Title: Survival of the Species

Summary: SLASH M/M relationship. Sort of. Gender switching, emotional distress, inner turmoil. (Warning: Attempted rape)

Rating: NC-17 (for incest)

Chapter One

Michaelangelo glanced at Leonardo as he sparred relentlessly in the dojo. The fine and taut muscles on his brother's arms stretched as he moved delicately into each move. He was so perfect, so demanding on his own physical endurance.

Mikey sighed. He looked back towards Donatello who moved quietly about his task in the small room adjacent to the dojo. Donatello seemed puzzled and his eyebrows were slightly raised in confusion.

Mikey rubbed his arm "So what's the verdict, doc? Am I going to live?" His voice lacked mirth as he cracked the feeble joke.

Donny looked sharply at Mikey for a moment, as if to say 'shut up'. "I think you'll live Mikey. This is just ... A little odd".

"Odd?" Mikey looked worried. "Why odd?"

Donatello shook his head, uncertain. "I'm not sure, bro. This could be the start of a lot of things. I don't want to make any assumptions to what might be causing the severe headaches, the fevers and the constant loneliness you've been suffering".

Mikey sighed and rubbed his arm again, the tender area where Donatello's injection had inflamed the skin earlier still felt a little numb from the blood loss. Mikey hated blood leaving his body, the sense of weakness and vulnerability.

"What the hell is wrong with me?" Mikey mused more to himself than to his fussing brother. "Why am I feeling like this?" His eyes drifted to his brother sparring in the dojo. He glanced at the well toned body and felt a sudden rush of excitement. This feeling spread all over his body, making him feel exhilarated and ashamed at the same time. His cheeks reddening, Mikey turned away and concentrated on Donatello.

"Is there any new sensations or feelings you want to talk to me about?" Donny asked, allowing a drop of Mikey's blood to fall onto a microscope slide. Mikey shook his head. He wasn't about to try and explain his new feelings for his elder brother. It shamed him immensely to feel so intense about Leo. However, he could not deny the feelings were causing distraction from his sparring and studying.

It was a completely different experience, this feeling. It differed from his emotions towards Donny and Raph. They were his brothers, but for some reason, he could not feel the same about Leo.

"This is impossible" Donny murmured. Mikey turned to face Donny and patiently waited until Donny looked up to him in utter amazement.

"What's wrong?" Mikey asked worriedly.

Donny waited for a moment and walked over to Mikey. His voice was soft as he answered the question he would have never believed would be asked. "Mikey, your mutant cells are changing, become more intricate".

"What? Am I dying?" Mikey asked fearfully.

Donny smiled reassuringly. "No. Nowhere near. Your cells are becoming more intricate, they are evolving to suit our species. Mikey, did you know in South Africa some species change sex to continue the evolution and survival of the species?"

Mikey looked confused. "What does this have to do with me?"

Leonardo walked briskly into the room and sat beside the two turtles, momentarily distracting them. "So, what's the verdict Donny? Is Mike okay?"

Donatello was still looking amazed as he fought to regain some composure. Finally he turned to Leo and said "Mikey is an inappropriate name. We may have to start looking for something more suitable. Mikey's mutant cells have completely changed …. he's now a girl".

"A girl?" Leo looked at Mikey and shook his head confused "Good gag guys, but what's really going on here?"

Donny sighed with an exasperated sigh "It's the truth, Leo! His mutancy has evolved".

Mikey stared aghast at his brothers. The truth was hard to accept. "This can't be happening .."

"Donny's just got the verdict a little confused" Leo said, placing an assuring arm on Mikey's shoulder. Then, turning to Donatello he whispered "I want to talk with you alone, right now!"

Donatello and Leonardo left Mikey confused and vulnerable in the small room connected to the dojo. Then they walked together through one of the sewer tunnels connected with their lair.

"How can you be sure?" Leonardo asked, his confusion heartbreaking.

"I'm a scientist, Leo. Trust me, its true" Donny sighed and shook his head sadly "I know this is hard for Mikey. But I can't change the truth of the matter, and that is quite simply that Mikey has become female quite naturally. It was basic instinct drummed into reptiles and amphibians on the verge of extinction. One of their kind would simply change sex to prolong the species existence. Its something we can't avoid, something we'll have to be aware of and help him through the confusion and bitterness".

Leonardo nodded vaguely. It all seemed so unreal. How could Mikey just change sex? It surely wasn't natural. Neither was the new and protective feelings he was himself going through. Although he wouldn't admit to any of them. "Raph is not going to take this very well".

Donatello looked grave for a moment. "He's got no choice. Mikey has become this for a reason. And the reason is entirely natural".

Leonardo sighed and hoped they would be able to calm the raging temper that Raphael was notorious for.

Chapter Two

"Hey Mike" Raphael walked into the small room adjoining the dojo. "Seen Don and Leo?"

"They're off walking somewhere" Mikey responded dejectedly.

"You okay?" Raph asked, concerned. Mikey was usually very happy-go-lucky, very sure of himself. Now he looked like he was the verge of a nervous breakdown.

"Not really" Mikey said truthfully.

"Wanna talk about it?" Raph asked hopefully.

"No" Mikey snapped viciously.

"Just tryin' to help" Raph said hurt as he sat beside his miserable brother and gently put his arm around Mikey's shoulder. It was a simple, affectionate gesture. It was nothing untoward, and was a gesture the turtles had shared many, many times. However, this time because Mikey's mind was torn in confusion over his gender he moved quickly from Raphael's eager embrace and moved to the very end of the seat.

Raphael looked bemused. He shook his head and shrugged off any worrying possibilities with the conclusion that Mikey simply wasn't feeling himself this evening. He decided to change the subject.

"I been to see Billy Elliott tonight" Raph said.

"Any good?" Mikey sniffed.

"Bloody puff" Raph snorted viciously. "It was crap".

"Puff?" Mikey turned on Raph, tears stinging his eyes "Who the fuck do you think you are judging other people?"

"Easy Mike. I didn't mean anything by it" Raph stammered.

"Yeah, well I'm sick to death of your narrow minded fucked up brain. Go find Leo and Donny. I want to be alone" Mikey turned away, his emotions uncontrollable as his shoulders wracked with silent sobs.

Raphael looked stricken and terrified. He had not expected such an intense reaction from his brother. Could this mean Mikey was gay and afraid to tell him so? He cursed himself for using such a demeaning word and swore never again. Moving forward he took his brother into his strong arms and felt Mikey soften against his breast and sob without shame. Raph felt tears stinging his own eyes.

"Mikey, what's wrong. Please tell me" Raph begged helplessly.

Mikey looked up at Raphael and drew in a deep breath.

Then he began to tell Raph the entire story.

Raph listened as Michaelangelo poured out the entire tale. It was incredible and he didn't believe any of it. For the moment, with Michaelangelo's frail state of mind, Raphael decided to humour him as much as he could for his own sake. At least until Don and Leo returned. Raph could not believe they had left Mike alone when he was so vulnerable.

That made Raphael angry.

Chapter Three

"So what's to stop this from happening to you, me or Raph?" Leo asked Donny seriously.

"That may be something we need to look out for. Its possible" Donny replied.

The walk had extended to the better part of two hours. Leo was still unsure of what to say.

"Have you developed ... feelings for Mikey?" Donny asked Leo politely.

"I would defend Mike to the death" Leo answered, whilst avoided a direct response.

"That's not what I asked. You two have become ... closer" Donny mumbled.

Leo turned bright red with the last word that Donny uttered. Unable to restrain himself any longer, Leo launched himself against Donny and trapped him against a sewer wall.

