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Never The Same Again: Part 1- Perfectly Tarnished

By The Black Dragon Queen

Author's Note: My internet has been down for nearly two weeks... can you tell? xD


Chapter Seven: The Doctor Is In

"Well, don't you look a sight?" Stockman drawled as the two mutant turtles appeared from out the shadows of the old ambulance bay.

Don ducked his head rather embarrassed even as he felt the hand over his shoulder tighten. "Shove it Stockman," Mike growled as he helped Don hobble into the building and out of sight of anyone on the street later that evening.

Stockman huffed but Hun was looking at both Donatello and Michelangelo critically. "I take it you had a rather unpleasant encounter during your sightseeing?" he said flatly as he turned and followed them in.

"You could say that," Don smiled sheepishly from where he was leaning heavily on the other turtle as they made their way into the emergency waiting room.

"Did they inject you with something?" Stockman demanded.

"Yeah," Don confirmed softly. "Don't know what it was but it had a muscle relaxant and the usual narcotic side effects."

"Meaning he was as high as a kite there for a while," Mike laughed.

"Mikey!" Don yelped mortified. "Really?"

"You were giggling like a loon Don," Mike reminded him. "Definitely drugged."

"You don't have to sound so amused by it-" he cut himself off with a small squeak as Mikey pulled him tight against him before relaxing his grip. Don realized why when a new voice spoke up.

"Looks like you ran into more than dead end alleyways."

He glanced at the older gentleman leaning against the old reception counter but Mikey had already relaxed and even Hun wasn't paying attention to the man, which mean that he wasn't a threat but yet another member of the resistance. "Yeah, I failed to take into account that my knowledge of the city's alleyways and such is now sorely out of date," he admitted shyly before moving to extend his hand.

"Donatello," he introduced himself before frowning at the hat in his hand. "At least, I think," he muttered. He let out a tired sigh. "Feel free to call me whatever you want."

The man laughed as he reached forward and plucked the hat out of Don's limp grasp. "I think I like him," the man snickered and Don's eyes lit up with recognition.

"Oh! You're one of the gentleman who was in the office!" He frowned a moment. "Alan, right? Is the other gentleman Victor back helping the others?"

The man just stared at him before turning to the snickering Mikey. Even Hun was smirking. "You'll get use to him," Mike chuckled. "Why are you here anyhow?"

"Ms. O'Neil wasn't about to let us leave alone," Stockman growled. "The equipment is back here. Well come on Hun. Let's go."

Don could see Hun roll his eyes but he did swing the wheelchair towards a partially cleared hallway. The reason for Alan's presences made a bit more sense if they had to make a path for Hun to travel down. However a quick glance down the side hallways showed half of them cluttered and full of debris and a few others cleared like the one they were traveling down.

"Have you used this hospital before?" Don asked curiously.

"This one and a few others," Mike nodded.

"Most of the medicine has already been collected and used over time," Alan said from where he was brining up the rear. "But it still has most of the larger equipment we usually can get going with a generator."

"The labs are quite nice as well." One of Stockman's eyeballs had floated up and was looking back at Don and Mike creepily. Don was immensely glad that he hadn't had breakfast yet as the sight most likely would have made him lose it.

Of course with that thought, Don's stomach chose to rumble in protest. He could feel his cheeks flushing in embarrassment as there was a snicker behind him but thinking about it, Don hadn't had anything to eat since he first woke up in the middle of the lair's living room. His stomach growled again in confirmation.

Mike had stopped in the middle of the hallway and looked down at Don shocked. "Oh hell…"

"It's fine," Don quickly protested. "We should take care of all this first," he gestured around the hallway. "And I should get off this ankle and have a look at it in better light."

Mike's face went hard before he grit his teeth and started following Hun and Stockman again, all the while cursing himself mentally. In all the excitement, he had completely forgotten to get Donnie something to eat. Even he had eaten since the fight at the warehouse when he had first found Donnie, chowing down some gruel while Donnie had been sleeping that first time.

