A/N: So sorry for not getting anything posted in awhile. This last month or so has been CRAZY, and this particular story hasn't been coming out so easily. So, hopefully you will all enjoy this one. Oh, and as always, I do not any part of TMNT . . . blah blah . . . and all that legal jargon. So, that's about it. As always, thanks in advance for reading (and reviewing smiley face).

Onward.

Chapter One

The night was filled with the sounds of fighting. Green limbs slashed through the air as the turtle brothers kicked and punched their attackers. The sounds of metal and wood, combined with grunting reverberated off buildings as their weapons sliced and spun.

Raphael breathed the night air deeply into his lungs as adrenaline pumped quickly through his veins.

He lived for this.

The adventure.

The rush of being a ninja.

The brothers had been out on a nightly patrol, and while jumping silently from roof to roof, had stumbled upon a group of Purple Dragons. The Dragons were attempting to hoist some stolen goods up onto the roof, in an effort to move them closer to their hideout without being seen by the police.

So naturally, the brothers had taken it upon themselves to teach the Dragons a lesson.
Now, they were fighting feverishly on the roof, the unconscious bodies of the Dragons piling up.

Only 10 Dragons remained; a number significantly less than they began with. Leonardo was fighting off two at once, his katanas a blur of metal as he spun them around his head.

Donatello was across the roof, up on a slightly raised level, with three Dragons circling him slowly. His bo staff whirred, creating a hollow sound in the quiet night.

Raphael was fighting a lone attacker, his sais twirling menacingly in his hands. "Come on . . . just one little one? Where's the challenge in that?"

The Dragon charged, and Raph easily sidestepped him. Dropping low, he took the Dragon out at the knees, before jumping high into the air. With a loud Kiai Raph spun twice and landed a solid kick to his challenger. The blow knocked the Dragon back into the hard roof, and he remained still.

With a sneer, Raph spun his sais rapidly in his hands before sliding them back into his belt.

"Yo, bro! Help me out over here!"

Michelangelo had four Dragons advancing on him slowly from a dark part of the roof. His nunchaku spun lazily by his side, almost in anticipation.

Raph easily flipped over to his youngest brother.

"Hey man . . . what a surprise to see you here." Astonish dripped humorously from Mikey's words, yet he barely took his gaze from the impending attackers as Raph landed quietly by his side.

"Yeah, yeah." Raph growled low under his breath. "So, what do you feel like today? A little over-the-head throw diversion? Or perhaps, 'now you see me, now you're dead?'"

Mikey deeply pondered the suggestions, continuously keeping an eye on the advancing enemies. "Hmmm. . . You know, dude, those are all excellent suggestions. I may even have to keep some of them in mind . . . However, I haven't had a good slingshot in awhile."

Raphael grinned excitedly as he grabbed a hold of Mikey's wrists. Spinning around to gain momentum, he finally let go and slingshot Mikey into the group of Purple Dragons. The Dragons flattened like bowling pins.

Mikey landed softly on his feet and raised his arms high above his head. "Woo-hoo! Michelangelo wins!"

Raph rolled his eyes and shook his head in exasperation. Ignoring Mikey's celebration dance, he turned his head slightly over his shoulder and froze. A Purple Dragon was standing only a few yards away, a pipe-like object at his lips, pointed directly at his rejoicing brother.

Before he had any time to react, the Purple Dragon took a deep breath and expelled the air through the tube. Raph watched in horror as an object flew out of the end of the cylinder and headed toward Mikey.

"Mikey, move!"
Raphael raced the short distance to his youngest brother. Just as Raph's hands connected with Mikey's shell, he felt a small sting on the back of his left shoulder.

Michelangelo's head snapped with the force of Raph's tackle as he fell painfully to the ground. Wincing, he looked over his shoulder to see the source of his attack.

Raphael was standing near, but he wasn't looking at Michelangelo. Instead, he was looking at his shoulder. A small needle, topped with a yellow puff of feathers, was stuck into his thick skin. The yellow contrasted greatly against his green skin, even in the poor light.

Raph stared at it in disbelief.

Immediately, Mikey was to his feet. Quickly, he looked around for any nearby attackers. When there were none, he rushed over to Raph.

Reaching around his brother, he fisted the pointed spear and quickly pulled it out of Raph's shoulder.

Raph winced.