"Are you suggesting that I am in love with Mike?" The question was more of a threat.

Donny shook his head helplessly. "It would be natural. After all, we may not even be family. We were just living in the same fish bowl before the mutation changed our lives".

Leo sighed. Donny's logic made sense. He released his trapped brother from against the sewer wall and looked downcast. "Yes, Donny".

"What?" Donny looked at Leo, confused.

"Yes, I have ... feelings I can't explain" Leo blushed deeply.

Donatello sighed. He felt the same as Leo, a sexual excitement flooded his body when he thought about Mikey.

"Let's go back to the lair" Leo sighed "We shouldn't leave Mike too long on his ... erm, her ... own".

Donatello nodded and the two turtles made their way back to their hideout, fear in their hearts.

"Shhhh, Mike they are playin' with you" Raph said softly, trying in vain to ease his brother's suffering.

"No, its true" Mikey stated, pulling away from Raph and looking at him in the eyes. Suddenly, something sparked between them. It happened the moment Mikey looked into Raph's eyes. The orbs of black seemed to be endless, and softened suddenly with extra feeling.

Not knowing why or how, Raph cupped Mikey's face in his strong and secure hands and leant forward to kiss the forbidden mouth. He felt the warmth returned with the same feeling and excitement. The moment seemed to never end.

"Raph ...?"

Raphael quickly pulled away from Mikey, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand, disgusted with himself. He glared up at the two intruders.

"Yeah?" Raph asked, although his tone suggested it was more a challenge than a question.

"What the HELL do you think your doing?" The tone of jealousy was apparant in Leonardo's voice, and Raph smirked at this.

"Well, if Mike's now a girl, you wouldn't mind if I kissed her now, would you?" Raph taunted, forgetting Mikey in this moment.

Mikey sat, horrified. It wasn't the kiss, but the excitement and raw sexual energy that had passed between them at the moment of the kiss that offended and humiliated Mike.

"Thia isn't a game, this is serious" Leo said, his voice raised and harsh.

"Yeah? Mikey, you want to sleep in my room tonight or Leo's?" Raph said cruelly.

Leonardo looked at Mikey expectantly.

Mikey shot a pleading look towards Donatello before running out of the lair and through the sewer tunnel that Don and Leo had walked a few moments earlier.

"Now you've messed everything up" Leo turned on Raph angrily.

"Me? I didn't see you stoppin' it" Raph defended.

"Would you BOTH stop it!" Donatello shouted above the noise. "Your both wrong. And its Mikey who is suffering. Don't you get it? This is more important than your pride.." Donny turned to Leo ".. and your anger" Donny turned to Raph "Mikey is all that matters now. If anything should happen to Mike, our species is doomed!"

Leo and Raph looked horrified for a second, and then the three turtles ran after Mikey without another word spoken.

Mikey kept running and running until her breath was raw. She looked behind her. They hadn't followed.

Tears stung her eyes as she tried to recall being a male. The two sexes had blended in so perfectly she hadn't even noticed the switch. It was too tragic, to be locked in a form she did not want or have ever expected.

She moved soundlessly into the night, moving as a shadow might in the pale moonlight. She moved swiftly, trained by Splinter as a male fighter. A MALE fighter. Not a female fighter. This wasn't meant to be, this was all some sort of sick joke.

And Splinter could not offer his advice, because Splinter was dead and long gone.

It was too painful for Mikey to re-live the past, the time when Splinter was lost to them. It made Mikey more miserable and the tears blurred the vision before Mikey knew what hit her.

Mikey looked up briefly, a trickle of blood running down the side of her face. A simple street tough, a thug looking for money which Mikey didn't possess.

Under usual circumstances, Michaelangelo would have enough confidence to retaliate, but with the confusion of previous events, Mikey could only gaze in a dazed fashion as a heavy object descended upon her head once more.

That was the last conscious thought Mikey had before oblivion.

Chapter Four

The Turtles split up and concentrated on searching Mikey's most popular haunts. The raw-sewage pump, 152nd Street's main sewer tunnel and the UCE tunnel, where the outside cinema could be viewed from between the grates. Leonardo splashed up 152nd, uncaring what muck and grime oozed up his leg and saw the sewer grate open. His heart missed a beat as he heard a sickening sound, like metal hitting soft flesh and quickly climbed the ladder to look outside. In a second, he was out of the sewer and had engaged in a deadly fight with Mikey's attacker.

Mikey was unconscious and a small trickle of blood oozed from an open wound on her head. Her breathing was hoarse and irregular. It was the only incentive Leo needed to thrust his katana into the heart of his opponent.

The attacker gave a startled cry and fell to the ground. Dead.

Leonardo was stunned. He hadn't meant to kill the attacker. It was as if something purely instinctive had taken over. A fierce protectiveness which would kill if necessary. He dropped to the ground before Mikey and felt the back of her head which was sticky with blood. He rolled the turtle over gently, examining the wound with a critical eye. He had seen worse injuries in their own dojo, but Mikey's transformation could have had any effect on her physical strength and endurance. Indeed, as Leonardo pressed his hand against Mikey's temple, the skin felt softer and more pliant.

Mikey groaned and tried opening her eyes. She gazed at Leo, her hand brushing his knee and sighed. "I'm sorry".

Leo shook his head and smiled "Don't worry Mikey. Its forgotton. Let's just get you home".

Mikey tried to sit up, and then fell back. Leo moved with the speed of a panther, and grabbed Mikey before her wounded head hit the sidewalk again. He lifted her into his arms, but Mikey's head rolled back helplessly. Moving over to a grassy area, Leo lay his wounded sister on the ground and proceeded to untie his bandanna and use this as a make-shift bandage. He wrapped the material around her head and tied it securely.

Mikey's tearful eyes made Leo want to break down and sob himself. "I wish Splinter were here". Mikey said in a soft whisper.

Leo turned away. Splinter's death had been hard for all of them, but even more so for Mikey. As the youngest and generally the light hearted turtle, Mikey hadn't ever been able to accept the fact that Splinter would die one day. When the inevitable happened, Mikey had been torn to shreds by the event. She had locked herself in her bedroom and cried for several nights. Leo hadn't been able to reach her, but now, she wanted to be reassured. She wanted to have an explanation, some sort of reason or excuse for what had happened.

"Mikey, you have to get over this" Leonardo began "We all knew Splinter was old and would die one day".

Mikey broke down into tears, sobs wracking her shoulders. She seemed so vulnerable with her new emotions and feelings. So in need of protection ... and love. "But not like that, Leo".

Leo sighed. He had known this was coming, but now he had to explain everything to Mikey. "Mike, I think we should talk about what happened to Splinter".

The sounds of Raphael and Donatello's voices distracted the two turtles and they fell silent. Leonardo looked at Mikey tenderly. "Later Mike. We'll talk later alone, I promise".

Raphael and Donatello crawled out of the storm drain and walked over to Mikey and Leo.

"What happened?" Donatello asked, his voice trembling with concern.

"Mikey was attacked" Leo explained, to which both Raphael and Donatello gasped in horror.

"You alright, Mikey?" Raph asked.

Mikey sat up, her head spinning. "I think so. My head hurts a little, but apart from that I'm fine".

Raph and Donny helped Mikey to her feet and helped her into the sewers. They walked close to her, each one holding an arm as if it were the most precious jewel. Leo walked behind his brothers and sister, deep in thought.

