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Different As It Always Will Be

By DeanneHollisPricelyn

Horror / Drama

Chapter 1

Donatello couldn't believe his eyes. The entirety of the grotesqueness of the situation before him alone was enough to make one terror stricken. But the fact that his brothers, Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo now lay dead at his feet was an even more gruesome fact to try to come to terms with. And...it was all his fault...all of this was his fault...If he could somehow change it, oh how he wished he change this horrifying fate! But things like "if's" and "wishes" didn't come true. Not for him. Not for reality.

Both Leonardo and Raphael had been killed by Karai. The Shredder's daughter- he should have known, he should have anticipated this. But no, he overlooked, overcompensated her abilities, merely thinking of the teenager that he and his brothers battled over the past few months. But this Karai, she had thirty more years experience than his Karai. She had tussled with his brothers even more numerous times than he could have imagined. She knew their strengths and weaknesses.

Michelangelo, dear dear Mikey, had been overpowered by Karai legions. It always wound up back to Karai. It was all her fault! No...it wasn't. Even though it was Shredder who was behind his brothers' demise, even though Karai was his right-hand soldier, it didn't matter. It was all his fault. It was all Donatello's fault.

Blood dribbled out of the corner of Mikey's mouth. His body had been pounded, blasted, and torn by the legions. The slightest of moans escaped from his lips. "D..Donnie?" Rushing over to his beloved brother's side, Donatello took Mikey's one good hand.

"I'm here!" The words poured out of Donnie like a dam. He wasn't going to let his brother die alone. Not like this.

"Where's...where's Leo 'n Raph?" Mikey's voice was thick and deep, yet very quiet, so unlike his usual, noisy, boisterous self.

"Mikey...they're...they're gone..." Donnie squeezed his eyes together tightly, trying to fight back the tears that poured down his face as a waterfall.
Mikey choked, letting out a muffled sob. "You sure bro?"

"Karai...she..."

"Please Donnie. Check for me. I want to know for sure," It was a last request from Hamato Michelangelo, and not one that his brother was going to turn down, no matter how bad it hurt him.

"Okay Mikey. But stay here, okay? Don't leave me," Donnie whispered. He had to be here for Mikey when...when he passed on.

"Can't go anywhere but up, and I don't plan on to go there either," Mikey chuckled, but grimaced. Despite Mikey's upbeat attitude, Donatello knew it was too late for his brother. Far too late. Even human doctors wouldn't be able to save him, no matter what they did.

Patting his brother's shell, Donnie stood up. He recoiled the second he saw Leo and Raph. Seeing them laying down beside each other, he remembered Raph's outcry as Karai had slashed through his shell, leaving a laceration that could never be healed. He could vividly see the red masked turtle fall to the ground, inching his way to Leo's still warm body, who have been slain only moments previous. He, too, had been cut through his shell, down to his now exposed spinal cord. Had he actually lived, he would have no doubt been paralyzed neck down.

Had he lived...that phrase alone bore through Donatello's heart. Kneeling down, he checked for a pulse on Raph's neck, and watched his chest for any signs of life, but it was as he feared. There was nothing. An utter, still, nothing. Donnie couldn't stand to bear holding back the tears any longer. He let them flow freely as he also knelt down beside Leo, but there was no life in him either. His heartbeat was as still as Raph's. Karai had surely done her job.

Carefully, and tenderly, Donnie removed Leo's sunglasses. For memories' sake he told himself. Gazing down at his deceased brother, he saw how empty and cold Leo's blind eyes were. But despite all that, there was pain and courage etched hard in them, never to disappear. It was all Leo was. Determined, a fighter to the end. The leader. The big brother. The comforter. And he was gone...
A flashback passed through Donnie's skull. It happened recently, before Donnie came here. A fight with the Kraang...Leo leaping into action...saving Donnie from a fatal shot...compassionately consoling him as his adrenaline spiked from the near death experience...
Donatello shook himself from that memory. He couldn't remember. He didn't want to. He had to make himself to think of something else. He had to move on.

