Wymack didn’t care if he had nine Foxes or twenty-five. He’d stand behind them until the bitter, bloody end.
“Last I checked Andrew doesn’t like you,” Wymack said.
“He still doesn’t,” Neil said, but he didn’t bother to explain.
“Abby wrote me a speech to give you this afternoon. It sounded nice, had lots of stuff about courage and loss and coming together in everyone’s time of need. I tore it up and tossed it in the trash can beside my desk.”
Wymack cleared his throat and scratched a hand through his short hair. “Look. Shit happened. Shit’s going to keep happening. You don’t need me to tell you life isn’t fair. You’re here because you know it isn’t.”
“I want you on the court in light gear in five minutes or I’ll sign you all up for a marathon.”
“I don’t pay for electricity in this place so you can stand around and gossip.”
“Andrew Joseph Minyard, what the flying fuck have you done this time?”
“Answers now, Aaron,” Wymack said.
“I don’t know,” Aaron said.
“My ass you don’t.”
They were all on time, but Wymack and Abby were conspicuously absent.”
“Get your gear and get out of my locker room.”
He looked the other way because he knew how badly some of them needed their escapes to survive.
It was apparently better to be uncomfortable but safe than to trust a stranger with his fractured team.
“Last I checked this was a team meeting, not a gossip circle.”
“If any of you so much as look at the Terrapins on your way past their benches I’ll let you walk home from here.”
“Some people are just hardwired to be stupid.”
Neil had never seen Wymack smile like this. It was small but fierce, as angry as it was proud.
“Why did you pay for stalls, Coach?”
Wymack lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Maybe I knew you’d need them one day.”
Nicky pulled the window down to yell insults, but Wymack threatened him into silence.
Wymack pulled a bottle of vodka out of the bag and put it down beside Kevin. “You have ten seconds to inhale as much of this as you can. I’m timing you. Go.”
Wymack turned on Neil. “Did you or did you not tell me you weren’t going to start a fight?”
“What can I do?” Wymack asked.
…”I don’t know,” Neil said.
“When you know, tell me.”
“Go forth,” Wymack told his Foxes. “Have fun. Or don’t. I don’t care. Just no more fighting, you got me?”
“Andrew spent that night here with me. At first I figured he was mad at Kevin for lying to him, but he was more worked up about you.”
“I didn’t ask for an apology, wiseass.”
Wymack stared at him for an endless minute, then said too quietly, “The fuck did you just say to me?”
“He chose to cross a line. You didn’t. You hear me? You didn’t. Don’t ever blame yourself for Seth’s death.”
Wymack kept Neil away from the microphone, not trusting Neil to behave himself.
“Five points or twenty-six miles. Do the math and decide which one makes you happier.”
“Let’s do this,” he said. “The sooner we kill these bastards, the sooner we can get roaring drunk at Abby’s place. I spent all damned morning stocking her fridge.”
“I have a cleaning crew coming in tomorrow to wash the Raven stench off our court. Let’s get the hell out of here and get wasted.”
“Neil,” Wymack said. “Between you and me, I don’t think you’ve ever been fine.”
“Nicky tried to hug Andrew and almost got himself staked with a kitchen knife.”
“Speaking of unpredictable assholes, when did that happen?”
“When did what?” Neil asked.
Wymack eyed him. “Forget it.”
“Figure out what you two need to cope with this, and let us know.”
“I want one lap for every time you’ve ever said the NCAA’s never had your back.”
“Oh, Jesus,” Nicky said. “We’ll be running all day.”
“Better get started, then,” Wymack said. “Move out, maggots.”
“Be here at six o’clock tomorrow morning,” Wymack said. “We’ve got a game to win Friday.”
[Nicky]: “I can’t understand you. That’s not fair.”
“Think about that the next time you use German at my practices,” Wymack said.
Wymack came out of nowhere and hauled Neil off Riko like he weighed nothing at all.
Wymack answered on the fourth ring. “You have a good reason to be bothering me on a holiday?”
“He sounds like Neil,” Wymack said, “but he doesn’t look like him. I’ll take your explanation from the top and without a side order of bullshit, thanks.”
He stopped fighting to get free; the hands that had been trying to wrench Wymack’s arms off him now held on for dear life.
“Can I let go of you and trust you to behave, or are you going to try and cut your face off again?”