As soon as they were home, Donny fussed about Mikey and bandaged the wounded head. Raphael went into the kitchen and made something to eat (pizza of course) and Leonardo just looked at his sister. His eyes were dark and brooding.

"Lets put you to bed" Donny said, lifting Mikey easily into his arms and walking into Mikey's bedroom, and laying her on the bed. Mikey watched as Leonardo walked into the room and took a seat beside the bed.

"Donny, leave us for a moment. We need to talk" Leo said softly.

Donatello recognised the sincere and serious tone of his brother, and left instantly. He knew there was something important that Leo and Mikey needed to discuss, and it was important they have the time alone together.

As soon as the door was closed, Leo turned to Mikey. "I think you should know the truth about how Splinter died for your own peace of mind. I have never told the others this, and I am only telling you because this ignorance is killing you. The truth will be hard to bear at first, you won't believe it. But trust me. I was the one there that night. I witnessed everything. Are you sure you still want to know what happened?"

Mikey nodded, her eyes widening in fear.

Leonardo sighed and in a rushed hurried tone he began a story he had promised himself he would never tell to anyone.

Chapter Five

The mood was as dark and terrifying as the tale itself.

Leo looked at Mikey, his face contorted in pain and anguish as he began the horrific story. "Two years ago, the night we lost Splinter, I had just finished sparring when I heard two voices from the sofa. I stealthily moved into the shadows and listened to what was being said. One voice belonged to Splinter, the other belonged to our nemesis Shredder".

Leonardo drew in a breath and looked at Mikey in the eyes. She was in shock, pure base shock. "Splinter and Shredder were discussing sparring as if it were the most natural thing in the world, to discuss pleasantaries whilst they thought we were not going to see them. After all, you and Raph had decided to go hiking for a few weeks. Donny was staying with April until she was safe from The Foot. I wasn't supposed to be in the Lair, but I couldn't just turn around and walk away as if nothing had happened. So I stayed, and I listened. To this day I wish I hadn't".

Mikey had turned a terrible shade of green. Leo lay an understanding arm on her shoulder.

"Remember, this is just as hard to tell as it is to listen".

Mikey gulped and drew a little closer to Leo. "Please go on. I need to hear this".

"Once I had a vision when I was younger, Mikey" Leo said softly, turning his eyes away from Mikey's probing expression and looking downcast at the floor. "I dreamed that God and the Devil were discussing human politics in the Lair. Only, when I saw Splinter and the Shredder sitting there talking like that, I knew it had been no dream. I had associated the vision of seeing Splinter with Shredder as God and the Devil. It seemed plausible that they had met often, discussing things we were not privy to. Its laughable now. All that time training as ninja warriors, fade away into the night and all that, and we failed to notice the obvious. Splinter and Shredder had patched things up over the years. Both knew they couldn't kill each other, it was trying to destroy the universal balance of good and evil. It was impossible. So they were sitting quite close, Shredder laughing as Splinter joked a little about there being a fine line between good and evil, and how sometimes you can't tell one from the other, because both of them are so close in design ..."

Leo broke off, his voice dropping to a whisper. "Then Splinter popped the big news. He turned to Shredder and said 'I'm dying, and I haven't finished everything I want to do with my sons'. Shredder sighed and turned away. Suddenly his eyes locked to mine. He had seen me in the shadows! He had seen me standing there, hand on the sheath of my sword, and I swear he smiled before he turned to Splinter and ignored me! I was standing so close I could have taken his head off with a single slice of my sword, and he ignored me! I was too stunned to move, and I began to realise more and more the complex nature of the game they had played with each other for years. They were the perfect example of good versus evil, the perfect example of two beings completely opposite yet still fighting for a cause they both maintained was good for them". Leo broke off and sighed.

"Leo, are you okay?" Mikey asked softly.

Leo sucked in a breath sharply, and smiled. "Yes, its just hard to tell this. We had been so ignorant of the truth. It wasn't fair, and I had no desire for the rest of you guys to know the secret".

Mikey smiled grimly. "I know now. And I am glad you've told me".

Leo nodded and bravely continued. "Splinter was upset becuase he was dying. Shredder comforted him, and drew him into an embrace. 'We all die sometime, sensai Splinter' Shredder said respectfully. 'and we must all maintain dignity to those we leave behind. For whatever reason, it would happen eventually'. Splinter sighed and then asked if Shredder would like a game of chess before he retired to bed. Shredder accepted and they walked over to the chess board and began to play! I left soon after that. I had no desire to see any more, to see the culmination of all my worst nightmares reveal themselves. I left, and the next morning I went to visit Splinter in his room, to confess I had been watching him and Shredder the whole time from my vantage point in the shadows. I walked into his little modest room and saw him lying still, his face expressionless, his breathing had stopped. He had died peacefully in his sleep".

"Wow" Mikey murmered "I would never have believed Splinter and Shredder were close friends after everything that tin headed maniac had done".

Leo sighed. "Its true, Mikey. Every word. I have something to show you Mikey".

Mikey looked fearful as Leonardo produced a small letter written in Splinter's flowing handwriting.

"What is this?" Mikey gasped.

Leo smiled. "I was a fool not to realise Splinter would pick up my presence in the room. He knew he wouldn't survive until morning, and he had written me a letter. A letter which explained everything, his relationship to Shredder, and his fears for us" Leo gave the letter to Mikey. "Read it Mikey. Its a terrifying discovery. But you need to make the journey alone".

Leo rose to leave, and closed the door behind him. Mikey opened the letter with shaking hands and proceeded to read the beloved handwriting. He couldn't believe the information he was reading. It was too unbelievable.

Yet it was written in Splinter's own handwriting.

The most horrific part of all of this was that Mikey believed every word.

And that meant Splinter had been lying to them all along.

Chapter Six

Mikey opened the letter and read the contents with a shaking hand.

Dearest Leonardo,

By now you have discovered my little secret. I have no idea whether or not you will share this discovery with your brothers. However, until they are wise enough to understand the consequences of my words with a measured heart and mind, I advise that you keep the evidence of this to your breast alone.

By this, I do not mean lie to them. If they should ask or if the conversation should ever fall on my failures and successes, indeed my life, then you should tell them. Or perhaps give them this letter so they endure the journey alone as you have done so successfully.

Last night you caught me conversing with my old adversary, Oroku Saki. This in itself is nothing out of the ordinary for me. For The Shredder and I have been conversing for many years. I am fully aware of our history, and the evil he has caused. Yet, there is a friendship that has endured which I would miss if I were to give that friendship up.

Perhaps I should take you back in time, back further than your legendary battle with my adversary, back to the events which forged our friendship forever. To do this, I need to tell you something of the man himself, of his history and his emotions. I have his consent in giving you this information.

Oroku was born in 1953 in Japan. His family were strict and old fashioned, and while he did not wish to learn the martial arts, it was a family tradition he had no choice but uphold. So he studied, and learned the most deadly moves in the footsteps of his own father.

My own Master Yoshi was the teacher of a successful school of martial arts. It was the school most people talked of as being the ultimate clan. I was privaleged to be the Master's favourite pet, and he looked after me with caring and love.

Saki wished to enroll in this school, but Yoshi was suspicious of his motives for learning. Saki had a vengeful nature and wished only to learn the most fatal of moves. Yoshi refused to teach Saki. Saki grew resentment and vowed to one day have revenge on Yoshi.

I remember those years as the most beautiful I have ever had in my life. I trained often in my cage, following the pure example of Master Yoshi, and Yoshi was charmed when he saw me imitating his moves.

