"April? What's wrong babe?" Casey stood in the center of the lair, facing April. She seemed out of sorts. While it was true that she started to look sick over the past couple of days, she hadn't really done much other than lay in bed. Now, suddenly, it was like she had more energy than she knew what to do with. She still didn't look right, though Casey couldn't place his finger on it. It was more than the fact that her hair wasn't tidy like she usually kept it.
"April?" Casey said again. She only answered by way of growling. She was slightly hunched over, opposed to her usual perfect posture. Suddenly, April charged at him at an usually fast pace. She grabbed Casey's arms and attempted to bite him.
The commotion startled everyone to the main part of the lair. Donatello was the first to react, after coming out of his lab.
"April! Stop!" Don ran over and grabbed April from behind, holding her so that she couldn't turn and attack him. In the process, the bandage on her arm came off, revealing that her wound was far worse now. Donnie's eyes widened in fear. It only took him half a second to realize what was going on with his dear friend.
"We need to contain her!" Don started to his lab, despite how much April was struggling against him.
"With what?" Leonardo was the first to respond to his younger brother's request.
"There's a containment unit in my lab. I'm gonna need help getting her in there." The purple masked turtle replied.
The two headed to the lab with the others in tow. Upon reaching the container, Donnie carefully guided April inside, then Leo quickly shut the container door. At this, April reacted violently. She began to bang her fists on the glass, and when she found that didn't work, she started using her whole body.
"April, please! Try to calm down!" Don knew that she wouldn't be able to break out, but the sight still worried him.
What scared Donnie the most, was that he had been trying to work on a cure of some kind. Anything to slow down the effects that he knew would eventually take over April's mind. He knew that he wouldn't have a lot of time to figure it out, but he didn't think it would happen as quickly as it did either.
"So..what's gonna happen to her?" Casey asked.
He was the last to enter the lab. Everyone turned to look at him. He wasn't sure why he had asked that question. He wasn't dumb. He had seen the news. Seen the riots out on the street. Experienced it first hand. He knew that anyone who went crazy, didn't make it back to normal.
"We'll think of something, Casey." Leonardo answered, seeing that Don wasn't capable of doing so himself at the moment.
Donatello woke up in a sweat. He slowly sat up, and looked at the boarded up window of the room. Very little of the dawn's light shined through.
"Only a memory.." He whispered and wiped his face with his hand.
Maybe a memory, but he still felt the ping of guilt he had felt those years ago. Not just guilt. Failure. He remembered very clearly how he had failed to help a friend in serious need. Don asked himself the same question time and time again. Why couldn't he find the cure? He had always believed that he could solve anything, and many a time he had proven that he could beat the odds with a little science and some logistics. So why couldn't he figure it out that time?
Donatello got up and left the room, where his brothers were still asleep. The memory of losing April weighed him down, and was now causing him to think of of the other losses he and his brothers endured.
As he walked into his small, make-shift lab, Donnie couldn't help but recall the loss of Casey, which happened soon after they left the lair nearly 8 years ago. The vigilante had given his life so the brothers and their sensei could escape the horrors that took over the city.
Don sat down on the stool at his desk and began to look over some old notes. He was still no closer to coming up with a cure than he was so long ago. The tissue sample he had gotten from April, he recalled, hadn't been as much help as he thought it would have been.
Over time, Donnie and his brothers had come to learn that this rage-induced craze was the cause of a spore. A fungus that grew like any ordinary mushroom, in dark, dank places. He was able to get as many samples as he needed, however, he and his brothers couldn't be near the spores without a gas mask, lest they breathed in the toxins and became "infected" themselves. Because of this, Donatello kept the spores in a seal-tight container when he wasn't studying them.
The turtle sighed as he stared blankly at the notes. "Leatherhead's help would be appreciated right now.." He commented softly. Truth was, they hadn't been able to get to LH when Don and his brothers left the sewers. There was no knowledge if LH was infected, much less alive. Another loss, Don thought.
