story by Jephael
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This story takes place during October 1999, two years after the events of Seven Shredders and works as a "series finale" of sorts.
Raphael let out a loud burp as he and Leonardo exited Vinnie's pizza.
"Real classy, bro."
"Sorry, I've been having belching contests with Michaelangelo a lot lately and I wanted to get some practice in."
"Are you two ever going to grow up?!" Leo asked with a sigh.
"Not any time soon." Raphael answered with a smirk.
"To think there was actually a time you took things more seriously!"
"Oh yea, when was that?"
"I guess around the time we had those unstable mutations while fighting Lord Dregg."
"Oh come on, that was like a lifetime ago! I gotta admit though, those mutations were wicked! It's too bad we started going crazy. We were like four Incredible Hulks!!!"
"Yea, but we had a fifth member on the team."
"Oh right, Carter! Hey whatever happened to him anyway?" Raphael asked.
Leonardo's eyes went wide as he saw the young man in question materialize right in front of them "Looks like you can ask him yourself."
"Hey guys, good to see ya!"
"Carter, where the heck did you come from?!" Raphael asked
"You mean when the heck did I come from!"
"Oh that's right. Landor and Merrik took you to the future to cure your mutation." Leo replied.
"Yep. When I got to 2016 the technological advancements were good enough to crack my genetic code. Unfortunately it took longer than expected to de-mutate myself entirely."
"Oh yea, how long?" Raphael asked.
"I just arrived from 2036!"
"You were in the future for twenty years?" Leonardo said in amazement.
"Yep. Funny thing happened though. I briefly saw your teenaged selves from 1991 show up on a time train along with some weird rabbit creature and that Shredder guy along with those mutant punks you used to tell me about."
"Oh I remember that adventure! Wait, do we still become withered old farts in the future?" Raphael asked.
"I really shouldn't divulge too much of what I saw there, and to be honest I wasn't planning on coming back to this time for good. I just came back to get my belongings and send them to 2036. You see I... sort of got engaged to somebody, and I don't wanna have to wait 40 years to see her again."
"36 years considering you left the present four years ago. Man time travel is weird!" Raphael commented.
Carter looked at the settings on his time-orb. "Oh, whoops! I meant to show up the day you finished off Dregg. I wasn't going to get involved with the fight, but I just wanted to see it happen for myself."
"Either way, it is good to see you again." Leonardo stated as he shook hands with Carter. "I'm just sorry Donatello and Michaelangelo aren't with us to share in the reunion."
"Aw, that's okay. You'll be seeing me again before you know it."
Leonardo and Raphael took Carter to a storage facility the Turtles had recently acquired where they kept many of their treasured belongings and mementos of their exploits. In one of the rooms was where all of Carter's things had been left behind. Leonardo and Raphael helped him gather them up in a pile and Carter beamed them to the year 2036.
"Are you sure you sent them to the right time?" Raphael asked.
"Don't worry, I double-checked to make sure I got the right date. Well, it was good seeing you, bros." With one final wave, Carter zapped himself back to the future.
Leonardo and Raphael sat outside the warehouse for a few minutes. "What're you thinking about, fearless leader?"
"I just remembered those H.A.V.O.C. mutants we dealt with a year before Carter and Dregg came into our lives. They were from a lot farther in the future than Landor and Merrik."
"Carter didn't say much about what becomes of us, and I'm worried we might not always be around to keep the world safe."
"Oh geez, come on Leonardo! You put the fate of the world on your shoulders way too much. If I've learned anything from all the adventures we had over the years it's that you can't worry about what's ahead. You can only concern yourself with what's right in front of you in the present."
Leonardo smiled and put his hand on Raphael's shoulder. "Thanks for the pep talk."
"Any time, bro!"
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