A student once exclaimed "That is no ordinary hamster"

To which Yoshi replied "Splinter is no hamster, he is a rat. A very clever rat. It was that admirable trait which had me pick him and buy him from hundreds of other rodents for sale"

I felt a renewed love for Yoshi. No human had ever loved me before, yet Yoshi did. Even when his affections fell on a beautiful young women by the name of Tang Shin, his love for me remained as constant and unconditional as it had ever been.

Saki was nearby all this time, having the desire to wreak revenge on Yoshi for his rejection. Tang Shin made the ideal vengeance. Saki tried to win her heart, yet she snubbed all his affections in preference to the love of my Master. Shin managed to convince Yoshi to flee to America, with me.

America was the ultimate country I have ever had the privalege of being a part of. New York was my Master's dream, and he started a dojo almost immediately and taught young Americans the arts of self-defence.

Unable to cope with the guilt and grief of two rejections; one from my Master and the other from Tang Shin, Saki killed both of them in the dark one evening and then turned his attention to me.

My cage had been dislodged in the battle between Saki and Yoshi, and I had flung myself into Saki's face biting and clawing to no avail. Saki simply looked at me, his eyes simmering and finally becoming almost gentle. He sheathed his sword and looked hard at me, at my stance, and smiled.

"My honour is avenged" Saki said simply "I have no grievance with you".

Then he left.

My heart was torn apart by his actions, for both Yoshi and Shin lay dead before me. I caught the sound of siren's approaching and quickly fled the scene before they caged me and took me to the animal shelters. Hiding in the dirty sewer, I remained alone and afraid until I saw the familiar shadow of a man through a manhole cover. This man saw me and smiled softly.

It was the Shredder. He glanced at me and smiled a little.

Then he disappeared.

Four days later, you and your brothers were delivered into my hands. Its very strange the way fate becomes the very essence of your deepest fears. The Shredder and I began to communicate as I grew larger and more capable of conversation. We would sit for hours discussing good and evil, the role both play on our society ... on our world.

I apologise for the secrecy, but now Leonardo, you do know the truth.

Bear me no ill will. I am fallible, just as you are. The Shredder's friendship meant more to me than you will ever know.

Show this letter to your brothers, when they are ready to accept the truth. And never, ever fear for my intentions were always filled with love for my little ones.

With my love and strength,

Mikey re-folded the letter and stalked out of the room. She found Leonardo, tears brimming in her eyes, sitting with his arms folded on the sofa near the fireplace. "I ... don't believe this! Splinter wouldn't have lied to us!"

Leonardo sighed. "Its true. Its Splinter's writing, Mikey. Look ..." Leonardo took the folded paper from Mikey's hand and showed Mike the handwriting.

"No ..." Mikey collapsed near Leonardo, her eyes filled with tears of regret.

"I'm sorry" Leonardo said sincerely, his hand lifting Mikey's chin so they were staring eye to eye. Mikey swooned as something suddenly happened.

A feeling, something once restrained, was unleashed.

They both knew it as Leonardo moved forward and Mikey closed her eyes waiting for the inevitable kiss.

What they didn't see was the slight shadow moving into the room ...

Part Seven

As Leonardo's lips gently pressed against Mikey's, something lunged itself against Leonardo dislodging him from Mikey's grasp and throwing him against the wall.

Mikey turned, shocked, to discover Raphael standing there. His eyes were completely focused on Leonardo and the fire and rage in his eyes were terrifying.

"She's mine" Raphael growled in a low voice.

"Grow up, Raph. Mikey has made her choice. She's chosen me." Leonardo snarled back.

Mikey looked at both turtles desperately. She had no idea what to say or what to do.

"What makes you think she wants you. Your soft, Leo. She wants a rebel. A bad boy. Like me." Raphael snapped, walking over to Mikey and putting his hands around her shoulders.

"She doesn't want you Raph" Leonardo struggled to his feet and faced Raphael threateningly. "I can protect her better. You'll just mess things up, like you've always done."

Raphael pushed Mikey behind him. His face was dark as night, and ruthless. "You think you can protect her better? I don't think so. Come on, Leo. Take your best shot. We all know you've been wanting to do this for years."

Leonardo glowered at Raphael, his temper getting the better of him. Raphael and Leonardo's relationship had always been strained at the best of times, and this was just the right shove needed to push both of them over the edge. "That's right, Raph. I've wanted to put down your bullying ways for a long time now. Think Mikey will want you after you pushed her around for years? I don't think so."

Raphael shrugged and looked back at the astonished and horrifed Mikey. "I guess its come to this then. I won't be holding back, Leo. Not this time."

Leonardo smiled, his face determined and set. "I wouldn't dream of it."

As Raphael took a step towards his brother, Mikey intervened, stepping between the two of them and holding out her hands for peace. "What are you guys doing? You need to stop this before you hurt each other. It isn't worth it."

Raphael seemed undeterred. He stopped for a moment and then called Donatello's name. Donatello came running into the room, his heart beating wildly at the showdown before him.

"What the hell is going on in here?" Donatello asked.

"Take the girl. Leo and I have some unfinished business." Raphael said threateningly.

Unable to come between them, at the fight that had been building for the better part of fifteen years, Donatello ushered Mikey out of the room quickly.

Raphael and Leonardo simply stared at each other.

"No rules. Fight to the death." Raphael said simply.

Drawing his sword, Leonardo smiled gravely. "Let's get this on."

Part Eight


Raphael angrily descended upon Leonardo with the fury of a tornado, his sai's capturing his brother's blade and snapping it like a twig. Throwing the broken blade aside, Leonardo swept his brother's feet from under him and unsheathed his other sword. Raphael moved to one side to avoid being slashed by the deadly katana, and was instantly on his feet - his face determined and set.

Not one of them spoke. There were no words, no exchanges in combat, no quipps. The battle was silent as it was deadly.

Leonardo blocked a sai thrust, wrenching one of the daggers from Raphael's grasp. He spun around as Raphael attempted to strike again, the remaining dagger catching Leonardo's shell and harmlessly sliding off. Raphael kicked out as Leonardo moved aside, his sword slicing through the leg cleanly.

Leonardo stood there, standing over his stricken brother, his sword raised for one final strike.

But, something caught his eye.

Droplets of his brother's blood, dripping from the blade of the katana to the floor, staining the mat on the floor deep velvety red.

Leonardo gasped as reality hit him and took a step back. He looked at Raphael's leg, the flap of skin bleeding and bruising and realised what he was doing.

Raphael took the opportunity to launch another attack. His uninjured leg swung round, catching Leonardo in the midriff and bowling him over. Leonardo fell heavily as Raphael punched at his face relentlessly and raised his sai dagger for the final strike.

Donatello had come back into the room, for this battle had been swift as well as silent, and was screaming for calm. He ran towards Raphael with his arms open, appealing to his brother piteously, as Raphael struck him calmly with the sai. Donatello fell back, the sai lodged in his shoulder, and he hit the wall hard. He fell to his knees, blood spewing from the wound.

Raphael continued to beat upon Leonardo, his face a mask of pure hatred. His brother's face was bloodied and bruised and his eyes were closed. He was still under this vicious onslaught, his body limp.

Mikey came back into the room at this point, screaming at the sight that met her eyes. Donatello, half conscious, kneeling by the wall. Raphael triumphantly standing over Leonardo's seemingly lifeless body tearing into the still form with unrelenting punches.

Running to Raphael's side, Mikey grabbed hold of hir wists. "Stop it Raph! You're killing him!"

