead and this was some gross mix up tried to strangle him.
"We're fine April. We don't know how they'll react to us- never mind a human."
"Okay..." The humans voice didn't sound so content to sit there and Donnie could appreciate the fact that she was trying to push through their defensive nature. They'd been asses to the girl the first few times they'd interacted but she'd still fought to get through and she was now, in Donnie's eyes, nearly at the level of 'Friend'. "If things go south though I'm sending a hoard of Donnie's inventions there as bait."
There was a stiff laugh brawn from the both of them.
'Stranger not right. Thing-not-good turtle here.'
Raphael (that's all he remembers from BEFORE) twitches and hunches himself closer to his little brother then, he too can smell the new turtles. Mikey doesn't get scared easily anyway. Only if something really isn't right- so he has to look after him now.
He's big and while Mikey isn't much smaller he's still small. It's the biggers job to make the smaller safe. He also remembered that from before. When there were two more of them. A bigger one who helped him protect Mikey and another smaller one.
'Where?' He tries to keep his churring consistent through the clicking but it's hard to when he's just so aware of a disturbance in their home. His mind is in twenty different places and he grips the sharp-thing that they found awhile ago and used on other things when they tried to hurt them. While he does this he keeps Mikey in their nest. All that it is is a few soft materials that they found and have in the warmer area of their territory but it's home. And Mikey says it reminds of BEFORE.
Raphael doesn't mind.
If Mikey's happy, so is he.
He keeps the sharp-thing close and clenches his hand around it and when Mikey tries to get up he gives him a look, 'No sleep. Need. Me protect.'
'My home too. Me help protect.'
They share a glare then and while Mikey knows his place - knowing that when it comes to stuff like protecting home from somebody that could seriously hurt them both its best to leave it to Raphael. The last time Mikey tried it he nearly got killed.
"Leo do you think they'll even understand us?"
A shrill feeling rips up from under his shell then and he shares another look with Mikey then. They smell like turtles but they're talking like humans. Thing-not-good turtle indeed. Mikey nods and Raphael takes relief in knowing that his brother knows to be safe. If it was just an animal he'd deal with it- but anything remotely human means they may have to run away. And Raphael refuses to let home go.
And he'll fight till he dies. But he can't. Because then Mikey would have no one.
So that means he can't just attack in a frenzy. Mikey will have to split up from him and they'll have to think about it. Like that time those strange metal things came into the sewers and the pink squishy thing that tasted disgusting popped out of it. Raphael rubs his arm, careful of the sharp-thing in his hand, where a scar on his arm lies thanks to that thing.
'Too hard you run.'
He lowers his second eyelids then and sticks to the shadows, forcing himself to not keep his eyes on Mikey at all times.
"Leo do you think they'll even understand us?"
Leo tries to pretend he didn't hear Donnie's question because he doesn't think he's even able to gratify it with a response. For the past twelve years - twelve fucking years- he's had actual nightmares of the day they lost their brothers. He remembers just seeing the water filling up the lair quickly, too quickly, and Raphael is the one to say that they need to get their baby brothers. Of course, being three it hadn't been as eloquently as that.
It had been something along the lines of: 'Mikey, DonDon not safe.' and that had been all it had taken to send the pair of them running for Donnie and Mikey. Donnie's room had been close enough to his own that in the space it took for Raphael to get to Mikey, Leo had already reached Splinter. Warning him, begging him for help because 'Raphie and Mikey aren't here! They're still there!'
From there the nightmare always began. The water rushed in then, it had changed from ankle height on them to waist deep for Splinter in a matter of seconds. Splinter had climbed onto a pipe, depositing them there. And its vividly that Leo remembers screaming out for his brothers and demanding that Splinter went and got them and he remembers the crying and the screaming as the water nearly reached them on the pipe but there was no sign of their brothers.
And when the water was nearly at them, they saw it. Red and orange bandanna's caught on a piece of lose piping.
"Leo?" He tenses up when Donnie's hand taps his shoulder and it strikes him when he sees the fearful look in Donnie's eyes that he isn't the only one scared here, "Leo are you alright? You... you zoned out."
"I..." his mouth opens and closes twice before he can force the words out, "I think they might understand us." The but that's only a 'might' remains unsaid, "But they're supposed to speak in clicks right? Well, we did that when we were little right... it shouldn't be too different from that."
