It was so cold...
Why was it so cold?
I kept looking around, and I blinked. It was dark. I hate this place...but why do I hate it?
Don't I belong here?
And then, I remembered. I didn't want to watch them die... I couldn't.
My brothers. They should be okay now.
I don't remember how long ago it was. But I listened to them telling me what I have always known. I do remember that it was after a particularly bad defeat we took against some Foot.
I'm a child. I drag the team down. I'm useless, and all I care about are things that shouldn't matter. Raph wanted me to go away, and never come back. I remember that...he was so mad, he punched everything that was within fist distance in my room. I was too scared to stop him.
Donnie told me that if I put half as much energy into training as I did video games, then maybe they wouldn't have to deal with my screw-ups. And he gave me that all-pitying look I hate so much...but I couldn't feel anything then. Why should I?
But it was what Leo said that really stung, deeper than Donnie and Raph's words put together.
Leo always knew I was a little different. But he wished sometimes that I was like them, not such a goof-off all the time.
He wanted me to grow up, to stop acting like I was a child. Then, he wished that I wasn't even born.
I know all that. I've always known.
But that's just how I am. I can't change that.
Then they wouldn't talk to me anymore. I was ignored a lot, and the only time they would talk to me was to yell at me for something...mostly when I screwed up in training.
I think I spent more time crying my eyes out than training or eating. I was sure of one thing- I couldn't face them anymore.
A screw-up...up until I was captured my Karai, I really wondered how much have I brought my brothers down. How far I set them back.
It must've been really far. Whenever I wasn't forced to train, I would study them. I wanted to see if I was really as bad as they made me out to be.
And I noticed how focused they were. Even Raph seemed more calm when he and Leo were sparring against each other, and he...he was smiling a lot.
I knew why. Because they didn't have to deal with me.
Even so, I tried to handle it. Tried to shake this whole thing off and go on with my life.
They're my brothers; I can't just leave them.
But in the end, I broke down. Completely.
It was after a training match with Leo that I had reached my breaking point. I lost, but that wasn't what did it.
What did it...was how he bad he beat me. It was so bad, I think my wrist was broken. Even so...
He yelled at me, saying that I needed to get faster and stronger than that. Then, he forced me up and made me do push-ups and things like that. And every time I messed up...I'd get hit by him and Raph.
It was a lot. My wrist was badly sprained, and putting pressure on it was excruciating.
I couldn't deal with it anymore.
So I left. It was weeks after that incident, when my wrist was a bit better. I never left a note or anything. I wrote a last entry in my journal, and I just left.
I felt the words hurt more and more, echoing in my mind, stabbing me deeper in my heart. The wounds were hard to take, but physical wounds always heal.
Emotional ones, though, are a lot harder to recover from.
And I knew... they were right.
I was having a hard time accepting it, but...they were right.
I ran off into the welcoming air of the city. With April right around the corner, it was a pretty warm night. Clear sky,awfully quiet streets...just peaceful out here.
New York City. The city where we all began.
Where we all grew up and protected one another.
And where I was finally left on my own.
I feel the tears stinging at my eyes, and despite not wanting to, I cry.
Silent in the darkness...like we always were.
I shed more tears as the truth sinks in more and more inside me.
I let them fall to the cold cemented ground below my feet.
My tears...so many of them. I was amazed that I could shed so many... haven't I shed enough?
I couldn't stop. It was because I understood the whole truth now.
I just wish it hadn't hurt so much.
I can't remember when I started running again. I just...I couldn't stay there anymore. I needed to move ,to think about other things, to feel something other than hurt and pain and sadness.
I just kept running until I was panting heavily, until my chest burned for air I wasn't taking in. I looked out in front of me, standing straighter as I caught my breath.
New York City. My home.
I thought long and hard about what I should do now. I was on my own, and it frightened me. I didn't know what to do without my older brothers...without Leo in particular.
I sat down on the roof's edge, letting all those times I spent with my brothers run through my head.
And I realized something. I can't get angry at them. I can't feel hurt, I can't... can't hate them.
Somewhere in my subconsciousness, I reached for my cell, intent on calling them.
Then, I paused. Should I even call? What would it matter?
They would probably reprimand me for running and crying like a baby.
But I can't help it! I have feelings, too! I hurt, I have a heart!
Yet, it doesn't matter...does it?
In all my thoughts, I hadn't felt the sharp stab of a tranquilizer dart. It wasn't until I stood up, and was man-handled over a husky shoulder that I heard her.
Crap...and I didn't have my weapons...
The one thing I heard clearly, I remember, was her asking where my brothers were. Then she was telling me an ambush wouldn't work.
She could see that I was weaker, and when I made no motion to call for my brothers, she asked for their whereabouts, a bit more louder than before. She honestly thought they were coming for me?