Raphael stopped at looked at Mikey, then looked at Leo. Understanding, for the first time, the enormity of his actions he gasped and fell back. Mikey desperately felt Leonardo's wrist for a pulse, put her head over Leonardo's to feel breath. There was a faint pulse and Leonardo's breath was erratic.

Raphael shook his head, and felt immense jealousy and anger at the sight of Mikey and Leonardo so close.

"I want what's mine" Raphael growled. He crawled over to Mikey and grabbed her around the waist, shoving her down to the floor roughly. Mikey fell into a pool of Leonardo's blood, screaming in frustration and agony as Raphael pushed himself onto her. His hands were intrusive, prodding her, pushing her onto her stomach and lifting himself onto her shell.

"Raph ... stop ... please ..." Mikey gasped, her face red and bruised. She was panicked and afraid.

She felt him heave himself upon her, an unwanted weight pressing her to the floor. His legs sought hers, entwining and keeping her from struggling. She screamed.

Suddenly, the weight was gone.

Mikey sat up shakily, and saw a single figure standing there, holding Raphael by the throat and lifting him without any effort whatsoever. Her eyes were blurred with tears but she could make out the metallic visor and the glint of the armour.

It was the Shredder.

Chapter Nine

Raphael choked and tried to free himself from the sturdy grasp.

Suddenly, the Shredder released him. Raphael fell to the ground, shaken and wheezing - and glaring - at the cold figure of the Turtles nemesis. He had neither pity nor mercy in his eyes. His face was set behind his visor, callous and cruel.

Mikey crawled over to Leonardo. His unconscious form, beaten and bloody drew no concern from the Shredder. He stood still and watched.

Donatello pulled out the sai dagger with clenched teeth. Throwing the bloodied weapon to the floor, he crawled over to Mikey's side and felt Leonardo's pulse. It was faint. "He's in a bad way, Mikey. We have to get him to his bed."

"What about the bath tub? We used it for Raph once, right?" Mikey asked in a shaken voice, afraid to look in the direction of his once trusted, sai-wielding brother.

"That was a long time ago, Mikey. We were young then." He glared up at the Shredder "I think he'd be better off in his room."

The Shredder moved to one side, allowing Mikey and Donny to lift Leonardo and take him from the room. Donatello, although suffering from the wound on his arm, lifted Leonardo's legs gently. They moved him to his room and lay him on the bed.

"What about Raph?" Mikey asked in a torn voice.

Donatello shook his head. "I don't like leaving him in the room with an old enemy, but I hate to say this, without Shredder we'd be in a heap of trouble. Was he spying on us?"

Mikey shook his head. "I have no idea, Donny. I just didn't think Raph was capable of this. He almost killed Leo. He almost ... almost ... I don't know what to feel."

Donatello nodded, embracing Mikey close. "I'm sorry, Mikey. I don't get it either. We knew Leo and Raph had a history, but this? He's lost control. He's acting on instinct."

"Should we go back? We can't let Shredder kill Raphael!" Mikey leaned into the embrace and closed her eyes. It was like a bad dream.

"I don't think he's here to kill us." Donatello mused. "Call me nuts, but the Shredder actually saved us! He saved us from ourselves."

Mikey looked downcast. "Donny, there's something I need to tell you. Its important, and might be a reason why Shredder is here."

Donatello shook his head. "Leave it for now, Mikey. Your tired. Take a sleep. I'll watch over Leo."

Mikey lay down on the bed next to Leonardo and closed her eyes. Her hand wrapped around the limp hand of Leo, and she relaxed and drifted.

Donatello started to dress and bandage his wound, and those of his brother.


Raphael glared up at the Shredder. "What are you doin' here? This aint any of your business."

The Shreddder remained cold and unrelenting.

Raphael struggled to his feet, his one leg bleeding terribly after the katana had sliced it.

"Well? What are you doin' here? Have you come to kill us?"

The Shredder's eyes swept the room as he surveyed damaged furniture. The broken katana lay on the floor, blood stained everything.

"You are doing my job for me." The Shredder stated in his metallic tone. "Who would have thought that Splinter's beloved sons would turn on each other ... over a girl."

"So you know." Raphael turned away. "Got your ninja spies keeping tabs on us?"

"The Foot Clan have nothing to do with this. I gave my word to an old friend."

Raphael shook his head, confused. "I have no idea what your talking about, plus, I didn't think you had any friends."

The Shredder glanced away. "Before you take a path you cannot alter, remember that it is your brother's, and 'that girl' who have stood beside you all these years. They've been loyal and have backed you up when they could have walked away. Ask yourself this, do you want to betray everything they've done for you?"

Raphael turned red with anger. "What would YOU know about it? How can you stand there and lecture me on this? You've betrayed everything you've ever known."

"Things happen we regret. "The Shredder sighed. "I wish someone had given me foresight."

"Get out!" Raphael snarled. "GET OUT!"

The shredder swept imperiously out of the room, leaving Raphael to think about what he had done.

Chapter Ten

Raphael paced the room, his face reddened, surveying the damage they had caused. He knew that he had almost killed Leonardo, and that was something he would never be able to forgive himself for. Consequences bloodied his brain, and he realised he had lost total control.

Not only had he almost killed one brother, he had almost raped Mikey. Nothing could have stopped him, save The Shredder. He had been totally set in what he had to do - the conquest for Mikey had led to that horrible moment he had lifted himself on top of her, sought to use and take her, sought to dominate, to control, to make her his.

Leonardo's weakness in one moment had ensured his downfall. The moment clarity of the situation hit Leo like a sledgehammer, Raphael made his move. Would have finished the job, too. If it hadn't been for The Shredder.

Who the hell was this Shredder anyway? Why had he turned up at the exact moment of total victory?

Then, the exact same moment of clarity that had hit Leo, hit Raphael. He slumped to the floor - leg still bleeding a little - and started to cry. What the fuck had happened to them? They were acting like animals - without regard for each other.

Mikey triggered something inside of Raphael. An base instinct that knew no control, no love ... only a desire to control.

Understanding the nature of his own feelings, Raphael felt vulnerable and out of control. He would kill them all to have Mikey. He knew there was no line he wouldn't cross to have her.

Picking himself up off the floor, Raphael left the lair. Walked out into the sewer tunnels, and up through a manhole cover into Central Park. He needed time to think.

He couldn't, wouldn't go back. Not until he could control himself around Mikey.


Mikey was dreaming about a large man in a red cape. He was running after her - and although she tried hard to run away, she seemed to be stuck in mud. She couldn't move. Closer, he came. His face was leering, his expression reddened. She screamed.

Bolting upright and awake, Mikey looked around herself.

Leo was lying beside her. His wounds were all bandaged neatly, his breathing shallow. She looked across at a chair where Donatello was sitting, his wound had also been bandaged. Not as neatly as the job he'd done on Leo, but enough to keep the wound from getting infected.

Mikey sat up and maneouvered off the bed and walked towards Donatello.

Donatello was facing away from them, looking at the wall.

"Donny? You okay?" Mikey put an arm on Donatello's shoulder. His shoulder's were shaking slightly. "Hey, turn around."

Donny reluctantly turned to face Mikey, his eyes sore and red. "What the hell have we become, Mikey?"

Mikey shrugged and smiled a little. "I know what I am. A girl, apparantly. It's not your fault. None of this is."

"But I'm the scientist, Mikey. I should have stopped this happening."

Michaelangelo shook her head. "Not your fault. You couldn't stop this. It just happened."

A groan disturbed them from the bed. Leonardo's eyes were flickering open, and he was in a lot of pain.