Scowling, he turned to Mikey. "Well, geez Mikey . . . would it kill you to try and do something gently? How many shoulders you think I got?"

Mikey ignored his comment and grinned back at him, lighthearted. "No problem, bro."

Suddenly, the scowl disappeared from Raph's face and was replaced with a blank expression. His eyes glazed slightly and he blinked, hard. Shaking his head softly, he swayed.

Michelangelo grabbed Raph's arm to steady him.

Raphael gripped Mikey's forearm. "Ah shit . . ." He swallowed thickly. "This stuff works fast."

His voice slurred slightly and sounded distant.

As his eyes rolled momentarily and fluttered against his cheeks, he knew exactly what was going to happen.

"It's okay, bro . . . I got you." Mikey used all of his weight to brace Raph.

Raph clung to him like a life line as he felt his knees buckle.

"God . . . I hate . . . this . . .feeling." Raph was breathing heavier now as he fought to stay on his feet.

"I know, bro . . ." Gently, Mikey slowly began to lower him to the ground.

Raph didn't put up a fight. Instead, he allowed Michelangelo to guide him to a lying position on the ground.

From across the roof, Leonardo turned his attention from his final attacker just in time to see Michelangelo carefully lower Raphael to the ground. Instantly, his heart beat quickened and his adrenaline level rose. With a swift flourish of his katana, his enemy doubled over and crumbled to the ground.

Not bothering to wipe his blades, Leo sheathed his sword as he quickly checked his surroundings. Donatello was about 30 feet away, diligently fighting the last two Purple Dragons. Seeing that Donny had a handle on his attackers, Leo rushed over to Raph and Mikey.

Raph was lying on the ground, fighting to keep his eyes open. They fluttered and rolled as he attempted to communicate. However, his words came out thick, slurred, and slightly mumbled.

Kneeling next to Raph, Leo gently touched his face. "What happened?"

A brief flash of anger illuminated Raph's features. "B-bastards . . . shot . . . me . . ." He struggled to get the simple sentence out, and the effort caused him to erupt into a coughing fit.

Leo's heart plummeted in his chest. Immediately, his hands began to frantically search for any sign of a bullet hole or blood. He only ceased when Mikey gripped his arm.

"Not with a gun, bro. With this." Mikey held his hand out, the small needle resting in the center of his palm.

Leo picked it up gingerly and examined it closely.

As he fingered the yellow feathers, Raph mumbled again. "Wait'll I gettup . . . I'll kick all've . . .their asses . . ."

Mikey grinned and chuckled inwardly at Raph's sullen words. Raph breathed heavily as he attempted to stay alert. However, his efforts were rapidly slipping away as his eyes rolled dangerously.

"Don't fight it, buddy." Mikey's touch was light on Raph's shoulder.

"What's going on?" Donny's breathing was labored as he dropped to his knees at Raph's side, next to Leo.

"They got him with this." Leo held out the small spear.

Taking his eyes from Raphael, Donny turned to Leo. His eyebrows furrowed as he carefully took the object and studied it. He looked carefully at the point before bringing it close to his nose and smelling it.

Finally, he shrugged. "I won't be able to say until I can inspect it closer, but it looks like a typical sedative. Pretty basic . . . it'll probably just knock him out for awhile. We'll just have to keep our eye on him."

With the precision of a doctor's skilled hands, Donny leaned over Raphael. Carefully, he checked his pulse. When he was satisfied, he gently stretched one of Raph's eyelids open further and stared into his brother's pupil.

Raph attempted to push Donatello off of him, yet the result was more of a shallow swat. "Gettoff 'vme 'onnie. 'm fine . . ." His voice was thick and slurred.

Donatello ignored him and continued his examination.

Abruptly, Raph received his second wind. Pushing up on his elbows, he struggled to push himself into a sitting position. "'m gonna kill'em . . . where're they?"

Donny laid his hands on both sides of Raph's collarbone and gently pushed him back down. "They're all gone now. You need to rest."

"Yeah, Raph. You're going to get a really great nap!" Mikey's voice was upbeat as he laughed.

Raph's scowl instantly wiped the grin from Mikey's face. However, Raph didn't fight Donny's gentle pressure. Instead, he laid down again, his eyes glazing over as the adrenaline disappeared from his system.

"They're all gone now . . . but that doesn't mean that they won't come back." Donny's voice was low as he spoke to Leonardo. "We need to get him out of here before any more trouble shows up."

