Donatello's life in the alternate world isn't at all what Michelangelo had expected either.
The Two Vigilantes
When the world stopped spinning again, Mike found himself topside, right outside what looked to be a garage of some sort.
At first, his well-trained instincts told him that standing out in the open like this -- and in full daylight, no less -- was not a good idea, but it took only a second or so before said instincts remembered that nobody could see or hear him like this, and relaxed, taking a closer look at what he still assumed was a garage. It was an old, rundown building, but didn't have that typical "abandoned" feeling -- he could easily imagine people coming here regularly, for work or whatever.
"So... Don's here?" he said, looking at Splinter and Shredder. "What's he doing, working as a mechanic?"
"Who would hire a five-foot Turtle as a mechanic?" said Shredder dryly.
"Another five-foot Turtle?" Mike joked. "Ya never know, maybe Leo took up the business of managing, and -- never mind," he added as Shredder glared at him. "Let's just go inside and see Donny." Without waiting for an answer, he walked right at the wall, and just as before found that he passed through it as if it was made out of fog.
The interior of the garage looked pretty much like what he had imagined -- lots of concrete and lots of tools and not a single TV in sight. Fairly typical of Donny.
A van stood parked in one end of the garage, and Mike could see a pair of familiar green feet sticking out from underneath it. It seemed like Don was working on the engine; just like he might have done with the Battle Shell in Mike's world.
"All right," the purple-clad Turtle said as he slid out from beneath the van. "I think that should do it. Ready for another test drive... Moron? "
Mike watched as his brother emerged, dirty as only a proper mechanic could be. What? he thought. Has Donny started talking to himself? Insulting himself? Is he really that lonely without --?
Before he could finish the thought, came another familiar voice: "I'd wash my face first If I were you... Nerd. "
With that, the black-haired, slightly scruffy form of Casey Jones came walking out from behind the van, where he had been hidden from Mikes eyes until then. He was carrying a towel, which he tossed casually at Don.
Don grabbed the towel in mid-air, smirking. "A true scientist, not to mention a true mechanic, is never afraid of getting a little dirty... Oaf. "
"Whatever you say, Peabrain. "
"Oooh, that stung... Quirky Quahog. "
"Double Q? Color me impressed, Ratbag. "
"You've never been hard to impress, Sucker. "
Mike watched with growing fascination as the insult duel continued. Both Don and Casey were grinning as they talked, so this seemed to be more a game than actually insulting each other. Never knew Donny had it in him!
"Yeah, well, that's what you think, uh... Xena Lover, " said Casey
Don laughed. " Xena Lover? You're losing your grip. Besides, weren't you the one who used to watch that show, Yobbo? "
"Yeah, well, I couldn't think of anything else with an X right now, uh..." said Casey, pausing. "Aw, rats. Now I can't think of anything good with a Z either."
"Game, set and match," said Don in a satisfied voice, wiping his face with the towel. It probably didn't do as much good against the greasy dirt as a proper wash, with soap, would have done, but when he was done you could at least see that he had made an attempt. "Unless you wanna go again?"
"Nah, not right now." Casey opened the car door on the driver's side and climbed in. "Let's see what power this baby got, huh?"
Mike watched Don get in beside Casey, and seconds later heard the unmistakable rumble of a car engine and the cheer of Casey as the van started. Through the car window, he could see the man take out one of his infamous hockey masks and strap it to his face.
"You don't need the mask now," said Don, his voice muffled from within the car. "Head-busting is reserved for nights, remember?"
"Yeah, yeah," said Casey flippantly. "But I gotta be in uniform when in the car! It just wouldn't feel right otherwise!"
Don just shook his head and stepped on the gas. Slowly, the garage door rose to let the van through as it drove out on the street, turned a corner and vanished from sight even before the door began closing itself again.
Mike blinked, looking at Splinter and Shredder. "Waaaaait a minute," he said. "Ya mean to tell me that Don and Casey go out 'head-busting' together in this reality?!"
"In a manner of speaking," said Splinter. "Michelangelo, in your world, you and your brothers came to know Casey Jones when Raphael happened to, shall we say, run into him one night. Do you remember why their meeting came about?"
"Um," said Mike, trying to remember. Truth be told, Casey Jones had been such a big part of all their lives for so long that it was hard to imagine, or remember, a time when he wasn't around. "Raph stopped Casey from getting too violent on a couple of Purple Dragon guys, right?"
"Yes, but do you remember why Raphael was even there to begin with?" said Splinter patiently.
Mike shook his head, but then a flicker of a memory rushed through his brain. "Wait... he'd gone out because... because he'd been sparring with me and I'd beaten him and he got all ticked off, and then..."
"And then he left the Lair in order to clear his head, yes," said Splinter. "In this reality, this never happened. You were never there for Raphael to lose his temper over, so he was not out on the street that night to meet Mr. Jones. However, a few weeks later, another of your brothers chanced upon meeting him..."