"What's up?" Leonardo was standing behind his brother.
Don jumped slightly, not having heard his brother approach him, from being deep in thought. "Uh..nothing." He kept his back to Leo.
"You had that dream again, didn't you?" Leo asked gently.
"Is it that obvious?" The younger brother sighed again. "Just when I think I'm getting over it..when I feel I'm getting closer to figuring this whole thing out.." He started, but stopped.
Donnie didn't have to finish his sentence. Leo was smart, and he knew exactly what his brother was getting at. Finding the right words, however, that was something Leo struggled with. What could he tell his brother that he hadn't already said over the span of 8 years?
"You did your best, Don. April knew that. We all did." Leonardo said quietly.
"Well, my best wasn't good enough. Was it Leo?" Don retorted.
Leo kept quiet, but put his hand on his brother's shoulder. Leonardo knew exactly how Donnie felt. There was a time in his life that Leo struggled and felt that his best wasn't good enough. Though, the situation was different, and he couldn't think of any advice to give Don.
The two brothers remained in silence, each thinking about how everything had turned to hell so quickly. It took the nation, or rather, what was left of it, a few years to finally fingure out that it wasn't actually a zomibe apocolypse, like Michelangelo had kept saying. They thought of how taking a single breath of the spores, or being biten would cause the vitcim to become infected. How within no more than two days, the person lost their mind completely and turned on anything that moved.
Because of all this, the world seemed to fall deeper into hell. Neighbors turned against eachother. Compassion was a thing of the past. You had to be stealthy to get around, or you would be attacked by infected, or shot by someone. Citys were in ruins. Supplies were getting hard to find. People got shot over simple things, such as a pack of batteries or a can of beans. It was even to the point that people were forming groups and ambushing people that entered cities in search of supplies, or people just passing by.
All of this sickened the four brothers. They knew that the world had been dangerous for them before, but now, it had gotten worse, ten-fold. They had been mistaken as infected before, on a few of their outtings. Over time, someone who was infected changed drastically in appearence. Sometimes, the fungus that took over the vitcims' minds grew right on their faces. How people thought the turtles looked anything like infected was beyond them, but no one ever thought to call them monsters or aliens.
Leo was brought back to reality when Michelangelo came into the room. "Mornin' bros." Said the sleepy youngest brother.
"Morning Mikey. How'd you sleep?" Leo tried to smile.
"Not bad, but then Raphael's snoring woke me up. I swear some infected are gonna find us if he doesn't cut it out." There was a joke in there, somewhere. Mikey was too sleepy to really emphasize on it though.
It took a bit for Mike to register what Don was doing. He put his arm around his older brother's neck. "Hey bro. Don't you ever get tired of working on that?"
Don just waved his hand at Mike to shoo him away. He didn't want to be bothered by his younger brother's antics.
"Hey Mike, let's go check out how the barriers are holding up." Leo suggested.
"Aww! Do I have to? It's Raph's turn today!" Mikey protested.
"Don needs some space. Let's go." Leo instructed.
Reluctantly, Mikey followed Leo out of the lab, leaving Donnie to to his thoughts.
Once outside, Leonardo and Michelangelo got to work. There was a large metal barrier around the building that the brothers took shelter in.
"Do we have to do this? We check the thing every day!" Mike whined.
"Yes. If there's a weak spot, infected could get through. And none of us want that." Leo answered his brother with a little stress in his voice.
"There weren't any weak spots yesterday, or the day before that. Or the day before that! I think we can afford to take a day off!" Mikey continued.
"And do you know why?" Leo turned to look at his brother. "Because we keep constant check on the barrier. As we shoud be." He turned and went back to checking the metal. "Besides, Don needs some space."
"He had that dream again, huh?" Mike sighed. He hated seeing any of his brothers in pain.
Leo only nodded. He didn't really want to talk about it. They all missed everyone that had been lost, and dwelling on those losses had been hard not to do for all of them. Yet, when it came to actually talking about it, Leo still choked up.