Don just ducked his head in embarrassment when his stomach gurgled again when a small stick of what looked like jerky was shoved in front of his face. Alan grinned at him as he tentatively took the offer meat. "Don't worry, it's still cow."

"Really?" Don glanced at Mike for confirmation and he bit into the jerky at the other turtles nod.

"There's a small section of the resistance who don't fight, so they raise cows and grow some crops out at Casey's old farm," Mike explained. "Helps us when we can't risk a raid on Shredder's store houses."

"Oh. Okay."

"Is he eating?" Stockman called out from in front of them. "He shouldn't be eating!"

Mike paused at looked at Don who rolled his own eyes. "It's fine."

"Not when you're going to have a CAT scan it's not!" Stockman bellowed back.

"You want to do a contrast-enhance study?" Don asked incredulously. "Seriously?"

"Of course. We need to check everything. Any transmitters or such could be anywhere. Including that shell of yours. We should do an MRI as well," Stockman continued as if Donatello hadn't spoken.

Don rolled his eyes again. "If you're doing it by generator it should still take over four hours to charge. I'll be fine by them. Especially if we do the blood tests prior to it."

"Humph."

Mike and Alan shared a disbelieving glance. "Donnie boy," Alan thumped a hand on Don's free shoulder and spun the elite's hat on a finger of his other hand. "You're all right."

Don blinked in surprise. "Um… thank you?"

Alan laughed. "You're welcome. By the way, is this what I think it is?" he held up the hat.

"Yeah…" Don ducked his head again as Alan burst out laughing.

"Need to put this somewhere in a place of honor," Alan snickered. "Not even Mike ever got one of the hats."

Don shrugged. "It's the only thing I could think of doing after I was drugged."

"Don wants to have it bronzed," Mike smirked.

"Fun," Alan snickered. "Perhaps we can send it off to the farm house."

"Can we focus children?" Stockman drawled from where he and Hun were waiting in front of a pair of doors.

Don and Mike shared another exasperated look but Alan went ahead to open the doors that led to another cleared out hallway. "We haven't gotten any of the elevators up and running so many things were moved down here but we'll have to go up for the scans," Alan explained.

"Of course," Hun muttered under his breath.

"For now, I think I need some antibiotics and a wrap for my foot," Don persisted. "We should take some blood though before hand."

"Of course," Stockman mimicked Hun's earlier statement.

They finally entered a somewhat set up examination room and Don hobbled over to the bed as Alan went over to a small duffle bag, pulling out a few things. "I'm going to be the one to draw the blood if you don't mind?" he asked as he pulled on a pair of surgical gloves.

Don looked to Mikey with his missing arm before he glanced at Stockman with his missing… everything. Hun himself seemed as if he could care less. "Uh, sure, no problem," he told Alan.

Mikey shot the man a warning look but Alan waved him off. It was quite routine taking his blood, but Stockman insisted on taking three full vials of samples for assorted testing. It was originally five but Don had reminded him that he wasn't going anywhere and that they could always get more samples at a later date.

After the blood samples, Mike handed him some antibiotics for his foot and Don wrapped it in some homemade bandages. Stockman sneered that he would more than likely need a tetanus shot but there wasn't it a shame that none existed anymore.

That statement just had Don just wondered what books he could get a hold of in any of the doctor's offices and he mentioned it to Mike that he wanted to search them as soon as they were done with the examinations. "Was all the rooms searched for everything that was salvageable?"

"You think I would leave good equipment to rot?" Stockman asked appalled.

"So you personally searched each and every room?" Don responded skeptically.

Alan, who was setting up a slide for Stockman, just laughed. "Yeah, he's a scientist…"

Stockman let out a huff but Mike laughed. "Don't worry. April did a search herself. There's a few catches around the city that she had us set up if you're looking for something specific."

"I'd still like to check around anyway. There might be items worth saving or just something I can use for spare parts for something. There are things I can use that April wouldn't be able to work with."

