Together

Chapter 2

Oh god...

Oh good god, what have I done to him...?

"Mikey? MIKEY!"

He was just...there. Laying perfectly still. Not one sound escaped him, which was so unlike my goofball of a brother.

Oh god...Mikey...

It had to have been three years since we lost Master Splinter. And I was sure as shell that we were going to lose our youngest brother, too.

And all because of that small error... all because of something he never did.

The loss wasn't bad. Well, it was, but...it wasn't him. He didn't do it.

We lost, but it had been my fault in particular. I hadn't been smart enough to predict the massive amount of Foot that was coming at us. It had seemed so easy at first, none of us had broke a sweat.

Then I actually allowed ourselves to be put in danger by continuing the fight. Mikey knew, though.

He knew there was no way we could expect to win this match and come home in one piece.

But we still fought. Of course, we got knocked around some, but it didn't seem like anyone was seriously hurt. So we kept going.

I had to make sure they were okay. They looked fine, especially Raph.

But Mikey knew.

He knew we had to run. He knew we had to run long ago.

Instead, he stayed. He stayed until my half-awake mind finally caught on to the situation.

So why were we mad at him? He didn't do anything wrong.

What the living hell was wrong with us? We treated Mikey like dirt, and over one loss? Shell, he was the one who saved us from getting our shells handed to us, or worse!

It was never his fault...but we told him all that, all those hateful things...we actually physically attacked him, emotionally destroyed him...we did this. But why?

And then, we ignored him. Just acted like he was never born...like he never existed.

But he didn't do this. No, he...he wasn't a liability!

Mikey was always a child at heart. He never liked to be so serious, unlike the rest of us. He had an innocence about him, and that was something we all wanted to protect most.

Granted, he wasn't as smart as Donny, or as strong as Raph, or level-headed as I was. But besides his outragous speed, he was just...he would somehow have this sixth sense when it came to other people's feelings.

If any one of us was ever feeling upset or just angry, he was always there to listen. And while he might not have understood everything we said, the words he spoke somehow made the most sense.

It's strange how we pushed away the person who looked up to us, saw something in each of us that went past brotherly affection.

Like Raph. He saw Raph as the hero in his comic books I tried to get him to lay off (which by the way, was impossible). I know he never saw anything less than flaming passion and fierce determination. And Mikey never knew it, but he often made me stop and think more about my immediate. And I have to admit, I saw that same passion and determination that Mikey saw.

Then came me. I never knew that Mikey looked to me as more of a big brother than a leader. Whenever I started drilling all of them harder at practice, or began badgering Raph every other night he went topside for hours on end, Mikey saw it as brotherly concern, not a stick in the mud as Raph called me. Even when I got on his case about his short attention span and how one day, he may get himself hurt or worse, he would nod, giggling and playful. But he understood why I did that, why I always threatened that.

With me, he saw love and concern for the little things, paranoia for their safety and just someone to talk to. It took a long time for me to realize that. Once, I think he called me 'Mommy Leo.' We were younger, though, and I never thought very much about the meaning behind that. Not until now.

He saw me as the protector from his nightmares, something he had plenty of as a turtle tot.

I was his protector, and Raph...I think he saw Raph as the defender. The fighter.

And finally, there was Donny.

With Mikey and Donny, their connection was different. Even though he loved me and Raph to death, he and Donny were literally a minute apart, and hung out more than often, despite the fact Mikey constantly blew something up in Donny's lab. But the main reason they got so close was because of me and Raph. What exactly did me and Raph do, however, was something neither one ever told us.

And that's the thing with Mikey and Donny. They're like me and Raph, able to look and communicate with each other without saying a word. But they eep so much to themselves, especially Mikey. Sometimes, I think those nightmares was more of a blackmail thing. It forced him to keep quiet so that we could never fully understand what ran through his head. But for some reason, Donny knew all that, and was able to get it out of him. He held him and always allowed Mikey to cry and tell him little details, little facts that he didn't want me or Raph to know.

It hurt a bit, but I knew Mikey would talk to Donny because Donny was so calm and level with the world.

Even if he annoyed the living shell out of us, which again, was most of the time, none of us could never stay mad at Mikey for longer than five minutes. Believe me, Donny tried. And me. And Master Splinter, and April and Casey. And especially Raph. It never worked.

Until now. Three months...we were angry at him for that long, and I can't figure out why!

If it wasn't one thing with Mikey, it was another. Half the time, we all looked around and wonder how we haven't lost our lair yet.

But the main trait about Mike, the main thing that made him unforgettable... was how he made us laugh and smile. Always saw the brighter side of things when it seemed to be the darkest of times. Somehow saw things we never saw or wanted to see.

Most importantly...he gave us the simplest truth when we knew we needed to hear it the most.

After he left, we hadn't paid much attention. We hadn't cared. We just went about our business.

Morbidly enough, it was so quiet, I think we actually preferred it.