Leo glanced over his shoulder at the randomly scattered bodies of their defeated enemies and nodded. "You're right . . . we gotta get him back to the Lair."

Leo leaned over Raphael and tapped his cheek lightly. "Raph? . . . Raph? Open your eyes pal."

Raphael's eyelids felt like they were being weighed down by a pound of bricks. Very slowly, he blinked them open and tried to focus on his older brother.

"That's right, bro." Leo smiled down at Raph. "We're gonna get you home, but we need you to try and help. Can you do that?"

His eyelids heavy laden again, Raph swallowed heavily as he groggily swiveled his head up and down.

"Good . . . good. Mikey, grab his other arm. I'm going to run ahead and make sure the coast is clear."

Raphael's body felt like lead as the drugs continued to work through his system. He groaned loudly as Michelangelo and Donatello reached down, slung his arms over their shoulders, and pulled him to his feet.

Leaning heavily on his brothers, he shuffled his feet mechanically, stumbling every so often. Every time his knees buckled, Donny and Mikey took the brunt of his weight, readjusted their grips, and continued their struggled path forward.

His head bobbed and jerked as unconsciousness began to tunnel his vision. He grit his teeth and tried to remain calm, but with each dragging step, his body became more heavy and his eyes refused to stay open. Finally, darkness overtook him, and he allowed his head to drop onto his plastron.

It was approaching midnight by the time the brothers reached the Lair. They were sweating heavily under the burden of Raphael's dead weight.

He had tried his hardest to stay conscious, but as the drugs flowed through his system, it was a fleeting battle. Before they were able to get to the edge of the roof, Raph's steps had moved more infrequently and his head finally dropped toward his chest.

Immediately, Leonardo had turned back and quickly picked up Raph's legs. Slowly, they had made their way down the fire escape and into the darkened streets, being wary to stay covered. Finally, they had made it to a manhole cover and had dropped down into the murky familiarity.

Now, they carried him to his room and laid him gently into bed. Leo covered him tightly with a blanket as Donny checked his pulse and pupils once more.

Satisfied, he pulled the blanket up to Raph's chin and touched his face gently.

"He'll be alright, won't he?" Mikey's voice shook slightly.

Donny turned toward him and grinned. "Yeah buddy. He'll be fine. He's just got to sleep it off."

"How long will that take?"

Donny shrugged. "I don't know, pal. A few hours? A day? It really just depends on how quickly the drugs move through his system and wear off."

Mikey nodded slowly.

Donny patted him on the shoulder. "C'mon . . . let's let him rest."

Mikey allowed himself to be directed toward the door. Michelangelo and Donatello crossed the threshold first, but before Leo walked into the hallway, he took one last look at his unconscious brother. Then, he sighed silently, flipped off the light, and gently shut the door behind him.

Raphael stirred, moving slightly in his sleep. Slowly, with his eyes still closed, he became aware of consciousness. His head throbbed, and he dug his head deeper into his pillow.

Finally, he took a deep breath and cracked an eyelid open. It was dark, and he was thankful. A slim ray of light streamed under his door and created ghastly shadows on the wall. He looked around the room, but a soupy haze filled his head.

Turning carefully onto his back, he stopped abruptly as a wave of nausea his him. Breathing deliberately, he forced the bile that threatened from his lips to settle back into the depths of his stomach.

Taking controlled breaths, the events of the brother's recent fight flooded back into his subconscious.

The sharp sting as the needle penetrated his thick skin.

How quickly the drugs worked, causing his body to feel like lead, thick and laden.

How difficult it was to form coherent thoughts, words, sentences . . .

Shuffling his feet mechanically as his two brothers held his weight.

He couldn't remember much past the perimeter of the roof. He didn't remember dropping down into the sewers or working his way through the twists and turns to the Lair.

He definitely didn't remember getting to his room, lying down, or being covered with the thick blanket that was now disheveled at the base of the bed, by his feet.

Was he still walking then? Attempting to communicate? Or, were his brothers carrying him.

He scowled in the darkness at the thought. He hated the idea of his brothers carrying him. It made him feel weak. Like he wasn't able to support himself.

Even with the drugs coursing through his veins.

Taking a breath and holding it, he pushed himself up on his elbows, fully expecting the wave of nausea that flowed up from his gut. His gut felt like it was on fire, and it took him longer to force the feeling back down.

