The Taste of Tears
The Taste of Tears
I walk past the lab for the fourth time that day. Looking from the door to the floor I pass it constantly as the days roll by. My baby brother Mikey was injured in a battle with the Purple Dragons but what made it worse was the fact he took the hit for me. My guard was down for a second not knowing a Purple Dragon shot at Raph but the bullet ricocheted off a dumper and came at me. Mikey saw this and pushed me out of the way.
My brother and I barely got him home in time for Donnie to operate and remove the bullet from his chest. We were lucky that it didn't hit anything vital but the blood loss was thing killing him now. Donnie and I were the only ones compatible for the in transfusion and I immediately volunteered. Mikey has remained in a coma like state ever since. Donnie explained that his body was just healing and he needed time to rest.
I waited by his bedside as time passed over him watching his chest move up and down rhythmically. The oxygen mask had to be readjusted countless times from Mikey moving his head back and forth as if he was having one of his famous nightmares.
I would hold Mikey's hand with mine wishing for him to just give me a sign that he was fine. Donnie started kicking me out in the morning to run some test on him and for me to have a break. Raph and I refuse to speak but his eyes speak for him. I can tell from the glare he gives me that it's my fault Mikey is like this.
I retreated to the only place I felt safe for the time being.
Walking into the dojo I sat down and took my swords off my back to mediate. I replayed everything that happened that night three days ago.
My brothers and I were playing ninja tag with Mikey being declared the winner once again. We were jumping down from the rooftop when we found ourselves in the middle of a gun fight between Purple Dragons fighting over leadership. I grabbed Mikey by the shoulders and pushed him with myself into cover. I looked over to see that Raph did the same with Donnie. Bullets flew past my face grazing me on the cheek. I winced at the pain but I had to keep Mikey out of the line of fire. I took one of my blades out and used the reflection of the moon on the metal to see where our shooters were.
I showed Raph and Donnie their locations and immediately we took action.
Bullets continued to be fired at us but my brothers and I were faster. We took out each Purple Dragon one by one. Throwing the guns they had into the dumpster and moved onto the next. Mikey stayed back when me covering him, he worried over the guns but I worried more about his safety. Raph took down the last Purple Dragon, removing the gun and throwing it into the dumpster. Donnie ran over to the dumpster and ordered Raph to help him make sure the safeties were on and they removed the remaining bullets from the guns.
Donnie jumped into the dumpster while Raph hung outside of it. Mikey was helping me tie up the Purple Dragons so we could leave them for the police. With my back turned tying up Purple Dragons the lone Dragon that Raph took down woke up and reached for his ankle.
None of us knew he had a second gun.
In flash the gun was fired.
That's all I wanted to remember because after that everything turned red. From Mikey's wound to Raph's rage killing the Dragon that injured our baby brother.
I rubbed the scar on my cheek reminding myself of that day and of my failure to not to check to make sure there weren't any more guns or that I left my guard down even for a split second.
I peered through the open crack of the dojo to see Donnie leave the lab. I immediately stood up and walked out of the dojo and into the lab. Mikey was still asleep but his completion was better.
"Hey there Mikey nice seeing you again." I whispered grasping his hand into mine once again.
"This is the most quiet you've ever been you know that. This is one for the record books." I joked.
My laugh was dry and hollow. I tried to keep myself happy and cheerful like he was when I visited him but I just sat there trying to get the guilt from that night to dissipate.
My eye lids were heavy from the sleepless night I had waiting for Mikey to wake. Those nights were now catching up to me.
I'll just rest my head for a few minutes.
As soon as my head hit my arms I fell into a deep sleep. Never noticing the hand I was grasping gripped mine a bit.
I woke up to see I fell to sleep for an hour. The hand I was holding was a bit tighter but I thought it was just from me during my time in sleep land. I was about to release his hand when I saw that I couldn't.
"Mikey?" I whispered.
His hand squeezed mine. Mikey's eyes opened a bit and he smiled at me.
"Hey Leo" Mikey said in a hoarse voice.
"Oh thank God your awake Mikey. I need to get Donnie and tell Raph and sensei that-"
I tried to release my hand from Mikey but his grip only tighten. Mikey tried to sit up but I stopped him.
"Mikey you were injured in a gun fight. You need to rest." I stated trying to push Mikey back down on the bed.
But Mikey protested and with some help on my part Mikey sat up straight and stared at me.
"What is it Mikey?" I asked.
"Leo why do you blame yourself for this?" Mikey asked me.
I was shocked Mikey was never really the serious turtle but when he was it meant that we had to stay and listen.
"Mikey you don't understand if I was just a better leader and older brother than you wouldn't be laying here. You were almost killed back there because I didn't think to check the Purple Dragons for another gun or the fact I relaxed in the heat of battle because I believed they were all incapacitated." I stated.
Mikey gripped his hold on me tighter and tighter to the point it started to hurt.
"Leo you aren't a superhero. I may believe you are at times but you are just my older brother who sacrificed everything when we were younger to become the next head of our clan. Leo you aren't perfect but you're my older brother." Mikey said.
"Mikey" I said.
Tears formed in my eyes and fell onto our tightly gripped hands.
"Do you regret what happened back there?" Mikey asked.
I nodded my head. My voice wasn't working now I was choking and crying my eyes out from all the years I held them back.
"Do you want to know when you'll die then?" Mikey asked.
"What?" I said. My voice came back just in time for me to bolt up and leer at my baby brother.
"Mikey never ask something like that! Do you think I would like to know the date and time or even the place where I would lose a brother?" I yelled.
Mikey cracked a smile and pointed his finger at my heart.
"So is it really ok for you to die here?" Mikey asked.
Wait. Don't tell me…
"Leo do you regret it?"
I was the one injured in the battle
My eyes ran side to side replaying what happened after Mikey shielded me from the bullet.
The bullet flew from the gun, Raph dodged the bullet and it ricocheted off the dumpster to me. Mikey saw this and ran to shield me but my reflexes were faster and I pulled Mikey behind me just in time for the bullet to enter my chest below my heart.
"Yes I do! I do have regrets. I regret not being there for when Casey and April marry and have children. But most of all I regret not being there for you guys and being myself." I said through my tears.
Mikey reached over and cupped my face and pulled me to his chest. Tears rolled off his face onto mine. The tears mixed with mine some fell onto the bed while others fell onto my lips. The tears were usually salty but these were sweet.
"Don't die then, alright?" Mikey said smiling through his tears.
"Yeah." I answered.
I closed my eyes once more.
My eyes didn't open but my other senses were heightened. My face felt wet with something. I cracked my eyes open and blinked a few times to see a hazy figure looming over me.
It took a bit for my eyes to adjust to see my baby brother with tears filled eyes staring at me with disbelief.
"Leo you're alive!" Mikey shouted.
Mikey fell on top of me with his arms around my shoulder. Sobbing into the crook of my neck.
"Mikey" I said through my oxygen mask.
I reached my arms over and returned the hug to him.
My baby brother sobbed and sobbed never letting me go even when Raph and Donnie ran in to pull him off me so Donnie to assess my injury. I watched from the corner of my eye him being pushed out of the room by Raph.
I licked my dry lips to taste the salty sweet tears of what I promised myself back there.