He can remember how confused Splinter had been when they'd picked it back up after Raphael and Michelangelo, but it was the last reminder of them. Before they'd picked up English they'd already been capable of speech, it was a combination of clicks and churs and clacking of their muzzles and teeth but it had been their own language and they understood exactly what they were all saying. Donnie's research had proven that they were just communicating in the noises that normal turtles used... Leo could only pray that those same clicks were what his brothers were using.
"I didn't think of that... But they might of developed it since then. And I don't know if I'd be able to speak like... that anymore."
It hurts, though he isn't sure why, and the connotations regarding the way Donnie says 'that' like its not his first language. Sure, he's not saying he could probably recite Captain Ryan's speeches in the language but he knows he can still hold a conversation. He's been practising since they found out about the prospect of other turtles months ago- as mere rumours. And he'd intensified the practice since they'd gotten the descriptions.
'Okay Leo... just think...' He doesn't notice that he's even talking in the clicks instead of just muttering it to himself but it strikes him when he catches Donnie's look of astonishment and he asks 'What?'
A growl rips through the air then, shattering the tentative quiet and calm atmosphere that had wrapped around them. Leo's first reaction is to push Donnie behind him but he reminds himself as he pulls his Katana's out that if it is there brothers- there's two of them.
Donnie feels fear, a deep primal fear, run through his veins when the growl cuts him off.
It grows worse when he sees Leo go from 'I'm embarrassed' tense to 'Holy shit should i run or fight' tense. Leo's his older brother and the one who he's always expected to know what to do because ten times out of ten he does. To see him so distressed and unsure makes Donnie more unsettled than's probably safe for this situation. Then he catches sight of a shadow which -in this part of the sewers with its random grates and dimly lit maintenance lights- isn't unusual but it's darker than the other shadows and it's moving.
"Oh shit!" He's ducking then, his staff dragging in the sewer water at their feet, and as he scrambles to his feet he sees that the shadow isn't a shadow but most certainly another turtle.
It's the younger one- lime green and with blue eyes- and it hurts so much to see Mikey again. And he knows it's Mikey because he sees his baby brother every night when he sleeps and he sees him smiling and laughing and then he sees him screaming and crying and then it always ends with his mask caught, blood eating away at its edges, on that damned metal pipe back then.
"Donnie- CRAP!" he keeps close to the ground and quickly sparing a glance to Leo he sees that Raphael is most certainly still alive because he's there and trying to tear Leo's throat out.
"LEO!" he doesn't think then, his fear turning into adrenaline, as he charges and uses his bo staff to throw his older brother off of his other older brother. Raphael hits the sewer tunnels wall with a horrible sounding crack that leaves a few crumbs of concrete falling down into the water with him.There's a yowl - primal and filled with so much pain and anger- and suddenly he's tripping over his own feet to get out of Mikey's way. He thinks; for a second, that he's going in for a retaliating hit but no. He avoids Leo's body like he's got an infectious disease and is at Raphael's side in a second.
And oh god, he's face down in the water and he isn't getting up. Oh god.
The younger pulls the older out of the water and Donnie can finally move again when he hears a low rumble from Raphael. Hearing that he doesn't waist any time in making sure Leo's alright but his big brothers already on his feet, weapons drawn in a non-threatening defensive position. They stand there, both pairs parallel to each other, the younger brother on both sides worrying over the older. And the older standing up and eyeing the other pair up.
"Hey," Leo stands slightly in front of him when Raphael's gaze lands squarely on him, "It's- it's alright. We don't want to hurt you; we want to talk. Like this." Slowly, and to Leo's apparent agitation, he stands out of Leo's block and makes a show of slipping his weapon back onto his back and holding his hands out.
It isn't much, but their stances are less tense- "Don what're you-"
"Leo." His older brothers eyes are so scared and yet- yet Donnie can make out the dying hope that whatever he'd about to do will let them have their brothers back. "Just... trust me. Shell, Leo let me do this alright?"
He coughs into his fist then and tries to rack his brain for the sounds because he wasn't lying to Leo before, his first language- his natural language- is foreign almost to him.
'H-hello.' He hopes it comes out right and the look of shock in green and blue eyes proves that it gets through to them, 'We don't want to fight.' Once he starts it seems to just come back to him and he supposes it might be an instinct thing because learning and revisiting a language isn't supposed to happen this easily, 'We want to talk.'
