Donnie glanced up from his medical treatment as Allie and Mike entered Splinter's spartan bedroom. "Good, you're finally here. Let him tell you whatever he wants to and don't argue with him and don't excite him. His life's depending on it!"
Leo pushed a chair beside the bed and Allie sat as she held Splinter's paw. "Splinter, it's Allie. I'm here. They said you wanted to talk to me."
Splinter eased open his eyes. "Allison. I have been worried about you."
"Who doesn't worry about me?"
He squeezed her hand. "When you travel the dark paths you must always keep one path leading back to the light. If you do not, the dark will trap you forever and you will become what you hate. Remember that, Allison."
"I'll remember, Splinter."
"You have your grandfather's spirit but none of his caution. Be careful, Allison."
"I will, Splinter." He breathed deeply, closed his eyes, and loosened his grip on Allie's hand. She looked up in alarm.
"It's okay," Donnie sighed. "He's just unconscious again."
Raph burst in. "What's going on? What's wrong with Splinter? What did you do to him?"
"I didn't do anything," Allie whispered sharply.
"Take it outside," Donnie growled. "Now!"
Leo grabbed Raph's arm and pulled him out of the bedroom, past the train car, and into the main room. Mike touched Allie's shoulder and she looked up into his face with an expression of pain and vulnerability he had never seen on her face before. It flickered and was gone. But she followed Mike out.
Raph shook off Leo's hand and grabbed up Allie's shirt, slamming her against the wall. "Raph, have you gone crazy!" Allie gasped. "Let me go!"
"Raph, let her go!" Mike tried to grab him, but Leo held him back. "Are you crazy?"
"Let Raph get it out of his system. It'll keep him off Donnie's shell. We won't let him hurt her."
"I want to know what's wrong with Splinter!"
"Do I look like a doctor?"
"He's probably dying!"
Raph's eyes grew wilder. "Why are you here?"
"Splinter wanted to talk to me!"
"Splinter wanted to talk to you? What did he say?"
"I have the spirit of my grandfather but none of his caution!"
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
"I don't know! You've known Splinter longer than I have, you tell me!"
He pushed her harder against the wall. "That's right, I have known Splinter longer! So why did he want to talk to you?"
Allie's face shifted to a stoical calm that infuriated Raph even more. "Are you that jealous, Raphael? So jealous that you doubt Splinter's love for you? How could you?"
"You don't know anything about me! And you never will!"
Mona frowned as she watched with Dan, Keno, and some injured man watch the altercation. "Isn't anyone gonna break this up?"
"No one that knows Raph well," Dan answered.
"Good thing I don't," she answered as she strode forward.
Casey whistled, "That's one brave gal."
Mona grabbed Raph's shoulder. "Let her go, Raph."
"Back off, Mona," he snarled.
"You back off first."
Raph glared at Allie but he finally let go of her turtleneck and her feet slid down the wall and hit the floor. He jerked his shoulder away from Mona and strode out of the Lair. "He's not mad at you." Mona gazed at the girl she had just rescued. "He just scared," Allie finished explaining.
"Scared or not, that doesn't give him any excuse to act like a social cretin. And if someone will show me the way out, I'll tell him so."
"I'll show you," Zack said quickly and bounded to the ladder.
Allie finished sliding her body down the wall until she sat on the floor. Mike quickly knelt beside her. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. I just never expected him to turn on me like that. All talk and no action that's what I thought Raph was--at least concerning me."
"There is more to Raphael than any of us can understand."
"Isn't that true of everyone, Lotus?"
The Japanese girl nodded at April. "True, but it is most apparent in Raphael."
Allie laughed. Mike looked at her quizzically. "What so funny?"
"Someone finally realized that I'm not the only one who needs help around
Mona faded into the shadows as the Foot Clan ninjas raced past. "What's a matter fellas? Not having any fun? And I was just gettin' started!"
She stepped back into the light. "Raph?"
"I'm busy, Mona."
"They're long gone and we need to talk, Lover-boy."
Raph sighed, "I overreacted down there. I know that. I always overreact concerning Allie."
"Why?" Mona led him back to the shadows where they sat on the sidewalk.
"I don't know. Easy target, I guess. We've never got along."
"She seems like someone who would be your best friend."
"Now. When we first met it was a different story."
"And this Splinter guy is important to both of you?"
"He raised me and my brothers. Taught us everything we know. I guess he's important to Allie. He's the only connection to her biological grandparents."