Alan looked at Mikey in disbelief and the other turtle grinned. "Did I ever mention that he was a mechanic as well?"

"Actually… no," Alan told him, much to Mike's shock.

"Really?" Don asked surprised.

"When they mentioned you at all," Alan admitted. "Perhaps earlier in the war but not since I've joined. Mentioning you became sort of taboo."

Don looked over at Mikey in disbelief and was surprised when he nodded back at him. "As the years went by and after we lost Splinter then Casey… it was very hard to bring you up. It just became… hard."

Don turned back towards the wall opposite, unable to look Mikey in the eye as shame flowed through him. "I'm sorry."

"Not your fault," Mike reassured him gently.

"Yes, if we're done with the emotional roller coaster," Stockman sneered.

"Shut up Stockman," Mike growled.

Stockman huffed as he looked at the video monitor that showed the little doughnuts that was Don's blood. "Everything seems normal," Stockman drawled. "I'm not seeing any anomalies."

"Still doesn't mean we can forgo a micro-emulsion or SIMBA test," Don argued. He soon found everybody's eyes focused at him. "Uh… that is, if you have the equipment for it."

"What do lions have to do with anything?" Mike asked curiously.

"Not Simba, SIMBAS. It's a- you know what, it doesn't matter. We don't have the necessary equipment for it anyhow," Stockman sighed.

"All the better for me to go foraging for things we can use to build said equipment," Don stated.

"It could all be pointless in the end," Stockman replied. "If you are a clone, it could literally be encoded in your very DNA. Without a core sample-"

"We don't know that he's a clone!" Mikey snarled.

"We don't know that I'm not either," Don reminded him gently. "It's better to look at it from every angle. Cloning is actually the most logical answer."

"You don't know that!" Mikey yelped. "It could have been anything!"

"Like what?" Don gave him a pointed frown.

"Um… you could have been cryogenically frozen?" Mike offered tentatively. Alan snickered but Don just smiled.

"I think my memories would be more fuzzy if I had been an ice cube for thirty years."

"Then what could it have been?" Alan asked. "Time travel?"

"We already thought of that," Don mentioned. "We've actually time traveled before and there's never been a case of missing memories as a result."

"Renet is a nut and can't handle that scepter worth a damn…" Mike shrugged, "but he's right. Even when we were with the dinosaurs, we had all our memories up to the minute of when we first got there and back."

"Dinosaurs?" Alan asked intrigued. "I don't think we ever heard that story."

"It's a rather boring one," Mike insisted.

Don rolled his eyes before he looked back over at Stockman. "As for a core DNA sample, when I was exploring the old lair I saw that my, or rather Donatello's, room was largely untouched. I'm sure that there's got to be something there with his old DNA."

"After thirty years however, most if it would be horrible degraded."

"Not necessarily," Don pressed. "If they could get DNA out of a mummy, there should be something down there that's salvageable. Especially since it looks like no one ever went in my –Don's room."

"Wonderful. Then we'll just head on down and get something-"

"You're not going to get anything," Mike interrupted. "I'll go get it."

"You're not even going to allow us to traverse down there even now?" Stockman drawled.

"Hell no," Mike agreed. "Just tell me what I'm looking for."

"Practically anything that would have young Donatello's DNA," Stockman relented. "Used bandage, used tissue, a toothbrush."

"I'll help you look around," Don told him. "There were a few things I saw that could be recovered. A few computer monitors, the spare generators and the like. With what I can find here and a few other places, I should be able to make a few things that could help April and the others."

Mikey shifted uncomfortably but Don instantly knew what it was he was thinking. "I'm not going to insist you take me back there," he reassured him. "It might be best to give it some time to reassure that I'm not going to lead the Shredder right to you."

"Sorry Donnie," Mike shifted.

"Completely understandable. Until we know just how much my DNA has been changed, it's better to be safe than sorry."

"So you do think that you're a clone of the original Donatello?" Hun finally contributed to the conversation.

