A New Lease on Life

BY : Ghost-of-a-Chance
Category: +S through Z > Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Dragon prints: 1098
Disclaimer: I don't own TMNT, any of its characters or devices, or any songs/books/movies referenced. No money is made from this story. I DO own Amber, Aaron, Kimber, Daron and any/all OCs included in the story.

Quick note: after finishing Part II of this story, I went back and edited the entirety of Part I. These edits/improvements never made it to this site, so while I'm updating here, I'm applying the changes to previous chapters. It'll be a while yet before I've gotten this site completely up to date, but check back every few days or so - I'm adding an average of a few chapters per week.

Quick note before the short-AF prologue: There are elements from most TMNT incarnations here but the strongest influences come from the Paramount-verse and the '03 series.

Suggested Listening: The Rasmus "In the Shadows"


Begin PART I
Time to Burn


Prologue

New York City, January 27th, 2016

"Don't even think about it, Mikey." Right on cue, a loud splash sounded some distance down the tunnel, followed by Raphael sputtering in rage. Donatello smiled despite himself, certain water balloons were involved. As the two troublemakers wrestled in the gravel and debris lining the empty rail bed, Leonardo approached the brother silently studying a map projected over his arm.

"Where does he hide those, anyway?" Leo joked as he fell into step beside him. "I could've sworn he used the last one up three tunnels back."

"Apparently not," Don replied, scanning the walls for telltale signs that they were on the right path. Familiar graffiti and discreet markings in the concrete were as useful as any map when you knew the tunnels like they did. "At least he's occupied, right? We're almost there anyway."

The night before had been interrupted by a sudden blaring alarm from the security system indicating that movement had been detected in an abandoned subway station about a mile from the lair. Though nothing was ever visible on the cameras, that alarm sounded several more times that night and throughout the morning. By the time noon rolled around everyone was quite fed up with it and Donatello, frustrated at what was likely a bug in the systems, packed up to lead the team out in search of the problem.

"This is it," he remarked as they neared their turnoff. The City Hall subway station had been long abandoned but was always a sight to see. As his brothers crept along silently behind him, he inched up the corridor, scouting for heat sources with his goggles. As he'd expected, it was completely vacant.

"So," Mikey asked brightly. "If the coast is clear, can we go home now? I don't wanna miss Glee." With a wary cringe, Raph edged away mumbling under his breath about something being contagious.

"Not yet, Mikey," Leo answered. "Not 'til Donnie figures out what set the systems off." With a mumbled 'Bummer,' Mikey slumped over to the breakerbox on a nearby wall and switched on the lights. Dim yellowed light flooded the once beautiful room, Green and ivory tile gleaming beneath years of filth. Don hastened to a bronze placard to inspect the hidden security camera he'd installed there years before. With a loose brick removed, the answer was clear.

"Mystery solved," he remarked dryly when a few wires fell out completely. Damaged, disconnected output wires couldn't transmit video. He deftly repaired the connection with practiced ease; if the camera picked up anything, he'd be able to see it when they returned.

"Uh...guys?" Leo ground out, backing away from a rubbish heap in the corner. "We've got company!" Three pairs of eyes snapped to the shifting garbage, and Donatello realized his heat sensors missed something. A body lay curled up in the rubbish pile shivering violently. The other three hung back nervously as he hurried to the person's side running health diagnostics on them the whole way. The woman was scantily clothed, only a few degrees from hypothermia, and from the looks of it, halfway unconscious...and strangely familiar, though he shoved that thought away.

"Not good," Donnie exclaimed as he dug through his pack for his medkit and the foiled emergency blanket. "She must've wandered in last night, setting off the alarms! With that little clothing on, she's lucky she didn't freeze to death!" The telltale rumble of a passing train sounded nearby as he wrapped her tightly in the foil-lined blanket, and everything went to Heck in a handbasket. Without warning her eyes flew wide open and terrified screams shattered the air; unseeing moss green eyes stared up at the intricately tiled ceiling as she scrambled out of the blanket and back to her corner. Still shrieking and sobbing she fell to her side in a fetal position, clutching her hands over her neck and shaking violently.

"Well, dere ya go, Donnie," Raph grumbled. "Junkie on a bad trip set off ya sensors." He cringed as yet another terrified wail ripped from her lungs. Donatello shook his head emphatically as he yanked his goggles back up.

"No, she's clean!" he protested at top speed as he dug through his bag again. "I'm not picking up even traces of anything—alcohol, heroin, marijuana, not even tobacco!—her heartrate's through the roof and her adrenaline levels are spiking rapidly! Leo, hold her down!" While Leo and Mikey restrained the thrashing woman screeching unintelligibly, Don injected a sedative into her bare arm. Bit by bit her cries turned to groans and sobs; bit by bit, she fell limp in their grip.

Finally, all was still. A quick scan told Don her vitals were returning to normal and the fit had raised her core temperature a little. If the sensors had been set off by fits like that one, he supposed, it explained how she'd survived the cold night. Despite himself he brushed a lock of bright red hair away from her closed eyes; it was dyed, of course, and he couldn't help wondering what the natural color was. Silently reminding himself of his task he wrapped her up again and hoisted her into his arms; across the chamber, Raph startled.

"Wait a sec," he muttered stalking over. "I seen'er before…she—"

"—needs help," Leo cut him off, retrieving her glasses from the rubbish heap. "Regardless of who or what she is, we can't just leave her down here. It's January—she'll freeze to death!" As the two butted heads, Don shifted her to his shoulder in a fireman's carry and dug out his phone. After all, April had never refused to help them, yet.

 


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