Going back to Raphael, he untied the bandana that had caressed his brother's face for so long. He forced himself to stare into the hot-head's eyes. Or rather, his one eye. The other was gone...just as gone as Mikey's arm and Leo's eyesight. Had he been there, he would have prevented it, he would have stopped it all.

Raphael's famous stubbornness was there always, and pride, but there was something else. Fear encompassed Raphael, a fear that Donatello had never known for him to have. The fear of losing the battle was imminent, but the fear of losing his family had filled his soul. And lost them he had.
Getting back up, Donnie shook as he saw the liquid he had been in. The crimson ink of his brothers had mingled, their life essence now on him, and seeping into the ground below. Why hadn't he noticed? Stars danced in his vision as he breathed in the cruel stench of death. "Mikey?" He whispered as he neared his wounded brother. As no noise came from him, fear clenched Donatello. "Mikey?!" He spoke louder, praying to God that Mikey wasn't gone. Falling to his knees, Donnie held his brother's head, coddling it, stroking it, hoping to see Mikey's chest rise and fall with a breath. There was nothing. Absolutely nothing, just like Leo, just like Raph. He had lost Mikey and he wasn't even there. "NO!" Donnie cried out, screaming to the world, his body now racked with anguish. "Why..." He moaned. "Why?!" Shouting out in anger, he glared at two other bodies. Those of his enemies, slain by his own hands, it was all their fault! Oroku Saki had created this accursed world alongside his minion, and they had died with it. They would not be buried, no, not by Donatello. They didn't deserve it. They would just lay there and rot, to be picked apart by the many scavengers out there. The vultures and crows, the buzzards and ravens, what did it matter as long as Shredder and Karai were humiliated in their deaths. It was such a sad and sick revenge.

Clambering to his feet, Donatello stood, although where he found the strength to commit such a feat was unimaginable. He cried out again, and for once words were seemingly not enough for him. They did not let the world know his pain. His screams echoed across the landscape, and he collapsed, exhausted. Curling up into a ball, he sobbed, completely alone, with none left to comfort him.

~~~

Donatello awoke, having cried himself to sleep. The area around him was dark, as if all the light from the moon and stars had evaporated, leaving it just as stark bare as everything else in his life. As Donnie's eyesight began to clear, images passed by in his mind. His brothers...they were...they were all dead...

Sitting up, it hit Donnie that he was in a bed. A very soft, comfortably familiar, lumpy mattress that welcomingly smelled of herbs, old paper, and pencil lead. It was...no it couldn't be...but it was! This was where he slept every night, often brining his work with him! It was his bed! Practically flying, Donnie leapt up, straight to where his door should be. Ever so cautiously opening it, he was suddenly flooded with harsh, bright lights that clouded his vision, blinding him momentarily. But he wouldn't stay still. Using his hands to guide him down the hallway, Donnie could hear voices in the living room.

The view before him was unbelievable. There, standing alive and in the flesh, utterly unwounded and completely whole, and not to mention as young and immature as ever were none other than his brothers. Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo they were all there, just sitting around, laughing about one thing or another. That alone brought tears to Donnie's eyes. This must be heaven. But could one feel heartache in heaven? He thought not. So this must not be heaven, which could only mean they were alive. Just thinking it through cleared Donatello's mind, and he knew what had happened.

They had noticed him. They saw the fresh tears, as well as the paths of the old ones that stained his cheeks.

"Donnie?" Leo asked first. Oh, that sweet word, the compassion in that tone.

"Are you okay Bucketbrain?" Even Raph was concerned, although he threw in a supposed despised nickname. Dear Raph, he was just as protective as Leo.

"Dude, have you been crying?" Leave it to Mikey to innocently point out the obvious.

"It was just..." Donnie tried to speak, but his throat began to close. "...just a nightmare..."

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