"So you're going to let your ire towards Allie, a person you don't really understand, keep you away from what might be the final hours of your father?"
Raph glanced down at his feet. "That I would blame on Allie and just get madder at her. You sure picked an idiot, Mona."
"Well, the idiot has his moments. You wanna go back?"
Zack pulled his knees to his chest in the corner of the couch. Casey was talking softly to Keno and Dan. Leo and Mike waited outside Splinter's bedroom and Lotus and Allie waited with them. Raph and Mona entered, coming down the ladder, and joined them.
April sat on the couch, giving Zack room to move. "Are you okay?"
"What will happen if Splinter dies?"
April remembered after first meeting the Turtles and Splinter, how the Turtles had come to her when Oroku Saki had kidnapped Splinter. They had grown since then, but he was still their vulnerable point. "Things will change. How they'll change I don't know."
"I've never been close to anyone that's died before." His voice was small. "I was a baby when my parents died; I didn't really know Billy when he died. They're the only one I know of. Allie probably knows more. I would hate for Splinter to be my first."
"I don't know what to tell you, Zack. Death is a part of life."
Zack sighed and April realized she wasn't helping. After three years, you would think I'd be better at this mothering thing. "I guess it's something I have to work out for myself. But thanks anyway, April."
Allie touched April's shoulder and gestured. She followed her to another corner of the main room. Once they were away from prying ears, Allie turned to April, her face twisted slightly with worry. "How's he taking it?"
"Zack? As well as can be expected. He's been sheltered from death."
"You sound accusing, April. I guess I'm guilty though. Most of the deaths I've seen were on the streets. If Zack had been out on the streets with me, he'd probably dead now himself. I did buy him a baby alligator once. Pets are supposed to give you an experience with death of something loved. But the foster mother at that time flushed it down the toilet before I had a chance to give it to him. I sure hope that killed it."
"You're jaded about death."
Allie considered that. "I guess I am. I've seen enough of it to jade a mortician. Is that a bad thing?"
April frowned, "It is when you stop caring for the people dying."
"I never said stop caring. But maybe I have and just haven't realized it
yet." Allie turned away and walked back to Mike.
Donnie eased his weary body out of Splinter's bedroom. Everyone's faces looked him expectantly. And he was just so tired. "Splinter's going to be fine." The three other Turtles and Zack rushed into the bedroom. April grabbed hold of Donnie's arm and guided him to a chair. "I'm exhausted but Splinter's going to be fine."
The rat was sleeping restfully with deep, slow breaths, not like the shallow, rapid ones he had been taking earlier. Allie ducked in. "Look, fellas, you can't crowd him. One person needs to stay up and watch him tonight."
Raph sheepishly fingered his sais still on his belt. "Do you mind if I do it?"
"No, Raph, we don't mind," Leo answered. "Take the first shift."
Allie ushered the rest of them out of the bedroom and turned to Mona. "How good are you in the kitchen?"
"I'm a decent cook. At least, I don't burn water."
"They all need something to eat."
"I'll help," Zack offered.
Dan gazed at the wall, avoiding people's eyes. "If the crisis has been averted, I better go. Not to sound uncaring, but Dad'll go berserk if he finds out I completely blew off the exam in the criminal justice class."
"I better go, too," Keno replied.
"Thanks for coming, guys," Leo escorted them to the ladder.
"You know we would do anything for you guys after you saved our skins," Keno answered.
"And Splinter means a lot to us too." Dan grinned, "He's a tough ole rat. He'll pull through."
"I hope you're right."
"Keep your worrying down to a minimum, Leo. We don't need to rush down here concerned about you next."
"I'll keep it in mind. Good luck on your test."
April answered the shrilling phone, "Hello?"
"Hello? Is Allie there? This is Sammie, her roommate."
April turned to the rest of the Lair. "Allie, it's Sammie."
Allie grabbed the receiver. "What's wrong, Sam?"
"What's wrong? I don't know what's wrong; I never know what's wrong! I find this scribbled note about a splinter and this phone number and I naturally assume the worst. Somebody please tell me what's going on! And tell me it doesn't interfere with your test tomorrow!"
"Sam, I don't have time for your hysterics. I'll fill you in when I get back."
April frowned, "You hung up on her?"
Allie gazed at the phone on the wall with relief. "If I had time to indulge her hysterics, I would have. But I really don't want to. I maybe jaded about death, but I don't have nerves of steel and a conversation with a hysterical Samantha Yutang on top of what all has happened is asking for sensory overload."