Like before, he waved his hand, and the air in front of Mike began to shimmer, until an image appeared, and things began playing out before them like a slightly blurry movie.
Like before, the scene was of a random street in New York -- but unlike before, it was nighttime and fairly silent, for the "city that never sleeps," anyway. Mike could make out a familiar silhouette rushing across the rooftops, with what looked like a shoulderbag strapped to its shoulder.
It looked like Donatello had been out on another of his "junk runs," as Mike and his brothers had dubbed them in the past; the trips where he visited junkyards and specially-selected dumpsters and brought home things that may or may not be of use. (If the things he found were too big and heavy for him to get home by himself, he generally got Mike to help him with it -- which was why Mike knew a great deal about those junk runs and how Donny operated.)
A shrill scream from below made the silhouette pause and look down into the darkened alleyway where, Mike could see, two street punks -- easily recognizable as members of the Purple Dragons -- closing threateningly in on a horrified-looking young woman.
Before either Mike or, apparently, Don, could say or do anything, another familiar figure appeared at the end of the alley, one baseball bat in each hand and an angry frown beneath the white hockey mask.
"You Purple Dragon scum just never learn, do ya?" said Casey Jones, advancing on the two street punks. "Well, thankfully I'm a persistent teacher!" He raised both baseball bats. "Welcome to Crime Doesn't Pay 101, punks! Time for your first lesson!"
"Actually, you're the one who's going to be taught a lesson here," said the young woman suddenly, straightening herself and suddenly looking anything but terrified. "This is You Just Walked Straight Into Our Trap, You Moron -- 101. "
"What the --?" was all Casey had time to say before more people emerged out of the shadows of the alleyway, and even more came up from behind him -- all of them brandishing weapons of some sort and glaring evilly at him. It didn't take a genius to realize that they were all Purple Dragon members, and that Casey now found himself completely surrounded.
"You've been going after the members of our gang for far too long now," said the woman, picking up a lead pipe that had been lying at her feet, clutching it. "It ends tonight."
"Oh, an ambush, eh?" Casey snarled, glancing around himself. "Bring it on. Thirty-four's my lucky number."
"There are thirty- seven of us, you idiot!" one of the gang members shouted.
"Are we gonna fight or discuss algebra?" said Casey. Which was all he had time to say before twenty Purple Dragon members leapt at him at once.
If this had been an action movie, Mike thought, or the Purple Dragons had followed any kind of unwritten code for big battle scenes like this, they would have attacked one on one and given Casey ample opportunity to defeat them all. However, the Purple Dragons were punks, pure and simple, and couldn't care less about codes or what have you. They attacked at once, and although Casey was in above-average shape and would have been more than a match for any two or even three of them, he couldn't handle twenty at once.
Though he managed to get in a few good hits with his baseball bats, it didn't take long at all before he'd been completely overwhelmed and the Dragons were on him, beating the shell out of him.
For a moment, Mike considered covering his eyes, but before he could -- and completely out of the blue -- Donatello came crashing down upon the scene, landing just beside the pile of Purple Dragons and swinging his bo staff with such force that he sent several of them flying.
"It's one of those frog-costumed freaks!" one of the Dragons shouted.
"Oh, that hurt," said Don. "Next thing you know, one of you are going to call my bo a stick, and then I'll get really upset!"
Five of the Dragons not engaged with Casey, or too busy taking a nap after a meeting with the not-a-stick, charged him at once, but Don had been prepared for this, and slid elegantly out of the way, causing three of them to collide with each other instead and the last two to be perfect targets for another whack with the bo staff.
"Almost as upset as I get when I see people who gang up on one guy like that," Don continued, spinning around and sending another Dragon flying. "Hate to hit and run, but I and the masked guy over there have an important appointment elsewhere!"
With that, he whipped out a smoke pellet and threw it to the ground.
After several minutes of nothing but coughing and wheezing from twenty-seven Purple Dragon members, the smoke finally cleared to reveal that they were alone in the alleyway, both Casey and Donatello gone.
Furthermore, they could now clearly hear the distinct sound of police sirens that were coming closer and closer...
The image faded again, and Mike knew that the movie, or whatever he should call it, was over for now.
"Good ol' Donny," he said. "So what happened afterwards?"
"About half the Purple Dragons present were apprehended by the police, whom Donatello had called from his Shell Cell phone before going into the battle," said Splinter. "The rest of the gang escaped, but were unable to save their comrades from arrest. Meanwhile, Donatello got Mr. Jones to a safe place. Luckily, he was not seriously injured, and after the initial distrust over the mutant turtle that had suddenly appeared out of nowhere, he found himself quite grateful for the rescue. The fact that he had needed a rescue in the first place made him reconsider his crime-fighting techniques a bit..."