I thought it better that my youngest brother not live here anymore. It was the day Raph and Don got angry at him because Raph had given him an order to follow, and he messed up or something. I wasn't there, but at the time, I was just as pissed. I knew he'd get one of us seriously hurt, or worse! Raph said he had 'taught him a lesson' and sent him to his room. I went along with it, thinking he deserved it.

As quiet as he was that night, I don't reall if I even heard him leave. Or if I had bothered to make sure he was,at the least, alright.

Reguardless, we never went into his room. Never touched his things after Raph destroyed nearly all of it, or bothered to replace it.

Training actually went well, and was more productive, Donny was finishing his experiments and projects on time without a random issue or detonation problem to deal with, and Raph seemed more relaxed than ever. He rode his bike every night,and would come back grinning like he hit the jackpot. And I was able to meditate in peace and quiet, something I could never do with Mikey around.

We just moved on as if he never existed. And I can't bear to think what Mikey went through the whole time.

What kind of older brother thinks and even worse, does that sort of stuff?

It was about a month later after that incident, I believe, when Donny tried to call his phone. He was rambling about Mikey's GPS beeping somewhere out of zone or something along those lines, and it was driving him crazy. I still hadn't acknowledged that he had been gone for that long.

So I had asked him why didn't he just call him down here to straighten it out, but he said that he wasn't really in the mood to hear Mikey's excuses. I agreed to that statement. Mikey always had some excuses ready and waiting for him everytime he did something.

Raph then came downstairs, announcing that Mikey wasn't in his room. I shrugged a bit. I mean, everyone has to go topside sometimes, right?

So Donny tried to call his cell, thinking he had wandered too far from our boundaries. The first two times, he never got anything, so he went to his computer to see if he could trace Mikey's signal that way.

At the time, when we had actually stopped to care that the lair was short one brother, we just though he left it in his room. We all knew Mikey was forgetting that thing, and Raph said that it probably needs to be charged. Donny said he would try and trace it anyway, just to be sure.

Me and Raph shrugged it off, thinking he just went topside or to Casey's house...although I told myself I doubt he'd be there. Casey hated him even more than Raph did, so why would he go there?

But Donny checked it anyway, and he was shaking when he turned to face us.

He told us that the signal was coming from The Shredder's lair. It was a faint one, but he wasn't crazy. It was there. Although he couldn't pinpoint it exactly, he said that it was in that vicinity, and instantly, I snapped out of whatever had me possessed for all this time. I looked back at my younger brothers, and they saw the look that told them everything they needed to know.

And that's when I knew...we had done it. We pushed Mikey away...we harmed him in ways that a brother should never harm a brother...and he's in enemy's hands. Karai's hands.

We wanted to leave right , Raph wanted to rip off heads before we even left the lair. But without knowing exactly where he was or if he had the cell, or if he was even alive, we had no clue at what to do, and that pissed Raph off even more. He wanted to beat Karai senseless for what she did, but I told him to stop and think.

"What for? That bitch has him, Leo! That's all I need to fuckin' know!" he had screamed.

But Donny knew what I meant. He was still sitting at his computer, just in shock. Raph was still fuming, trashing things and punching the wall. I didn't stop him.

I looked around at them, at our home, and I saw that we had pushed Mikey so far away for such a long time, we hadn't even cared if he was alive, hurt or what. We told him to go and die, that he should never have been born into this family...that he should vanish.

It took another week before we finally worked up the courage, the strength...everything to go out and find him. Surprisingly, it was easy to find that place, and even easier for Donny to hack into.

We began searching almost instantly, splitting up inside the monstrous lair to find our brother. Earlier, Donny had told us that Mikey's signal was so weak, there was no way we would be able to track him following it. So we broke up, and I was left in charge to the lowest level...the cells where Karai most likely kept anyone she felt crossed her path.

As I searched for him, the smell kept knocking me back on my feet, making me stop at times to gather myself. I called for Mikey, hoping he was still alive, but at the same time, not wanting him to suffer like he probably was.

I shone my flashlight toward the far end of the corridor, and it was then that I saw my first traces of blood. You have no idea how frightened I was at that point. I didn't know if it was Mikey, if he was alive now or if he was really...dead.

Not wanting to prolong the suspense any longer, I broke down the rusty door, and tentatively stepped in, one of my katana swords in my grasp.

The minute I turned my flashlight down and saw him, I screamed. I screamed like I never had before.

I mean, I knew how much we had hurt him.

Karai's torture was simply the tip of the iceburg.

He had all sorts of needle marks, harsh and swollen, up and down his arms. Already, I felt like ripping Karai limb from limb.

Mikey hated needles like the plague. I remember he and Don got into an argument about them last year, and he had run out. At the time, just like all those other times, we thought he was being a drama queen, but he really had a fear of those things.

As I continued to run the flashlight down his battered frame, I saw both his wrists were broken, his shell was slightly cracked, and his plastron the same. Whiplash marks covered his legs heavily, and covered his arms where the needle marks didn't.

What really scared me, though, was his throat. It was cut, but not so deep that it may have severed his windpipe. Blood covered him like a blanket, and his breathing was so faint and shallow, I nearly panicked. I thought he was dead.

