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Fanfic / The Ouroboros

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Earth has made its final stand, and been saved through the desperate efforts of several heroes... including a group of displaced teenagers who have finally, finally, after several months traversing through space and time itself seeking a way to Set Right What Once Went Wrong, earned their old lives back.

Oh, wait... there are six others who actually own those lives? No matter. Let's just shoo them off into space. Surely there's nothing wrong with that, right?


Written for the 2019 TMNT Big Bang, Werepirechick's The Ouroboros is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) fic that follows the six who headed into space, unaware that they aren't actually stablizing some time loop. Exploring one possiblity for just what happened to them after they took off, leaving their lives in the care of their other selves... and what happens when they realize that trusting themselves might have been a mistake.


This fanfic contains examples of:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: At some point, Leo managed to lose the title of team leader during a game of UNO. To Casey's left sneaker.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Once Mikey realizes that their other selves have outright stolen their lives on Earth, he starts thinking about popping the heads off of bug aliens and idly wonders if he'll have to do the same to their doppelgangers.
    Mikey: [to Leo] "How similar d'you think carapace is to exoskeleton?" [chirpily] "Asking for a friend."
  • Change the Uncomfortable Subject:
    • Alt!Donnie repeatedly dodges around answering any questions about the time loop, trying to conceal just how touchy a subject that is for him.
    • When Donnie is trying to explain to Mikey that one of the ways somebody can 'lose time' is through PTSD, citing Leo's panic attacks as an example, Leo immediately announces that their call has gone through. Loudly.
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  • Cool Sword: April gets a Salamandrian sword custom-made for her in a katana-like stule with a teal blade.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Alt!Donnie is surprised when the spacefarers call home wanting to know more details about how they're meant to go about ensuring the Stable Time Loop is completed.
    • He's surprised again when they hack into his latest version of Metalhead to contact them, though Donnie believes that he knew this would happen since he'd already done this himself before.
  • Didn't Think This Through: The alternates' plan to send the original residents of this timeline off into space and step into their lives didn't account for the notion that they might ever come back. Or that they might take offense at the whole 'being tricked into leaving' thing.
  • Doppelgänger Gets Same Sentiment: Raphael finds himself in this position when they meet the Salamandrians, as Y'Gythgba clearly expects to pick up where they left off, and the other Salamandrians still hold him and the others responsible for the actions of their counterparts.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Played With in Act 3. Mikey's brothers are astounded when he comes up with an idea that they can't immediately reject as stupid, because they're used to dismissing everything he says and does out of hand.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Deconstructed: For the sake of their happy ending, the turtles, April and Casey that the series followed into space convinced their Alternate Universe counterparts into going into space themselves so that they could claim their identities and lives as their own. The Ouroboros follows those counterparts and the story of what happened to them after they left... as well as what happens when they want to return.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: April has one after Leo, nettled by Donnie cheerfully pointing out that he's just as insufferable as the rest of them, grumbles "No wonder our future selves don't want us to come home."
  • Eye Scream: Discussed; Raph is disgusted to learn from April that the 'weird pokers' on the end of Y'Gythgba's weapon are eyeball gougers, having assumed they were just for aesthetic.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: How the spacefarers view Splinter's death. While Shredder was the one who murdered him, they hold their counterparts responsible for not protecting him.
  • Fix Fic: Described as a 'Fix-It of sorts'.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Resentment towards their other selves starts to fester as they learn just what kind of messes they left for them to clean up in space, like Raph being blindsided by his counterpart's relationship with Y'Gythgba or the Salamandrian-Insectoid war. And that comes well before the inevitable realization...
  • Heroic BSoD: The whole spacefaring group has one once Mikey relays the news that Splinter has passed away.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: Zigzagged. After seeing his father's memorial altar, Mikey has a brief Freak Out before slamming into this, forcing himself to keep up a pretense of calm while internally warring to keep his emotions under control. Even after reaching safety, he finds himself Unable to Cry, shaken enough that everyone can see it, but still struggling to express how he feels.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: When he receives their first call home, Alt!Donnie hesitates a bit before declaring that he can't tell them anything about how they're meant to complete the time loop. He does so again during a later call, when his counterpart makes a crack about how he knew they were going to contact him this way already, and when April asks about her father.