She has no idea how lucky she just got.
I was starting to feel dizzy, and I figured that the traq dart would take its effect soon.
I wasn't going to tell her. I don't care what she wants to do with me.
I could never live with myself if I let them die.
Even if I make them hate me, even if I shouldn't have existed...I still love them.
So I just shook my head, let out a weak laugh, and told her to do whatever she wanted to do with me.
I surrendered. Just like that.
I mean, what could I do? I was severely outnumbered, I had no weapon, and I was alone.
That got to me.
I really was alone...
I guess I fainted or something, because I came around and found myself in The Shredder's lair.
Karai was standing over me, and her glare was piercing. She scares me, to be honest.
I was strapped to a cold, steel table, my shell taking brute pressure. My waist, ankles and wrists were bound tight with some kind of strap.
The extra straps weren't needed. I wasn't going anywhere even if I was free. But she still doesn't know that.
Again, she demanded to know where my brothers were, telling me she'd spare my life if I told her. Again, I told her nothing.
Come on, Karai. I'm trying to die here, so you think I'm gonna trust your words? You have really lost your mind.
So she ordered some weird guy with a white coat in here. Then, I watched her leave, telling me I'd regret this.
No, Karai...I won't. You won't understand.
Heck, I don't understand. But I'll never regret this. I'll never regret making sure my brothers are happy agian.
Right after she left, it began.
For the entire time I was in there, he never spoke or looked at me. Kinda reminded me of Donny.
I watched him pick up something shiny and sharp, he muttered something, and then he walked over. I don't know if fear had me, or I was just ready to die or what, but I didn't fight back. I think it was the fear. Of what exactly, I can't tell.
I felt this awful pain in my side, just enough to keep me alert. Like I was going to sleep.
Remember, this is Karai. She will torture people to get what she wants, you know?
I had no clue it would hurt this bad, though. Ouch!
He repeated it until I was close to passing out from the blood loss. I'm sure he was either stabbing me or cutting me pretty harsh and deep. It was painful either way, but I didn't scream.
I didn't want to give any of them the satisfaction.
Then came the injections.
The first one...I think was a crimson red color. But the minute he shoved that thing into my arm, I felt the most intense pain yet, and I know I was screaming. My head kept banging against the steel table, so I had a growing headache as well.
It was terrible, but compared to what I had to put up with my brothers...I don't know. I guess it was worse.
The second was a dark, dark green color. It didn't do anything at first, and I was trying to breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe my insides can get a rest...?
Damn. Then again, maybe not.
I was slowly losing my ability to breathe. Like, my lungs felt like it was filling with water and I couldn't get it out!
I was flailing...oh god, I was screaming, begging them to help me, to stop this...
I couldn't breathe!
After some time-I can't recall how much- I felt myself gathering air again. But my chest was on fire. It stung each time I attempted to breathe.
The guy said something, and came at me with a third one.
All I remember seeing was the color of the liquid inside it. It looked even darker than before. Almost black.
By that point, despite trying to fight everything, I was done. I passed out.
When I came around, I saw they tossed me in a cell. It was cold, and dirty, and I smelled something rank and nasty...not sure what it was. I didn't care.
I curled into a ball and cried. I was so scared, and this was the only way I could express my fears.
It was only my first day, and I knew...it was all going to shell from here.
I can't recall if I ever ate. Probably not. I was losing weight, and I think I was lighter than Donny! We were always close in weight, with Raph being the heaviest and Leo somewhere in the middle.
There were some days where she would spare me, as crazy as it sounds.
If she didn't want to torture me, she'd want me to tell her where my brothers were. I guess she thought she could use me as a guinea pig to lure my brothers to her.
I still refused.
On those days, I would just lay there, my mind blank, everything numb all around me. Nothing mattered to me...nothing except Death.
I always remembered the four-word phrase I let run through my mind- It was almost over.
Other nights, it was pure shell. I remember those treatments.
There were times where she would actually be in there, and through my screaming and skull-bashing against the steel table, I would see her, giving me a death-glare and signaling the guy to increase the pressure on whatever it was he did to me.
And other times, when I was being cut up or tested on, she'd be so close, I could smell her breath. It always smelled like mint, and I was always reminded of Leo.
He had that same exact scent... like lavender and liliac and something else...must be those meditation candles he always used...
And then...she'd talk. Whisper the truth over and over again, making sure it was etched into my memory.
'They are never going to come and save you. You have smudged their honor, and you are useless to anyone. So why not just die? Why not just vanish, Michaelangelo?'
And you wanna know something?
When she said it, venom dripping from every word, I broke. I gave up. It was over.
She just didn't know. That is exactly what my brothers wanted me to do, Karai. That's why I can never tell you where they are.