"And he teamed up with Donny?!" said Mike.
"So it would seem," said Shredder. "Are you that surprised, Michelangelo? Why shouldn't you accept that Donatello and Casey Jones might have a lot to learn from each other, and be willing to acknowledge this? For now, they patrol the city by car at night, listening in on the police radio for crimes they might help out with. By day, they go on the so-called "junk runs" -- Casey being a much bigger help to Donatello than you ever were, by the way."
"He has some technical skills, which you completely lack, and is better at seeing what would be at use and what won't. Besides, he is a human, and can openly go places where Donatello cannot -- just as Donatello, with his superior skills and physique, can go places where Casey could not. It's an ideal partnership. Your brothers and master have even more useful things around thanks to Casey Jones -- and furthermore, the crime rate in the city, particularly Purple Dragon-related, is lower in this world than in yours because of those two deciding to put their forces together. Donatello provides the brains while Casey Jones provides the drive. "
"Um, no, Donny was the one who was driving," Mike muttered, but somehow he couldn't really put his heart in the joke. Casey and Don, not Casey and Raph, out head-busting together? And doing a better job of it than Casey and Raph? Well, he thought, they did say that Donny was used to play peacemaker in this world. After growing up with Leo and Raph, and no me to help him out, he probably knows all the tricks on how to temper a guy like Casey...
Seems like yet another case in which the absence of me turns out to be a blessing. This ain't exactly healthy for my self-image.
"What about April, though?" he added as the image of his female friend appeared for his inner eye. April had always been close to Donny, and of course everyone knew about her and Casey, even if she would furiously deny it. "How's she taking all this? ...She's still around in this world, right?"
"Very much so," said Shredder. "I believe she joins them on occasion, although not often, since she is busy training with Leonardo."
"April's training with Leo?"
"How slow is it possible to get?!" Shredder snapped. "Are you going to keep on repeating every new thing I relate to you? Do you think it'll become more or less true if you're the one who says it?"
Mike bit back a sarcastic reply, This Shredder-wannabe was really beginning to get on his nerves.
"But yes, April O' Neil is training with Leonardo in this world," Shredder continued. "There's really several reasons for that... suffice to say that he makes as good a sensei to her as Raphael does with those children."
"Ya mean the Leo of this world isn't as much of a nag as he is in my world?" said Mike.
Shredder paused. "You do not express any concern for Leonardo," he said. "You did express concern for Donatello and Raphael, and how they would fare without you -- but you've failed to do so for Leonardo. You ask whether he fights with Raphael, and whether he nags, but you've never once expressed any concern that he might not get along as well without you. Why is this?"
"Well, duh," said Mike. "It's Leo we're talking about here. I never worry about him -- the dude's more of a rock than Mount Everest. Except for Master Splinter, you could remove any of us from his life and he'd turn out just fine. He's about the strongest guy I know, and that strength is his own."
"Interesting..." said Splinter, rubbing his chin. "So you think that you have not had any effect on Leonardo's life?"
"Not in any important matters, no. I mean, yeah, he probably does some things different here, but Leo is the one guy I've always known would do just fine without me." Mike shrugged. "Now that I've seen how well Don and Raph do without me, I know it for sure that Leo's doing well here."
"In other words, you admit that your life is worthless?" said Shredder triumphantly.
"No way!" Mike snapped, but a nasty little voice in the back of his head kept telling him that it couldn't be a coincidence that both Raph and Donny, and (it seemed) even Casey, were doing better without him than with him. He brushed it off, though, refusing to let it grow into anything more than just a nasty little voice. (He was glad for this world's Raph and Don and Casey! Glad! ) "But Leo's, like, a special case... you just can't hold him to the same rules as everyone else!"
"You think not? Perhaps you would care to see him next, then," said Splinter.
"All right," Mike agreed. "Take me to the fearless leader!"
This time, he was even prepared for it as the spin-and-fade of the world around him started.
TO BE CONTINUED...
Author's notes: Mike is certainly getting a few things to think about here, huh? His attitude towards Leo sorta makes sense to me -- to Mike, Leo is the Big Brother who can, ultimately, take care of himself better than anyone else.
If there's any TMNT character that's more fun to write than Casey Jones, I certainly haven't discovered this yet -- but Donatello was certainly fun to write in this chapter too. I always did like the Casey/Don interactions, and this was a good opportunity to include some... as well as the good ol' Alphabetical Insults game from the first movie.
Note the lack of Battle Shell and abandoned warehouse. Since it was Mike who discovered the elevator to the warehouse, the Turtles never found it in this reality. And since the Battle Shell mainly came about because Mike kept pestering Don for it (and the final prompt for him to build it was when Raph was to go stop Casey -- another thing that never happened in the Mike-less world), Don never got around to do the upgrade and re-build of the truck in this world. He busied himself with many other things instead, as you can plainly see from this chapter.