Wymack didn’t say anything about the scars… He just checked Neil over with a clinical eye and poked at every line of stitches for weaknesses.
“He gave me a contract but I wouldn’t sign it. He couldn’t make me sign it. This doesn’t mean anything. I’m still a Fox.”
“Of course you are,” Wymack said.
and of course, mine and everyone else’s personal favorite:
After conducting hours of extensive research (aka binge watching the second half of TMNT season 4), I think I’ve finally discovered the real reason why Donatello is noticeably thinner than his brothers. I have included samples of my findings below …
Sample #1: ‘Mutant Gangland’
When a bunch of ruthless gangsters attack Raph, Donnie, and Mondo Gecko from above, Raphael uses his trusty grappling hook to swiftly take to the rooftops and swing into action.
Donatello, however, chooses to scale up the side of the building without the aid of his grappling hook. Clearly, he’s trying to burn off several hundred extra calories in order to maintain his lean figure.
Sample #2: ‘The Power Inside Her’
All three of Donnie’s brothers are quick to whip out their grappling hooks so they can easily pull themselves up to the top of the multistory Channel 6 News building.
Donatello, on the other hand - Well, I believe the pictures speak for themselves here …
The brainiac turtle is obviously a workout nut, bound and determined to stay fit, trim, and ‘svelte.’ Unlike his brothers, he doesn’t take shortcuts when it comes to cardiovascular activities. As a bona fide genius, he knows just how important regular exercise is to one’s health.
However, upon further research, I strongly recommend that Donatello cease and desist his strenuous training regimen as soon as possible, for it has proven to have harmful side effects on the turtle in purple. Please take a moment to examine the irrefutable evidence below …
Exhibit #1: ‘Mutant Gangland’ (after climbing up to the rooftop)
Exhibit #2: ‘The Power Inside Her’ (again, after climbing up to the rooftop)
*We all remember this horrifying moment …
In conclusion …
While Donatello may like to forgo using his grappling hook to keep excess pounds off, the data I have collected indisputably shows that this behavior leads to nothing but pain and suffering for the poor terrapin. If Donnie’s brothers ever catch him in the act of climbing up the side of a building without his grappling device again, they need to immediately drop everything they’re doing and drag his shell all the way back to the lair. 😆
“Just a few more minutes and you will reach a state of complete understanding. You will find true peace and true purpose. Now, breathe in-”
The soothing voice that came out of the radio speakers was suddenly drowned out by a guttural roar, echoing through the sewers. Splinter, who had been balancing on his tail for more than twenty-four hours, lost his footing and had to resume his normal posture before falling to the ground in the most humiliating way.
His eyes grew wide and his lips were just a thin line as Leonardo and Michelangelo tried to pull Raphael into their lair. He wasn’t angry - he was furious.
“Let me go! I will find them! I will ki-”
“Calm down, brah!”
“Shut up and let me GO!”
Raphael pulled on Mikey’s golden necklace to throw him out of balance, before roughly shoving him against Donatello and out of the way. After that, he faced his big brother Leo and snarled at him. His voice wasn’t more than a dangerous hiss, and his eyes were narrowed to piercing slits.
“Lemme go, Leo. I won’t ask twice!”
“No, you won’t!”, came the deafening voice of their father. It was only then that Raphael paused in his tracks.
The giant rat slowly made his way to Michelangelo and Donatello, touching their forearms in concern, before facing the red-clad turtle again.
“Care to explain what’s going on? Or will a day in the Hashi loosen your tongues?”
Raphael only huffed, his hands clenched into fists. His breathing was ragged and hard and his nostrils flared as Leonardo let go of his arm and kneeled in front of their master.
“Father, he’s lost control. There was an incident in the city. (Y/N), she … she got hurt.” Leonardo glanced at his hotheaded brother before continuing.
“She’s in the hospital. It’s nothing too serious, but Raphael is out of his mind! The sun’s coming up in two hours and he rambles about bringing them to justice.”
Raphael couldn’t stay quiet anymore. His oh-so-perfect brother was talking as if he wasn’t there!
“Yer the one always talkin’ about justice and fairness! Our friend got hurt by some thieves, they’re still runnin’ around … maybe hurtin’ others!”