"Leo ..." Donatello walked over to the bed and lay an arm on Leo's shoulder. "Stay still. You're very weak."

"Raph ..." Leo croaked, trembling from the pain of his wounds. "What happened?"

Donatello shook his head. "I haven't a clue, Leo. You two need to realise that your still brothers. Stop all this fighting."

Leo nodded a little, wincing. "He really did a number on me."

"If Shredder hadn't gotten him off you, you would have really been turtle soup." Donny smiled, and watched the joke soften his brother's countenance and a small smile form on the bruised lips. Then Leonardo stiffened.

"Shredder? He was here?" Leo gasped.

"Yes, he stopped Raph from doing any more damage. If it wasn't for him ..." Donny drew a breath and left the sentance unfinished.

"Are you and Mikey okay?" Leo asked. His voice was getting weaker with the strain of being conscious.

"We're fine, Leo. Get some rest." Donatello patted Leo's arm, and gestured for Mikey to come and sit beside him.

Watching Leonardo and Mikey hold hands, Donatello felt a pang of jealousy shoot through him. It was hard enough to comprehend what had happened to Mikey, but to feel so intense was disturbing. Shoving the feelings to the back of his mind, Donatello left them both alone in the bedroom. He knew Leonardo would need rest, and Mikey would need time to recover from what could have been a vicious rape.

Donatello sat in the damaged main room, on an unbroken chair, wondering why life had changed so much for them in such little time.

Chapter Eleven

"Mike?" Leonardo's eyes shot open.

"I'm right here, Leo." Mikey squeezed Leo's weak hand firmly, and gave a small smile.

"I keep having repeated dreams of Raph killing me and hefting you off to his bedroom." Leonardo shuddered. "I guess I couldn't protect you after all."

"You did your best, Leo. Raph went in for the kill. You couldn't do that." Mikey fiddled with the bedsheet in her other hand nervously. "Do you really think the winner would ever have me? Even if he raped me, my mind wouldn't be there. I could have never loved one brother knowing he had killed the other."

Leo smiled sadly. The weight of failure pressed heavily on his shoulders. The wounds were nothing compared to the bleak knowledge that Raphael had bested him. "Change of subject, Mikey."

Mikey looked up, hopeful. "Yeah? What?"

"Your new name. I like the idea of Mica. Still retains your old name but gives a girly twist to it." Leo grinned suddenly, his eyes brightening. "Mica. Yeah, I can see you answering to that."

Mikey mused on the possibility of Mica. It wasn't half bad. Best of all, it still sounded like Mikey. She nodded, her smile the answer Leo needed to hear. "Mica it is. For now. I might change back in the future."

"I don't know if I can handle you changing again, Mica. The amount of instability that this change has brought to our family alone." Leo shuddered. "The weird thing is, it could happen again - to one of us."

Mica sat forward, intregued. "Come again?"

"Don's been through this with you already. The instinct to switch sex is inbedded within us all. You might not be the only one to change."

Mica brooded upon this, her eyes small and drawn. "I have this horrible feeling that I might not take another change very well. I'm the only female in this group. I hope I don't become a Raph-Monster and try to off the other girl."

Leo smiled reassuringly. "I don't think for a second you'd react like that. Help me up, won't you?"

Mica shook her head. "Absolutely no way. Raph pounded you into the ground. There's no chance you're getting up."

"The best way for me to heal is to sit and meditate, Mica. Gaining control over my spirit has always helped me." Leo struggled to sit upright and Mica helped Leo sit cross-legged on the bed. "I need some time alone. Time to heal. I'll be okay."

Mica nodded and rose, leaving the room with a backward glance. Leo was so strong and sure of himself, the way he was sitting there so collected and calm, even in the face of all those injuries.

Mica walked straight through to the main room and saw Donatello collapsed in a heap on the one unbroken chair that remained.

"Hey, Don. You ok?" Mica sat on the floor next to the chair, her hand resting on Donatello's right knee.

"I'm coping. How you doing Mikey?" Don smiled down at Mica's grinning face.

"Leo seems more himself. He's meditating. Oh, and my name isn't Mikey anymore. Its Mica." Mica squeezed Don's knee affectionately.

"That's good. I still can't understand the Shredder being here at all. Why intervene in the first place? Why not just let us tear ourselves to pieces?"

Mica looked dejectedly at the floor. "I need to tell you something, Don. Something Leo told me about Splinter's relationship with the Shredder."

Donatello smiled knowingly. "I am a genius, Mica. I can work out that he was here to help us. That means he isn't what we thought he was. Not completely, at any rate."

"There's more to it than that. I have to tell you everything." Mica began, and retold the story of Shredder and Splinter to Donatello. Don's eyes narrowed as he listened to the improbable tale, but he didn't interupt once. He just listened and absorbed the information Mica was telling him. After the story ended and Mica was staring at the floor unable to say anymore, Donatello found his voice.

"Its okay, Mica. I'm glad you told me."

"You believe it?" Mica asked, her voice small and unsure.

"I like facts, Mica. I'll need to see the letter and then I'll decide what to believe. Don't worry about this anymore, you have enough to worry about." Donatello smiled at Mica and clapped a hand on her shoulder. "Just stay with Leo. I'll go out and find our wayward brother."


Raphael hugged himself as the cold wind whipped around him. He was sat on the grass, thinking about everything that had transpired recently. It was so horrible to think about his own reaction towards his brothers and sister. Even worse to think about the Shredder stepping in and saving his family, from Raphael himself!

Raph felt like a complete failure. At his core, he only wanted to protect his family. He had failed to do so, and had revealed a base part of himself that he hated desperately. Nothing new in that, of course. Raphael hated himself most of the time.

A flood of tears released and he was sobbing desperately. Once the tears flowed, they could not be stopped. Raphael heaved with the effort of crying, and howled desperately into the night.

Then, a calm descended over him completely. He felt the tears subside and a gentle warmth cover him. If he were religious in any way, he would have thought Splinter's spirit was comforting him. As it was, he let this unknown warmth fill him and flood over his entire being, the bitter wind forgotten.

He looked at his hand, his meaty green hand, and curled his fingers into a fist. His brain ached with the tiredness from combat and over-thinking. He lay in the fetal position and relaxed his fist slowly, watching the fingers curl outward limply.

His stomach and leg were quite painful due to the fight, and he curled into himself tighter. He felt strangely numb and deeply alone.

The words carried by the wind caught his attention and he recognised his brother's worried tone. Donatello was searching the park, his voice reassuring but focused as he searched every shadow for Raphael.

It wasn't long before Donatello's methodical search yielded results. He stood over the curled figure of his brother, and knelt down to try and unfurl him from the fetal position. "Raph? Raph? It's me, Don. Its okay. We're all gonna be okay."

Raphael allowed Donatello to unwind his body, and lay flat on the grass, looking up at the purple bandana that looked almost black in the night. Don's eyes were narrowed and concerned, and Raphael realised that what he wanted more than anything in the world was to embrace Donatello.

Raph was far to proud to initiate a hug, and simply lay there. Donatello sat beside Raphael, and lay down also. Both turtles stared at the stars in silence, laying on the wet grass. Comforted by each other's prescence. Not having to say anything, not having to do anything. Just staying put. Together.


Over the next few days, Raphael was more than eager to help Leonardo in his healing process. The fight was never mentioned again, and Mica seemed to be thriving. Leonardo had taken to holding her hand, and the attraction between them was obvious. Raphael said nothing, he just plumped Leo's pillows and brought out fresh tea and pizza for the ailing oldest. He seemed almost broken by what had happened and Donatello kept a constant watch over Raph. Donatello was worried. It wasn't just that Raphael was acting differently. The same symptoms that had plagued Mica before her sex change were also happening to Raphael. Donatello kept his prognosis a secret to spare Raphael's pride a further blow but as the days turned into weeks it became apparant that Raphael's voice was becoming higher in pitch.