"Ruling everything else out, it's really the only thing that fits. With Utrom technology, the cloning process could be improved. And after thirty years, Shredder has had plenty of opportunity to perfect it."

"Indeed," Stockman agreed. "But should it really be you who goes to collect the samples?"

"What's that suppose to mean?" Mike growled.

"Just saying that he could purposely contaminate them is all," Stockman said. "Unknowingly, of course," he added at Mike's increased snarling.

'Seriously, he's sounding way too much like Raph,' Don thought bemused before his amusement fell away to shame. 'Is that because I wasn't there? He always looked up to Raph and Leo but if the fights got as bad as he said they were-'

"Who's to say he hasn't already contaminated things?" Stockman's voice brought him out of his musing. "He's already admitted to being there. He could have planted items to be found later. Considering that he's the one who brought it up to begin with-"

"He would never!" Mike began but Don placed a hand on his shoulder.

"No, Mikey. He could be right," Don interrupted. "I don't know what I did before waking up if I did anything at all."

"But where else would we be able to get an old sample?" Alan asked.

"What about the old farm?" Don asked hopefully.

"No, the whole place has been retrofitted since the Shredder's take over. Anything that was there has been tossed out," Mike explained.

"Was there no where else?" Alan asked again.

"I hate to say it, but did Shredder have any DNA samples on us?" Don asked Stockman.

"If he does, we wouldn't be able to get anywhere near it," Hun told him flatly.

Don shifted again, keeping his weight off his injured foot before he looked back to Mike. "I hate to say it, but I do know one person who did have our DNA."

Mike pulled a face as Alan and Hun exchanged a confused look. "And who would that be?" Stockman drawled.

"Bishop," Mike finally bit out.

"Really? And how did that happen?" Stockman snickered.

"Does it matter?" Mike snapped back. "No one's seen Bishop in years."

"Really?" Don asked surprised. "What happened to him?"

"No one really knows," Mike threw up his hand in frustration. "He was a big factor in those first few years against the Shredder, especially when it was learned he was an alien but then nothing."

"And we have no idea about any of his own bases?" Don asked.

"Not a clue."

"Wonderful. Any other bright ideas?" Stockman posed.

"Other than April's place," Mike began.

"Which was destroyed by a fire," Alan put in.

"There's really no other place where we spent a lot of time."

"Um… what about the first lair?" Don asked hesitantly.

"What?"

"The one that Stockman's mousers ate," Don explained.

"My mousers-"

"Oh shut up Stockman," Mike, Alan and Hun all shouted. There was another "hump" but Stockman luckily did.

"The one that Leatherhead took over? Do you think there could be anything left?" Mike looked doubtful.

"Other than the new lair, it's the last place left really," Don admitted.

"And how do we know you didn't plant anything in that lair?" Stockman accused.

"I don't know," Don bristled annoyed. "But it's better than nothing."

"Considering how much dust has to be down there, it should be obvious if anything was disturbed or not," Mike disputed.

"Unless it was planted a few years ago," Stockman challenged.

"Even then, the thickness of the dust would be obvious to the most unobservant," Don insisted.

"I think he means you Mike," Alan chuckled. Mike just grinned.

Don frowned as a thought occurred to him. "Where is Leatherhead anyway? Did he make it to Utrom or…?"

"Or something…" Mike turned away slightly and Don was surprised to see a slight flush on Mike's cheeks. He looked over at Alan and Hun for some sort of clue as to why but both humans looked just as baffled as he was.

"Who's Leatherhead?" Alan asked curiously.

"Never mind," Mike insisted before turning back to Don. "So both lairs are the best bets we have to find Donnie's DNA. We'll check it out after we're done here."

"Right. Meaning we have to take this little think tank we have going here upstairs to the larger equipment," Stockman announced.

"Wonderful," Hun sighed unenthusiastically. Don found out why when Mike and Alan had to help balance the wheelchair up four flights of stairs.

As they waited for the generators to boot up, Don couldn't help but worry what it would be that they would find. Or not find as the case may be. Either way, it would be a few days before they found out.

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