Because that will be a secret that will die when I do. The only thing giving me peace.
But for some reason, I...I couldn't...it just...I don't know. It didn't really matter to me anymore.
Then it was back to that cell. I would lay there for hours on end, trying to stop the pain from everything around me.
And when the pain got to be too much, I would curl into a ball on the floor, and cry. I just cried myself to sleep.
It was like that every night for over...actually, I lost track after about a week and a few days.
And I knew I couldv'e called my brothers. I could've sent them my signal. My ShellCell was still nearby,which was weird. But I could've just sent them my signal, and it would've been the end of it.
But I didn't want to use it. What good would it do?
My brothers already hated me. And I honestly believed that they would want me here. It's where I belong, right?
So one night, out of anger and hopelessness, I smashed the phone against the wall.
Right after that, an odd feeling washed over me. I can't...I mean, I never felt anything like it. It was like that phone was the last thread holding my bond to my brothers. Like that was all I had to do in order to leave this world and grant them all their final request.
Karai had no idea, but she was doing us all a grand favor.
Karai held me in longer than usual this one day. I was strapped to a cold table, but it wasn't steel. At least that was an improvement.
I was laying on my shell again, which was wounded and sore. My body hadn't healed from the last round of treatments, so the wounds were stretched and bleeding a bit. My head was bleeding a little, my body was weak and I had no energy left to even stand upright.
But if I had to rank my pain level, with ten being the worst, oddly enough...it would be a one. I was growing so accustomed to this...I didn't care.
Of course, she started the usual way. Cuts, threats. I had gotten so used to it, it didn't really faze me anymore.
Blood ran down my body so heavily, I wondered how I was still alive for this. I wanted it to end...
Then, though a foggy view, I saw her signal a Foot. And he came in.
I thought he was going to kill me at last. I sighed a little, thankful for that.
But they did something different.
I was released, but right afterward, I was quickly strung up by my wrists. My feet were dangling at least two feet off the ground, but now my wrists were supporting my weight.
What the shell was going on?
The Foot she signaled in unwrapped something. I tensed, not seeing what was going on-and I was snapped alert.
He was whipping me with something resembling a whip, but it had spikes adoring it.
Personally, I hadn't cared. I just screamed. Screamed and thrashed with the little energy I had left. I knew my wrists were badly broken, and I screamed even more at the heat of the pain from the whiplashes and my wrists.
Why wasn't I dead?
Slowly, a bit too slowly, I could feel something coming over me, and I just faintly recall whispering Leo's name.
I'm scared, Leo. I don't like this.
But what did it matter? I was gonna die. They would be happy then.
And that's what I wanted for them. Happiness...they deserve it. I mean, we've had the worst happening to us, and Leo and Raphie and Donny...they were always dealing with me. I must've been some burden.
Not anymore I'm not.
Master Splinter...I wonder what he would say. I wonder if he'd hate me, too. I knew he would.
I'm a coward. I'm useless. I'm weak.
The next thing I knew, she was in my face again. I guess I fainted for a moment. I couldn't make out what she was saying, but I felt something. Her farewell mark.
She took out her kunai, looking at me directly in my eyes. Then, without a word, she calmly leaned forward toward me and carved the symbol of her father into my face, on my right cheek. I couldn't even whimper for that. I fell unconscious soon after.
The next time I opened my eyes, and that was a challenge in itself, I was in the cell, and everything finally left me in one more crying moment.
My wounds were on fire, and I couldn't take in full breaths of air. My mind was spinning, my body was going numb...but I didn't care.
It had been so cold here...and then...
A light...a warm light was beginning to envelop me...
I saw a hand, and heard a really nice lady's voice...she wanted to know something.
She wanted to know if I was ready.
She wanted to take me away from here.
I nodded, pausing to ask a question. Just something that was starting to come to mind.
"Will...will I go to..."
"No. You gave yourself for the safety of your brothers. This excuses you from anymore pain, Michaelangelo. Now come." she said sweetly, a loving smile on her face.
I nodded again, extending out my hand to her. She felt really soft, like one of my blankets I had at home.
Looking up at her, I could see was these two large, white angel wings surrounding her. Her hair was kinda blonde, but it looked like a dirty brown to me. Her eyes were the same color as Leo's. A warm cinnamon color.
I like her. She reminds me of Leo.
It was instantly the most warm feeling in the world.
It was done...just a bit more, and...
I'm coming...it's really nice here...
"Mikey, answer me! Michaelangelo!"
Wait...I'm almost there...Don't rush me...
"Dammit, Mikey! Where are ya?"
I closed my eyes. I was there. I don't wanna wake up...
They'll be okay...I'm not...dragging them down anymore...They're free.
And so am I.
It was all warm and safe now. I didn't hurt...nothing hurt.
It was okay.