'Why do you talk like humans?' ,'Mikey!'
He feels his eyes widen when Mikey responds and it sends a twinge in his heart when Raphael covers his mouth and looks scandalised, like they'd previously decided that it wasn't safe and yet he'd done it anyway. True baby brother behaviour...
'You're... Raphael right?' Donnie looks at Leo from the corner of his eye, and those ice blue eyes that usually hold confidence are exposed and open as they stare at Raphael. Splinter had once mentioned that Leo and Raphael had been like twins when they were still all together and Donnie can't help but think that Leo still feels that bond. The exposed look is enough to confirm that, 'I'm Leo. And this-' his hand which is absent of his blade (when did he sheath it?) motions at Donnie, 'This Donnie.'
'How do you know my name? Who are you?'
'We're... we're brothers.'
The confused look on Mikey's face drops and there's nothing but matching open exposed emotion to mirror Leo's own expression. Raphael's expression though, there isn't anything he can compare it to.
Mikey wasn't sure what was going on, his memories of BEFORE are unclear. He remembers that there were two more, both older than him. And he's faintly aware that the one in blue just said they were the other two from his memories- but that's all he can really be aware of.
Because, well everything. Raphie is crying- Raph doesn't cry. And the one in blue -Leo- he thinks he remembers him and purple -Donnie- he's sure he remembers him because he knows he's that those brown eyes were one of the last things he saw before he woke up with water around him BEFORE.
He's still not aware, and that's dangerous, so when something grabs his arm he tries to get away, its only when the familiar comforting churs hit his ear slits that he realises that it's Raph. He's telling him that its safe. They do know the other two. They do, don't you remember Mikey? Big brothers? And then he's being directed down the tunnel and away from their old home because - new home. New space that's safe, that has food, has older brothers and is warm and means they won't have to worry about strange shiny-things with pink slimy things in it.
Yoshi is sat on the couch with April, the two of them lent in close to the walkie-talkie hoping that his sons will just say something because the last thing they heard was a growl and then swearing and it's been silent since then.
He can see his tail in the corner of his eye flipping about, his nerves overtaking his rational mind. "What... what were they like?"
Looking over at April he can see she understands the pain they are all going through right now. The young girl had just lost her father after all. "Donnie and Leo mentioned them once, in passing, but I didn't think it appropriate to ask..." Her eyes are focused on her lap and only look up when he pats her shoulder in the same way he always did when Donatello used to show him the books he'd finished.
"Raphael was-is," he catches himself. His son is ALIVE, "The second oldest... he and Leonardo were like twins and though they didn't look it- I was made aware that they were from the same clutch so they could technically be classed as twins... Michelangelo was just like his namesake," He lets out a laugh as for the first time in a very long time he remembers the good times, "Our old home was always covered in paintings and algae 'statues' that he would toddle around making."
"Raphael was artistic as well, though not as instinctively as his younger brother..."
"They sound lovely."
"Master Splinter," there's hesitancy in April's voice, like she's worried she'll overstep a boundary with her next question, "How are they going to communicate with them? From the reports they use clicks and grumbling noises to communicate."
That jarrs him, "These- these clicking sounds did they include jaw clanking and purring?" He can see his insistence worries her but when she nods something close to euphoric relief washes over him, "They- as small toddlers- use to communicate in that way. My sons still sometimes use it today without thinking of it. It's similar to the way a bilingual will sometimes slip into their first language..."
"MASTER SPLINTER!" Leonardo's voice is tight with emotion and before his eldest has even finished both himself and April are at the subway entrance. He hasn't cried since his sons were taken away from him... but he's sure he must be now because right there, ambling along cautiously and sharing a melody of churs that his other two sons keeping adding to are Raphael and Michelangelo.
His youngest and second eldest stall at the sight of him and the human girl next to him, and their churs break slightly and he feels even more emotional when he sees Donatello stop his movements to turn to his brothers, clicking and clacking at them in what he can only assume is reassurance. Because when he's done he's smiling and Michelangelo is peering out from behind the taller turtle with what looks like anxious excitement.
Raphael doesn't look convinced on whatever private conversation took place until Leonard clicks something and a surprised look crosses green eyes.
"We found them! Look Sensei, April- they're alive!"