His breathing was shallow, and his face felt slightly flushed as he fully sat up and swung his legs over the side of his bed. Instantly, he room spun violently around him, and he screwed his eyes shut.

He deeply filled his lungs a few times and mentally prepared himself to stand. He could hear that his brothers were in the living room, and he'd be damned if he looked weak or flushed before them.

Composed, he finally pushed himself to a standing position, yet immediately doubled over in pain as his gut erupted in new, painful flames. Gasping, his hands on his knees, it took all of his strength to settle his gag reflexes.

Finally, he was able to push himself vertical and take a shaky step forward.

With each sluggish step toward his door, Raphael felt stronger. The nausea was beginning to dull and was replaced with an intense, insatiable thirst. Shuffling his feet forward, he finally made it to his door and out into the hallway.

His brothers were lazily sitting around the living room, as an old western played out on the television. Michelangelo was laughing loudly at the antics of one of the cowboys in the show.

Donatello looked up in exasperation from the gadget he was examining. "Mikey, would you mind keeping it down for just a bit? I really need to concentrate."

Mikey squeezed his lips together and mimed zipping them shut with his fingers and locking them with an imaginary lock at the corner of his mouth.

Donny looked back down at the gizmo in his hands once more and sank deeply into his work. He had barely turned it over, however, when Mikey's laugher rang out in the Lair again.

Donny snapped his head up and glared at his brother, causing Mikey to immediately snap his mouth shut again.

Leonardo ignored his brothers as he calmly turned the page of the newspaper that he was reading.

Raphael remained against the wall, his fingers lightly pressing against the cold surface, helping him to stay upright and poised.

Donny continued to glare at Mikey, ensuring that he keep his mouth shut this time. Satisfied, he finally turned his eyes from his youngest brother. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught Raphael's form against the wall.

Immediately, his anger toward Michelangelo turned to excitement. "Raph! You're up!"

Leo dropped the paper loudly onto his lap and turned, a smile stretched on his face. Mikey mimicked Leo and turned as well, a wide grin covering the majority of his face.

"How long have I been out?" His voice didn't sound like his. It was rough and groggy.

"Geez . . . what has it been?" Donny looked toward Leo and then at the clock. "Almost ten hours?"

Stunned, Raph let the information sink in. Once again, his mind attempted to trace the hours back. But, just as before, his memory only traveled as far as the rooftop.

"How are you feeling?" Donny's voice shook him from his thoughts.

Raphael swallowed thickly before attempting to answer. "Thirsty." Immediately, Mikey jumped to his feet and ran toward the kitchen. The sound of running water could be heard.

"That's totally normal." Don's voice was professional. "You see, the drugs absorbed the moisture in your system, leaving you dehy—"

Raph waved his hand to cut off his brother. His head still throbbed, and he rubbed the heel of his hand heavily across the deep scowl that was scrawled across his forehead, shutting his eyes in pain. "Jesus, Don. Seriously . . . enough with the medical mumbo-jumbo. I don't really care."

Donatello shut his mouth as Michelangelo came from the kitchen, a full glass of water in his hand. Raph reached for it, and drank from it greedily, emptying it in three solid gulps.

Leonardo leaned over to Donny. "Good to see he's feeling like his old self, huh?"

Donny gave Leo a half-smile. "Yeah, you're telling me." Clearing his throat, Donny pressed his luck by talking to Raph again. "So, except for the thirst, how else are you feeling?"

"I'm fine." Raph's voice was gruff, a very clear indicator that the conversation was over.

However, he remained silent of the throbbing in his head and the continuous waves of nausea that rocked deep in his abdomen. Instead, he credited it to the dehydration and lack of food.

Although the tension in the room had risen drastically, Mikey stayed cheerful. "Yo, bro. Did you want any more water?"

Raphael nodded his head carefully and handed the empty glass back to Mikey. Mikey turned and disappeared into the kitchen once more.

Taking a deep breath, Raph calmed his stomach and took a few tentative steps forward. Refusing to show weakness, he took his hand from the wall and walked, strong and upright toward the couch.

Just as he sat down next to Leo, Mikey came back with his water. Raph's stomach was churning violently, and he drank this glass much slower, this time allowing some of the water to settle before his next drink. This seemed to work and he settled back to watch the western that was droning on the television.