  • Hidden Depths: Michelangelo's thoughts during his POV sequences reveal him to be a Sad Clown Stepford Smiler who sincerely believes that he hasn't formed any serious emotional attachments to anyone, because he's learned that caring hurts. He's honestly blindsided to learn just how much he does care after all.
  • Hypocrisy Nod: While bantering with Casey about head trauma, Donnie notes that 'shaking off a concussion' isn't the best idea, but given that he's done so before himself...
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Alt!April's internal narration shows that she thinks of the other April as her 'time clone' and an usurper in her life. Combined with "It" Is Dehumanizing, as she notably avoids thinking of her as anything other than 'the person' or 'her clone'.
    • Along similar lines, when confronted by their alternates, Donnie uses their full names in his head while using their nicknames for his siblings and himself.
  • The Insomniac: Donnie struggles with the inability to sleep while trying to puzzle out just how the time loop is meant to work. It only gets worse for him once the Awful Truth comes out.
  • Internal Reveal: As it turns out, not all of the 'original' turtles were aware that they were stealing the others' lives, and this comes out in Act Three.
  • Just a Kid: Mikey's brothers have a bad habit of dismissing him this way, overlooking how he's a skilled ninja who's endured just as many horrific events as the rest of them. While he's used to this, and twists that to his own advantage at times, it's clear he also resents not being taken seriously.
  • Kill and Replace:
    • While they didn't murder their alternates, the time travelers unabashedly lied and tricked their counterparts into leaving so that they could slip neatly back into the lives they left behind.
    • When the originals return, Casey tells his counterpart that they're planning to murder the other alternates in order to reclaim their lives.
  • Living Lie Detector: April's empathic powers enable her to sense when somebody is lying to her. However, it only works when she's speaking to them directly, in person.
  • Mood Whiplash: Right before April realizes that their counterparts lied about the missing time, she, Leo and Donnie are happily bantering and teasing each other.
  • Not So Above It All: Leonardo, despite all his airs of maturity and touting himself as the team leader, is still a teenager, and more than happy to join in games of Fruit Ninja and make stupid wagers.
  • Only Sane Man: Invoked in Act Three by Casey, who tells his alt-self that the other originals are intending to Kill and Replace the others to reclaim their lives, and convinces him that they need to work together to stop them. As it turns out, that's all a ruse.
  • Poor Communication Kills:
    • Because the six who were sent up into space were Locked Out of the Loop and lied to by their counterparts, they naturally assume the worst upon learning that Splinter died in their absence. Namely, that their replacements killed him. This makes things considerably worse.
    • Alt!Leo's attempt to discuss Mikey's recent behavior with him fails because he leaps to the assumption that his little brother was pulling some kind of cruel prank. Had he taken Mikey's feelings more seriously rather than assuming the worst, he might have realized that the Mikey who was freaking out over Splinter's death wasn't his Mikey.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Raph rejects the notion that Y'Gythgba, whom he's just met, is his girlfriend. She was in a relationship with his counterpart, not him, and he's understandably uncomfortable with the implications.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Raphael. While the others tend to use Precision F-Strikes, he uses coarse language more often.
  • Stable Time Loop: The six new spacefarers believe that's what they're doing, though no matter how hard he tries, Donnie can't seem to get the math to work out right or figure out just how they're going to close it...
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: During their first call home, it's hinted that Donnie unintentionally gives his counterpart the idea to dodge any questions about how they're supposed to proceed by citing spoilers, supposedly to avoid the Butterfly Effect.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pizza, naturally. The travelers lament their inability to recreate a proper New York-style pizza, and Mikey swipes a big slice from a birthday party upon their return.
  • Tragic Villain: Ultimately, the whole reason that the alternates come into conflict with their counterparts is because their whole timeline and everything they knew and loved was lost forever. The only way to get those things back was by replacing the ones native to this reality... or at least, that's how they've justified it to themselves.
  • Unable to Cry: Mikey, following the revelation of his father's death while they were away, finds himself the only one who remains dry-eyed over the news.
  • You're Just Jealous: Mikey taunts Donnie with a sing-songy accusation of this when chided about how he and Leo were distracted by fighting over the pizza slice he stole. Donnie's grumbling hints that's more true than he cares to admit.


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