Raphael stubbornly refused to discuss these details with Donatello. Even in agony at night, when Raphael tossed and turned and looked to Donatello with fearful eyes, nothing was said. Nothing needed to be said. They both knew the score. Donatello kept a respectful distance and allowed Raphael time to come to terms with what was now inevitable.

It wasn't long before Raphael broke down into a flood of tears and Donatello was there to comfort him. It all came spilling out then - the changes in body and mind where only the beginning. Raphael hadn't recovered from his battle with Leonardo as well as Donatello had hoped. He was disgusted with what he had done and couldn't cope with the fact he had almost murdered Leonardo. Then to top it all off, he had almost raped Mica. He confided everything to Donatello in a hushed voice, and told Donatello he feared the sex change was happening to himself too.

Donatello shushed Raphael, held him close, and then took him off to the lab to study his blood and body. He ran his hands over Raphael's arm muscles. His skin was definitely softer and definitely more feminine. He looked into Raphael's eyes and smiled sadly. He really didn't need to confirm what was happening as they both knew.

Raphael shook his head and looked away from Donatello. "It's kinda ironic, right? I deserve this after what I did."

"Don't be silly, Raph. Neither you or Mica deserved any of this. Its nature. It just happens." Donatello lay a reassuring hand on Raphael's shoulder. "I always knew there was a chance another of us would change. Makes sense really. We'd be tearing each other apart for one female if there was just one."

"I want to die, Don. I can't handle this." Raphael looked terrified. Eyes burning with shame and fear. "Its not right. I was always the strongest out of us. I barrelled into my enemies and scattered them like bowling pins. What can I do now?"

Donatello smiled. "You can put that customary Raph stubborness into action and refuse to give up. That's what you always do."

Raphael smiled back. "So I need a new name?"

Don shook his head gently. "You don't need to have a new name. Stick to Raphael if you want. Its not going to hurt anyone."

Raphael steadied himself and asked in a shattered voice. "So what am I? Guy or girl?"

Donatello felt Raphael's need for his prognosis. To have the answer they both knew would make things real for Raphael. "Raphael. You are a girl."

Raphael laughed mirthlessly and shook her head in utter disgust. "Go on, say how much I deserved this."

Donatello looked away, unable to reply.

Raphael rose to her feet, trembling. She walked out of the lab.

"Raph, don't go too far!" Donatello warned, chasing after her and catching up to Raphael before she reached the door.

"Why? Why do you care anyway? Wanna get into my shell, that it?" Raphael shoved Donatello out of the way roughly, snarling, and Don fell awkwardly. Donny flipped quickly back to his feet and grabbed Raph from behind, pulling her backwards and onto the chair. Clamped in Donatello's vice-like grip, Raph could only struggle. The strength Raphael had depended on for years was nothing more than a woman's strength now, and Donatello was far superior. She snarled and twisted in Donny's grasp, but he only held her tighter.

"Raph. Calm down. I don't want to hurt you." Donny held Raphael until she went slack in his arms, defeated. There was nothing Raphael could do to get out of Donatello's grip. Once she realised this, she relaxed completely and allowed Don to rock her gently.

"This is so wrong." Raph groaned as Don held her close. "I shouldn't be like this. Not me. Not me."

That was the moment Mica walked out of Leonardo's room and stopped dead in her tracks. Looking wearily at Donatello and Raphael she asked, "What the shell is going on?"

Chapter Twelve

Donatello and Raphael traded a quick glance and then stared at Mica as she determinedly walked towards them both.

"It's okay, Mica. I've just gone through the same change as you have." Raphael nodded towards Mica, her head shaking in disbelief.

"Your a girl?" Mica didn't seem threatened, merely curious. "How?"

Raphael shrugged herself out of Donatello's grip which had now slackened, and got to her feet to face Mica. "Don't know. Just happened. Like what happened to you."

"Are we all going to change?" Mica asked Donatello with wide eyes.

Donatello shrugged his shoulders. "Possible, but very unlikely. It looks like you two are in this together now."

Raphael looked at Mica dejectedly. "Look, I'm really sorry about the way I acted before. Can we help each other through this? I mean, if this is as weird to you as it is to me, we're both gonna need some backup."

Mica smiled brightly. Then her expression darkened. "Hands off Leo. He's mine."

Raphael raised her hands awkwardly and smiled reassuringly at Mica. "You really think me and Leo would last a week? We'd have epic arguments and split before next Monday."

Mica grinned, visualising the two dominating personalities going head-to-head. "Yeah. Donny is much more suited to you. He can calm that notorious temper of yours."

"I'm not Don's type. He needs a scientist, some geeky girl to hook up with." Raphael smiled at Mica. "I'd only hold him back. Blow up at him and lose my temper."

Donatello merely watched the two girls as they discussed him openly. It was an interesting change of dynamics - Raphael and Mica discussing guys. It made sense they were talking about himself and Leo - after all options were a little sparse in the sewers.

Raphael's voice broke a little. "Besides, I'm no-where near good enough for Don."

"Don't put yourself down, Raph. Donnie loves you." Mica put a reassuring hand on Raphael's shoulder.

"I'm right here, you know." Donatello said with an amused smile. "You can just ask me what I think about all this."

Mica and Raphael turned to look at Donatello, although Raphael had her face set in a grim manner. She wasn't expecting good news, and Donatello could almost feel misery emanating off her in waves.

"Look. This is an extremely bizarre and unusual sitatuon, even for mutants like us. As for whether I could love Raphael, that's a moot point. I've always loved Raphael. Whether I could love Raphael in a sexual way and see her as a partner, I don't know that yet. After all, we've been siblings all our lives, and I've never viewed Raphael in that way before. It's confusing and improbable, but not impossible."

Mica and Raph exchanged glances. Mica frowned. "We're the only ones of our kind, Don. We don't have that many options here."

Donatello smiled sadly and nodded gently towards Raphael. "Do I think you're an attractive mutant? Yes, definitely. The changes have made you softer, and more feminine. You have curves that didn't exist before, and they are extremely arousing. I am definitely attracted to this female version of Raphael."

Mica slapped her hand on Raphael's arm. "See, its all working out."

Raphael looked at Donatello with a knowing expression. "I can feel a 'but' coming."

Donatello shifted uncomfortably in his chair. "There actually isn't a 'but' here, Raph. I'm just telling you how it is. We could start, I don't know, going out more often if you'd like. Maybe to the cinema together? Or take a rooftop run and circle the block?"

Raphael's eyes narrowed. "Donny. I'm not your type. You'd be making do. Anyone who knows you knows you are the geeky type."

"Opposites attract, Raph. After all - look at Leo and Mica. They couldn't be more opposite if they tried. They've found happiness together."

"You're saying I'm your opposite?" Raphael asked, confusion in her words. "I thought I was Leo's opposite and that's why we argue so much."

Donatello smiled and shook his head. "No, you two have similar personalities. You're both very dominant and like to be in control. Mica and me are more passive types, who are perfectly suited to your more fiery personalities."

Raphael thought about this, her eye ridges creased in confusion. "I'm gonna stop thinking about this. I feel like my head's exploding."

"Maybe I should just prove my point instead." Donatello got to his feet and crossed the distance between himself and Raphael in seconds. "I'll speak in your language, Raph."