I dropped to my knees next to him, my sword clattering to the ground along with me, and checked his pulse. Extremely weak, but there.

His gear was missing, but I knew he never had them to begin with. His knee pads were barely on, and his elbow pads were completely shredded. I looked up at the far end of the wall, something catching my eye. Shining my light, I saw his ShellCell. It was destroyed, except for the small GPS piece that fell out his phone. But it was barely in a whole piece.

I was looking at his face, tilting it a little to the right as gently as I could. And on his cheek was something that sickened me to my very soul.

She'd carved her filthy symbol of her father on his face.

I wanted to start killing at that point. I needed to kill someone, to do something, but what? And to whom? I'm responsible for this! As much as I hate saying this, I had helped my sworn enemy break and nearly kill my brother!

I'm supposed to protect him...and this is what I do?

"Mikey? Mikey, wake up...come on, little bro..." I whispered, tying to keep my emotions in check. He didn't respond.

I shook him, just a little, and a meek whimper escaped him.

At least he was still alive.

"That's it, Mikey. Come on." I coached, gathering him in my arms as much as I could.

He grimaced, then let out a soft little cry. So soft...so unlike him. He was in pain, I know he is. Mikey...

"...c-coming..." he breathed quietly. I blinked in utter confusion. What was he talking about?

"Mikey? Can you hear me?"

"...i-it's...over...th-they...be okay..." he breathed again, even quieter than before.

"Mikey, wake up!"

He moaned in more pain, then he let out a cough, blood flying out of his mouth, some splattering on my chest. I paid it no mind. His eyes fluttered open.

The first thing I saw...was sadness. Just endless sadness and pain.

Mikey must've endured so much, and he didn't look like he want to try and fight it anymore. His sapphire orbs were slightly fogged over and unfocused. I hated seeing that in my youngest brother.

"Mikey, can you hear me?" I asked.

"Le...Leo...d-did I...die?" he asked, his voice weak and faint.

"No. I've got you, Mikey. Hang on!" I said, carefully cradling him to me.

He smiled, a sad one, and then blinked slowly, trying to clear his sight. It looked like he was trying to get something out,but blood kept coming out his mouth, and he seemed to be choking off it. I sat him up, trying to helpl him breathe, and he slumped against me, too weak to keep himself upright.

Oh lord, what the shell had he gone through?

"I...I'm...sorry, Leo...love you..." he finally whispered. By now, he was so weak, his words were starting to slur. That wound on his throat wasn't making things any better.

"Mikey, stay awake for me!"

He blinked again, his head resting heavily on my plastron. He lifted it just enough to see my face, and...oh, god. His expression, it was...it was so tired and angry and hurt and...I understood it all.

"...did I...s-screw up...again?" he asked, his voice tiny, almost fearful. I could see he was about to faint.

I shook my head, my throat feeling so closed up, my mind so cloudy, I couldn't think straight. I couldn't stand watching Mikey like this.

He was afraid. Afraid of us. My littlest brother was truly frightened of me.

'Mikey...fight this. You're not alone. Not anymore.' I remember thinking to myself.

When I could finally get back to the present, I quickly whipped out my cell and sent Donny and Raph my location before focusing back on my brother.

I saw he was still awake, but he wasn't focusing on anything. He grew even weaker than before, and he let out a soft sigh before relaxing against my hold.

My heart broke, and I wanted to kill myself for what I did to him. We did this...there's no other truth. Karai only aided us without even knowing it. We were the true villains here.

I failed to protect my youngest. He shouldn't be lying here...no, he shouldn't be here at all.

'Father...I failed you.I failed everyone. I'm sorry.'

"Leo?" he called quietly, his voice laced with evident confusion. I wasn't even sure if he knew I was holding him anymore.

"Yeah? Mikey, I'm here." I softly assured him.

Mikey's head felt so heavy against my chest. He started to shake, just a slight bit. I calmed him as much as I could.

"...I...screw-up..." he muttered tiredly, parts of his sentence incoherent. His eyes were falling closed, but he was fighting it.

I shook my head again, allowing him to curl into my chest as much as he was allowed.

A screw-up...was that what he believed he was?

No. That's what we made him believe.

"It's okay, Mikey." I told him, trying to reassure myself as much as I was him.

"Leo, I...I'm...so tired...sleep..." he whispered. His voice...it was so soft, I couldn't stand it. It's not Mikey! I'm used to him jumping around, yelling, laughing...just being free. Not this. Never this.

Mikey's eyes fell closed again, and I didn't want to wake him. He needed some kind of peace. I owe him that.

His breathing actually evened out a little, and I let out a sigh of relief. He was going to make it. He had to.

"I'm so sorry, Mikey...I'm sorry."

I held him tight to my chest, still waiting for my other two brothers, hoping they would hurry.

I felt my face grow really damp, my chest tightening so much I couldn't breathe. I closed my eyes tight, but the tears still seeped out anyway.

"Mikey, just hang on. I'm getting you out. I promise."

Promises...how many have we broken, Mikey?

Just how many of them have we broken?

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