What was happening? Why was Leo here? Was I in hell or something? What was going on?
Why...why can't I just die? I had enough!
I couldn't move, I could barely breathe, my body hurt, my head hurt, I could barely talk, and everything was going all over the place.
It was weird, though. At the same time, I felt really warm and light. There wasn't pain, and I was pretty sure that this was limbo. I remember watching it once on TV.
Through that light, I heard something. A voice. And it kept calling my name.
I was trying to block it out at first, enjoying this sense of freedom I was feeling, letting it all overtake me.
But then I figured out who it was. Leo?
I heard Leo calling my name...I know I'm not crazy...
He was calling me, and trying to wake me. For what? I thought they wanted me out the picture.
I was doing this for you guys...I'm going away for good, just like you guys said to do. So why wake me? I'm doing what you guys asked...and what I felt I should do.
By the time I could finally look into my brother's light brown eyes, everything seemed to be spinning out of control. I felt so sick, and my voice was weak.
As painful as it all was, though, I was... I was actually happy. At least I could see him...and tell him that I loved him. That I loved them all.
I was at least allowed that much before I left.
I didn't see either Raphie or Donny, and figured they were safe and sound back home. Good. They don't have to be here.
So I told him.
"...I'm...sorry, Leo...love you..."
And I watched him trying to keep it together.
One thought crossed my hazy mind. Leo... and Raphie... they never cry.
I remember that was one of the many things I wrote about that in a journal that I kept. I never showed it to anyone, but I began keeping a journal, both before and after Master Splinter passed.
The first one was long before this all happened, when we were still together and stronger than ever. I had to have been nine, ten. I had never had an actual use for it at the time, just wrote things that went on in my head. I loved that one in particular because it was the last thing I ever got from our father before he passed.
The second one...it was after we lost our father and all this started. To be honest, I can't really tell you where I got it from, just that it became a really close friend I never thought I would have, and one I'm really thankful for.
I remember that they never cry. They always had to stay strong for us, so I never saw them cry. That was always me and Donnie.
They always protected me. Even as a little turtle tot, I always ran to either Raphie or Leo or Donny, and I'd just cling to them. I was such a baby, but I loved it. I loved all of it.
Even so, they never cared about that. They didn't care about all the tears I cried when I attempted to tell them what I had dreamed about, what I had saw. They just held me close, and I recalled the warmth I felt curling up under them.
Leo was the warmest one of all three of them. He always was. I remember he always let me curl under him the most. My head tucked securely under his. I was safe there.
I wrote about the feeling I let wash over me every time. Security. The feeling his chest rising against me as he slept, so content with everything, so...strong and sturdy,even after we lost our mentor, our father. Whenever I couldn't sleep, I would be listening to their heartbeats, be it Leo or Donny or Raph.
A steady, even tempo of hearts. Hearing them, each little beat loud to me in my ear. Keeping count of them until I couldn't stay awake anymore. Other times, I was listening to them talk about things I was too young and naive to understand, but smiling nonetheless. I liked hearing them talk, hearing Raph and Leo yelling about the weirdest things, and Donny using his huge vocabulary to confuse and enlighten us.
I missed that. Maybe because I'm the youngest, or maybe because I hate being alone. I think it was both. In those years, I didn't feel so scared with my brothers and my father around me.
But that was then, when we were all still looking for something. Still united.
I guess...I didn't want to let that go.
With that second journal, I wrote about the emotions I could never seem to express anymore around my brothers. It was hard, all of it, but that...not being able to mess and play and talk to my older brothers anymore...hurt the most.
I was always able to talk to them, tell about my feelings, even when I didn't understand why I felt the way I did. Leo was always giving me comfort and supportive advice, Raph always made me crack a smile with his headstrong point of view, and Donny cheered me up by using words he knew would go right over my head a week later.
Each and every time I wrote in my journal, I cried halfway through a entry, and by the time I was done, I was just...empty. I could never cry or scream or feel or do anything, just...just be.
The actual physical and verbal and mental abuse didn't break me-yet. It just made me want to die a bit more every day. I would always think of ways to kill myself, but I could never go through with it. At night...all I had were nightmares. Nothing but haunting dreams that made me question my very reason for living.
And every night, it was always the same answer...my brothers. I still love them. I can't hate them because I'm a failure.
And for the next few months, I just kept writing and crying until I left that day. It seemed that was the one thing that kept me mind from drifting too far away.
Back then, I...I don't know. I missed just having them close, missed having someone to tell me what was happening to me and everything around me.
After Master Splinter died, I think we all drifted away from each other. No, I'm positive of it. Nothing was the same between us. I didn't want to admit it, but we were all growing apart. It scared me, but I couldn't say anything. I was the nutball of the family, and I knew they's never take me seriously. No one ever has.
But they seemed to have gotten over it, put it all behind them and moved on. They grew stronger, and I thought I had, too.
That's not me. At all.
I was scared stiff when I found out what had happened, how Master Splinter had died, and I had so many nightmares about death and losing them and being alone, I lost count. Half my journal was full of those nightmares. And every time I'd wake up...I'd cry. I was so damn scared of everything, I just cried until I could go to sleep again. If I went to sleep at all.
But Leo and the others...they never knew. I couldn't tell them. They scared me so much, I couldn't talk to them anymore. I felt so weak and pathetic for letting it get to me, but I'm not as strong as them! I never was, and I knew they would hate me even more for being such a little piece of trash.
I thought I was as strong as them. I wanted to believe that. That I could grow up, and stop weighing them down.
I wanted to think I could push it all in that little part in the back of my head and leave it there until I grow old.
I'm older, so I thought I'd get over it. My nightmares, my fears, everything. But I got worse.
Raphie's strong, Donnie's smart, Leo's calm...and I don't fit in with any of that.
I'm a useless idiot. And idiot who clings onto the past and thinks it's going to return to those times, thinking it's all going to be alright!
I'm pathetic, aren't I, guys? Was I really this stupid and in the way? This...this...weak?
Well, no matter. I can't be anything now. I don't have to be.
It's fine if I die. I don't care.
They'd be perfect. Nothing could stop them then. The ultimate team...that's it.
And at least...it wouldn't hurt me. It'll all go away.
I faintly heard him. Leo was calling to me again. Trying to get me to stay awake. Leo...
Leo, I...I just wanna go to sleep...I can't take it anymore. I'm sorry I'm so weak. I'm sorry I'm so useless and worthless, and I made you and the others suffer from my mistakes.
I tried to fight, Leo. I really did, but...I don't want to. I just want it to end, Leo.
I clearly remember asking Leo if I screwed up. Maybe that's why he came. To make sure I get the hint..
As much pain and agony I was in, that thought comforted me. Maybe because I accepted it. It took a long time, but now I get it. I understand why you'd guys want me to go. Why no one would miss me then.
It was time for me to rid the world of one huge mistake.
Just before I blacked out, I heard Leo saying this: "It's okay, Mikey."
In a sense, Leo...it is. Make sure you thank Karai for this. She just helped us more than she'll ever know.
I'm sorry, guys. You know I'll always love you all.
But you'll be better off without me. I can't weigh you down, I can't mess you up.
I can acknowledge that now.