Then, everything went into slow motion for Raphael. Donatello leant in gently and brushed his mouth against Raph's in a tender manner. There was barely any contact, just a quick brush and then removed before Raphael could even catch her breath. Her heart pounding wildly, Raphael felt the ground moving. A hand clamped on her shoulder to steady her. Donatello's hand.

"Actions speak louder than words for you, don't they Raph." Donatello said softly, his hand steady and sure. Keeping Raph from falling to the ground in surprise and amazement.

"Where did that come from, Donnie?" Raphael asked breathlessly. "I really wasn't expecting that."

Donatello took Raph's hand and pressed it firmly against his plastron. His heart was beating rapidly beneath the firm exterior. "Feel that, Raph? That's because of you."

Mica shifted uncomfortably. Events in this room were becoming intimate at an alarming rate. "I'm going to go check on Leo, guys. I'll be back in a while."

Raphael and Donatello didn't even hear Mica's voice. Or the door to Leo's room open and shut quickly. They were both lost in that improbable haze of arousal, hearts beating too fast. Breathing hitched.

"I want you." Raphael growled, her voice low but sure. "I want you now."

Donatello smiled affectionately and kissed the hand he was still holding against his heart. "In time, Raph. Not right now. It'd be wrong to just wing it. There's things I have to research first mainly to ensure this is going to be safe."

Raphael pushed Donatello back down on the chair, her cheeks flushed with desire. She straddled him and kissed him roughly on the mouth, drawing a surprised breath from the confused turtle. "I want you now, Donnie."

"Easy, Raph." Donatello mumbled, his words muffled because of the rough kisses. "In time. I promise. Give me some research time. I want this to be right."

Raphael got to her feet, shaking her head to dispel the overpowering arousal. "I can't wait long, Don."

Donatello shot to his feet, pausing momentarily to brush his fingers against Raphel's cheek. "Believe me, I won't take long. Give me half an hour to check things out, work out how this is going to happen. We're not completely reptilian, Raph. We are anthropomorphic turtles. Our biology is a lot different to your normal turtle or average human. I have to work out how we are going to do this."

Raphael nodded dejectedly. "Fine. We could just ask Mica and Leo how they do it."

Donatello smiled gently at Raphael. "They haven't done it yet, Raph. You know Leo - he likes to take things slow and sure. He wouldn't rush Mica into anything, not with something as important as reproduction."

"Can't we just call it sex, Donnie? I'm not looking to be a mother yet." Raphael smiled wanly.

"Exactly. That's exactly why we can't rush this. If we let nature take over then I think its pretty obvious where it's going to lead. Humans have protection to ensure they don't get pregnant.  I need to work out how to satisfy you and not get you pregnant." Donatello was drifting over to his lab, focused on the task at hand. "Mutant turtle mating is something that has never happened before, Raph. Ever."

Raphael sighed and sank onto the chair. Sometimes, you could overthink things too much. Raphael was sure that Donatello was overthinking all of this. Why not let nature take over? It made no sense to Raphael in her current lustful haze to wait another moment.

Finally, after twenty minutes of fidgeting for Raphael, Donatello emerged from the lab. He was merely looking at Raph, his eyes hazed with arousal. He nodded once, and then beckoned to Raphael.

"My room, ten minutes." Donatello went back inside the lab and closed the door.

Raphael was startled, but jumped to her feet instantly. Her heart was hammering with anticipation. She moved to the bedroom without a second thought, and lay on Donatello's duvet waiting.   

Ten minutes later, right on cue, Donatello entered.

Chapter Thirteen

A letter to Master Splinter

It has been five years and our lives have changed dramatically. I wish you could have seen how Mica and Raph have evolved. I miss you everyday, and I hope that wherever you are, you are still watching over us now.

Raph was the first to have children. It was inevitable. Don and Raph spent most of the day in the confines of each other's room. At first, Raph had seemed moody and irritable. she had been touchy and unable to settle for weeks.

Then I found her panting and holding a rail for support. She looked at me with terrified eyes and told me she thought she was dying. Don came to the rescue, laying Raph down in a fetal position and opening her legs for a closer look.

He had suspected this was going to happen.

I reassured Raph and held her head gently as Don explained that she was due to lay at any time. Her eggs would have been broken if she had remained standing. He told her to lie on her stomach and open her legs wide. Raph followed the instructions without interruption, the pain too intense to do much else except obey.

Donny had caught the first egg as it appeared from between Raph's legs. Mica had took it quickly to the incubation unit Don had constructed in case something of this nature happened.  As Mica returned, yet another egg was being laid, and Raph was panting in agony.

After the sixth egg, Raph was pale and worn. She slipped into an uneasy sleep as Donny examined her carefully. She had finished laying and was now free to rest.

Mica watched the eggs in fascination as they moved a little, small noises coming from within.

we had always wondered whether we would lay eggs or bear live young. The mutagen meant that either was possible, but this made perfect sense. Raph's plastron couldn't swell with her stomach, and so nature found a way around the problem.

They hatched a few days after. Raph was amazed to see six tiny mutant turtles exploring their incubator, Donny was a very proud father watching their every movement.

The early days were hard. Six babies and four adults proved tough for us all. Raph was extremely protective, and kept her babies very close through the first stages of their lives.

It took Mica and myself longer to take things to a more physical level. In a way, I wanted to protect Mica from my own desires and urges. However, the need for intimacy became to great and we lay together for the first time.

It turns out that we are both highly fertile, and Mica conceived during our first sexual encounter.

The eggs that were lain were all successfully reared, thanks to the watchful eyes of us all. Mica had five children in total, which meant we had eleven children overall.

Ninjutsu was never this hard. Rearing eleven excitable little turtles resulted in more accidents and mishaps than you would ever believe. Like us, they were willful, adventurous and prone to getting themselves into trouble. we gave them individual bandanna colours and named them - as a tribute to you - after famous artists.

The Shredder has been keeping watch from a distance. It is disconcerting, the knowledge that he is out there. However, we have come to realise that he is no threat to our ever expanding family.

In the years since we continued to evolve and breed, our offspring becoming young adults by the time they were four. we ran out of painters names eventually, but we have chosen names based on our heritage. Strong ninja names that will stand the test of time.

We train them all, of course. Our legacy is our ninjutsu, and the children are quick to grasp the basics.

In our five years of conceiving young, we now have twenty-seven youngsters of various ages. The eldest help with the youngest.

To us, they are more than family.

It is the survival of our species.


The End

Author's Note:

Wow, this has been a battle and a half to complete. The first chapter was written in 2001, and it has taken over ten years to complete.

I never hurry myself with fanfiction. I like to write things when I feel the time is right. That's why there is sometimes days or even years between chapters.

The answer came to me last night, I had an epilogue. I felt I had explored enough to complete the story.

I might write some one-shots in the future, but the main story is complete.

Thank you to EVERYONE who has been on this journey with me. I am thankful for every single review, fave and follow.  I still cannot believe there are ninety-five reviews, and this story was voted in the Turtle story awards as a winner. I'm overwhelmed.

I hope this ends the way everyone was hoping. The story was entitled Survival of the Species for a reason. I've taken liberties with Turtle biology because they need to reproduce at a fairly fast rate to start to build the species into something that can survive the generations to come.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who wrote and encouraged me, personally.

I hope you managed to see the ending, and didn't disappear into the world without checking back every now and again. I hope you've come back and seen the finale.

Bless you all.

Big Thanks to those who followed, favourited and reviewed this story on FF.net;

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