Leonardo sighed in annoyance while he stood up and faced his brother again. Couldn’t he obey for once? The blue-clad turtle crossed his arms before speaking in a calm and rather cold voice.
“You’re beyond reason, Raph. We weren’t there when it happened. We don’t know how they looked like. We will find them, but not over the next twelve hours. Going outside wouldn’t help anyone right now. Especially not her.”
Raphael’s eyes widened and he took a step back from his brother. His breathing hadn’t slowed down in the slightest, and even though he tried to be reasonable - he couldn’t. He looked from one family member to the next, finally gazing at his father, who seemingly agreed with Leonardo’s decision. He couldn’t speak right now. He couldn’t apologize right now. The bulky terrapin only puffed and turned on his heels, stomping over to his bench.
His older brother wanted to say something else, but the clawed hand of his father kept him silent. “Don’t, Leonardo. He knows you’re right. We all know you’re right. But it hurts him nonetheless.”
“But why? She’s a friend, but-”
The soft chuckle of Splinter interrupted the skilled ninja.
“Oh, Leonardo. You’re not as omniscient as you think you are. She’s so much more than a friend to your dear brother.”
His eyes had a soft sheen to it as he looked around, fixating Michelangelo, who had a knowing smirk written across his face.
“She holds his heart.”
Raphael grunted as he lay on his bench, lifting all the manhole covers he possessed in an agonizingly fast rhythm. Sweat trickled down his arms, his forehead, running along the tendons of his neck and pooling inside his shell. He had to dull the pain. The only way he knew how to do it was to inflict a different kind of pain. So he continued to stem those weights, gritting his teeth, screwing his eyes shut. White blazing patterns flickered through the darkness. He didn’t want to see. Didn’t want to imagine how you looked like when they attacked. How you must’ve screamed, hoping for someone to help you. And he wasn’t there.
The big terrapin began to pant, his body was at its limit, but he couldn’t stop yet. His mind wouldn’t stop racing. You were stabbed. If he had been there, he could’ve taken the blow for you. Hell, he would cut his arm off this instant, just to undo all this. The thought of losing you … he couldn’t. Raphael tried to block out those pictures flashing before his eyes but found he was incapable of doing so. He saw your long hair and imagined how soft it felt between his rough and scaly fingers. You always giggled when he buried his face in those silky tresses, inhaling your rosy scent.
No. Stop it!
Raphael clenched his jaw and with each painful movement of his arms, a fuming grunt left his lungs. He could hear his blood pumping through his veins. Could hear his frantic heartbeat in his ears, drumming, distracting, tormenting him. He felt how the weights came closer to his face, and even though he tried with all his might, they wouldn’t stop in their tracks. He had no control over his muscles anymore and just before they seriously hurt him, two strong hands wrapped around the barbell and pulled the weight away from the red-clad turtle.
“What are you doing, Raph?” came the unmistakable voice of Leonardo, his big brother.
Raphael gasped for air, feeling the burning sensation in his arms and the familiar weakness that came along with it. The giant terrapin slowly straightened himself before looking up. He expected to see disdain written over his brother’s face, but all he saw was deep and honest concern. Raphael desperately tried to slow his breathing, to collect his thoughts. Sweat ran down his skin and he reached for a towel on the floor, but before he could wipe his face, Leo spoke again.
“I … I am sorry.”
Raphael looked up.
Leonardo seemed to search for the right words, absentmindedly chewing on his bottom lip.
“A good leader shows consideration for others. A good brother shows sympathy.”
Raphael had to process the words of his big brother. It wasn’t often that he had a reason to apologize to him, but it definitely struck a chord each time he did it.
“Come on. Put that towel away and follow me. We don’t have much time.”
A couple of minutes later, both brothers stood on a highrise, slowly making their way to the edge of the building. The horizon already got a lilac hue to it and they couldn’t waste much more time.
“Look into the second window from the right. Third row.”
Raphael squinted his eyes and let them roam over the hospital on the opposite side. There!
His brother slowly put his hand on Raphael’s shoulder, assuring him.
“She will be alright. We can’t get any closer, but now you know she will be up and about in no time and you have no reason to run amok in New York City.”
Raphael bit his lip and looked at his feet.
“I know … I know.” His gaze lifted and he looked into the eyes of his leader.
“Thank you, Leo.”
They both bumped their fists, before making their way back to the funnel.