Chapter 10

He froze up so fast. I looked at him, watching as his chest rose faster, his eyes growing wider as he looked at Raph. I was trying to calm him down, but that was a lost cause.

I had to ask myself what the shell I was thinking, letting all of us in the room. We all care for him, but at the same time, ashamed as I am to say it, we broke him. He can't handle this much.

Since he was in a fear-induced stupor, I checked his fever. It seemed like he was growing hotter than usual, and I signaled to Donny that he needed to do something quickly.

Mikey finally snapped himself out of his trance, and he looked at me with a sense of dread since I was so close to him.

Before I could warn the others, both Donny and Raph walked toward him. Mikey let out something of a strangled scream, and shook his head furiously. If he had a weapon, he probably would've used it.

"No! Please get away...get away!" he managed to say, somehow finding his voice. He sounded so weak and scared.

Raph stopped moving. Donny did, too. Both of them looked at me, Raph's expression asking me what we should do.

But I didn't know at that moment. I don't know what we can do.

I looked back at our little brother. It was sad. He was curling up in on himself all over again. In his mind, it was just like before, and he was doing whatever he could to avoid getting hurt again. To avoid having his own brothers ganging up on him.

Donny tried to get close to him again, and Mikey literally cowered under his sheets. "Please don't. I'll keep out of the way, I promise. I-I'll listen to you, I'll do whatever you say! Just-just don't hurt me! I'm sorry, I'm sorry!" he cried, shaking like a leaf. Tears were pouring down his face, hitting his sheets.

Donny opened his mouth to speak again, trying to calm him down, but Mikey's hands covered his ears, blocking him out.

Then Raph took one step. One step, and I swear to God, Mikey nearly jumped out of his shell in utter fear. He began to hyperventilate, and Donny was growing worried.

"No! NO! Don't. Raph, I'm sorry! STOP!" he screamed, putting his arms up in defense. That actually caused me to jump a little.

I never heard of Mikey screaming so loud. Not even as a child.

I looked at Raph, telling him to stay back for awhile. Raph looked utterly lost and angry, and I don't blame him. Then I looked at Donny, who was already walking toward Mikey again, trying to take his temperature.

Mikey kept his ears covered, his eyes closed tight, his legs drawn tightly up to his chest, rocking back and forth as he sobbed quietly.

And I think we all knew then. We knew Mikey was beyond scared at this point, and this was his only way to defend himself. His last attempt to protect himself.

Apologize, curl up tight and hope that it all ends fast.

Donny attempted for the third time to get to him so that he could check his fever, but before he could, Mikey lashed out, swinging at Donny and knocking the syringe out of his hand.

"No! Donny, NO!"

At that point, with no other choice, me and Raph ran toward him, pressing him down so that he wouldn't agitate his wounds. Raph pinned his arms above his head, and I carefully pinned his legs. He was still thrashing.

"I'm sorry! I'm sorry, please. Leo, stop...please stop. It hurts..." he begged.

I felt a sting in my heart the minute he said that. He was begging me to stop his pain...and I didn't. All this time, I didn't!

Donny got up, dusting himself off and assuring us he was okay. Then he walked over to the cabinet where he kept the medication. Me and Raph kept our focus on Mikey, trying to get him to relax. We had to.

"Mikey! Mikey, it's okay. I won't hurt ya." Raph said. I could hear the emotion in his voice, but said nothing on it.

I think Mikey was trying his best not to believe us. Again, I don't blame him.

"Raph, I'm so sorry...please, don't hurt me." he whispered as he began to calm down. His eyes opened, and I looked away.

I couldn't look at those orbs and ask him to forgive me. I put him through enough as it is. He's been through enough. I couldn't do it.

"I'm sorry...I didn't mean it."

That is the last thing he ought to be saying.

"Mikey, it's alright." Raph said.

He shook his head, trying not to listen. Donny stood at Raph's side, holding a syringe. I nodded to him.

Mikey looked over at Donny, then the syringe, and back again. At that point, after he saw that syringe and knew what was coming, he fell quiet. Just like that.

Me and Raph felt it was okay to let him go and allowed Donny room to complete his task. I looked at the syringe. Donny caught me staring.

"Morphine. He needs to rest." he explained as he carefully injected a dose in his arm. I just nodded, my eyes on Mikey.

As I watched him falling back into the darkness, Mikey finally looked at each of us with a soft, lingering fear.

I could not take it. I could not take looking at him, looking in his eyes and telling him that it was alright when I knew it wasn't.

Nothing's going to take this memory away from him, take the scars we all inflicted on him away. We can never take away his fear, his sadness. We can't.

He didn't ask for this. He never did. And yet..yet we still can't give him any peace. Why? Why do we still hurt him, still make him suffer?

"I'm so sorry, everyone...I'm sorry." His voice was barely above a whisper as he finally went into his drugged-induced slumber, tears still trailing his cheeks.

We all looked at each other, then back at Mikey. It was a pitiful sight. Years later, and everything we did affected him this badly, this much.

Donny went over to Mikey, checking his fever, and told me to get a bowl of water and a rag. He then directed Raph to help him change some of Mikey's bandages.

I retrived the requested items and came back, where I watched my two little brother tend to my youngest one. After some time, when Donny gave us the okay, he stepped out of the room, taking some notes with him. I stood next to Raph, the both of us watching over our little brother.

"Leo, you were right. Still thinks we're hurting him." Raph said quietly.

I nodded, not taking my eyes off his sleeping form. "Yeah."

I saw the anguish leave his face as the morphine pulled him deeper into sleep. That seemed to be the only way he could escape the hellhole we put him in...sleep and never want to wake up.

I looked at Raph, and he looked back. He understood why Mikey did what he did. He was guarding himself, prepping for any onslaught we might want to throw at him. He was only doing what became something of a normal routine for him.

But it's not something we wanted to accept as his older brothers.

"Leo, I'm gonna stay with Mikey." I nodded.

"Call if you need anything."

I left and headed for the kitchen, finally aware that I was hungry and wanted something to eat.

As I was making me some tea, Donny came into the kitchen and sat down at the table. I put some water on to boil, and joined him.

"Leo, now what? What are we supposed to do?"

I tilted my head in thought. "I guess...I guess we start trying to get his trust back."

"Is it a good idea to leave Raph in there with him? I don't mean it in a bad way, but-"

"Don't worry. I know what you mean. And to answer your question, I think so. He's not going to hear any other option." I said, getting up to make my tea.

"But...we better keep an eye on him. You saw what happened earlier. He almost jumped out of his shell when he saw him. It's a miracle he didn't try to kill us or something."


He looked at me as I returned with two cups of tea, offering him one. "Yeah?"

"Did you hear what Mikey said?"

He took a sip of his tea and shook his head yes, his eyes on his notes before looking up at me.

"All he did was apologize. That...and beg you to help him. And for me to get away. And for Raph to stop." Donny looked like he wanted to scrub his mouth with alcohol at what he just said; it disgusted him that much.

I sighed. "Donny, we have a lot to making up to do. But where do we start? What do we do?"

Donny took my hand in his. "We will figure it out, Leo. For now...let's just stay together. For our sake, and for Mikey's."

I nodded, and we both sat there drinking our tea and thinking for a long time.

We made him get so used to treating him like dirt, he hadn't gotten used to us acting like this. Like actual brothers. Like damn family!

All he sees with us is tormentors. Liars. Everything that's wrong with the world.

He still had his shield up, that thin barrier protecting what's left of his heart, keeping it away from us. I knew it was going to be hard to take it down, and he might break down completely after this, but we all have to try.

We have to bring that shield down...and put his heart back together again.

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