I never thought much about how you would feel when you know you're about to die. Not until the night I left. It had seemed so...trivial then. So unimportant to me back then...
But now, with this warmth all around, I don't know what I should feel. I didn't want to believe it, but...it was real. No pain, no sadness...just light. Warm light.
I could no longer trouble them. It was still hard to accept, but it was okay.
I did it. Soon, it would all go away. That's all I wanted.
Somewhere in the big field of light I floated in, I heard...something like crying.
Yeah, it was definitely crying. But why? And who? It wasn't me.
Then I heard a faint whisper.
Was that...no, it can't be. Was that Leo?
He was trying to reach me here, too? For what?
He started talking to me, and I guess he thought I was brain-dead. I know he knew I could hear him. He told me that he would die if I did, and if I allowed him to, he would protect me in the next life. Or something like that.
I didn't say anything. I have no idea why I should. I know he's going to lie to me again. He's going to hurt me, or worse. So why is he telling me these lies? Wait, why are they still here? Are they watching me die, or what? Better still, why is he apologizing?
I was still trying to fathom why Leo was there in Karai's cell earlier, trying to wake me, talking to me. I was sure I was far away from them, and Karai was helping me to die at last, to let this pain go. So what was he doing there?
Despite it, I wanted to open my eyes and talk to him, to all of them. I wanted to tell them I loved them, no matter what they thought of me. I wanted to say that when he first contacted me. But I...I wasn't sure if I could face them. I was scared. Even after all these years, I was still scared of them. I was hurt, more than anything. I was hurt, I was tired of trying to figure things out, why they hated me so much. I was tired of everything!
But at the same time, I didn't know what to think, what to feel. Should I feel hatred toward them for what they've done? Or maybe myself for causing our father to die because I wasn't careful with the way I act?
Do I want to feel hurt? Do I want to hate? I didn't know. I was so confused.
It's like... I've never felt like this. I'm so empty inside, yet I want to feel something. I'm dying, aren't I? So shouldn't I feel afraid? My brothers aren't here, so shouldn't I be crying out for them or something like that?
Maybe it was because the...the abuse went on for so long, those emotions I once had to hold back couldn't run me anymore. I dealt with it. I took it all. I don't think I needed my brothers to see what I always knew, but never wanted to really embrace and take seriously.
All of it just felt like natural emotions, like happiness or anger. I cried enough, I think. About the only thing I wanted to feel now was peace.
I remembered my journals. Luckily for me, besides my MP3 player, those were the only other things that survived Raph's anger onslaught. I kinda hoped they found them, because I can't talk to them. Not anymore, I can't. I am so afraid. Afraid of what they'll do.
Listening to the soft crying I was hearing through the subconsciousness, I did realize I had to tell them something else.
They didn't have to cry. Not over me. I didn't want them to. They needed to know that.
I forced myself to open my eyes. Almost immediately, I felt dizzy, and my head was pounding. I also felt really drowsy, and I think Donny was pumping me full of meds again. But I can't go yet.
Not until I told them what I wanted to say.
Through the intense light, I made out my brother's form, sitting there, lost in his own world. I never saw Leo so...out of it like that. I wondered if he was trying to figure out how they wanted to get rid of my body.
That's when I felt pain all over me. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, though. But man, I was so sleepy now. I heard the beeping of the many monitors I knew Donny had hooked me up to, and I felt that mask thingy over my beak. It must be bad. I wasn't hooked up to this thing since I was little.
"L-L-Leo...Leo..." I moaned weakly. He didn't answer.
"Leo." I said, a little firmer. That time, he heard me.
When he looked at me, I saw I was right. He had been crying. Wait, so how long had I been out?
I noted he was holding something in his hand. It looked like he found them. My journals. So he found them...just like I thought he would.
"Mikey, are you alright?" I heard Leo ask me.
I couldn't move, like, at all. My body felt even weaker than when I was captured by Karai. It was painful to even blink, and I wanted some pain medication so much right then.
But it was Leo that really caused my heart to break. I hated seeing him cry for me. I'm the baby of the family; I always cry for them. At the same time, I was very confused about that. Why was he? I was going soon, so why is he crying?
"Mikey! Oh god, Mikey, I..."
I shook my head a bit, but that hurt like shell! My vision was starting to fog over, but I refused to go back to sleep. I...I have to tell them...
I remember Leo was holding my hand. It was a soft touch, and I knew I'd miss him always. I love all of them, but Leo...he was always the gentlest of them, even after what he did. I smiled a little, having just enough strength to grasp it.
I needed to hold onto something familiar...especially since I'll never see them again.
But it's for them. I don't care. I can't feel hurt anymore.
"Leo...don't...don't cry...p-please..." I pleaded, my voice as tired as I was.
Leo was holding my hand as tight as he could. I looked at him, and I hated seeing that look in his eyes.
I've known Leo to shoulder our troubles on his own. He had so much guilt just...just there. I don't like when he feels like that. Leo, you don't know it...but I feel your pain, too. Me and Raph and Donny, we all suffer with you! We're brothers, so we feel everything you do, Leo.
Leo was still crying, and I smiled.
Even if I had no energy left, I still had a smile for them. It's just how I am.
I couldn't help but think, 'Oh, Leo... why are you crying?'
You should be smiling, Leo...I'm leaving...
"I-is everyone...alright?" I asked sleepily.
Then I can go at last. I was satisfied.
I then asked, "Leo...w-why are...you crying?"
"Mikey, I did this...I let you get so hurt. I didn't...I didn't protect you, Mikey." He sounded so far away, like an echo or something. I still heard him, and that's when I got really, really confused.
"B-But I...I thought...you wanted me...to die..." I said slowly, trying to keep that drowsy feeling at bay.
Leo shook his head again. "Mikey, I don't! I never have, Mikey! None of us do!"
That didn't make sense to me. I knew he had to be lying, trying to trick me in order to lower my guard. They've attacked me before, so why stop?
I think either Leo saw what I was trying to get at, or I made some kind of face at that statement because he starting talking again.
"Mikey, I know we hurt you. I mean, really hurt you. But...but you're still our brother, and we don't like seeing you like this."
I don't know, Leo. I don't know if I can trust that. I want to, but...you guys...
I blinked back tears, trying my best not to cry. I wanted to stay strong, but...it hurt really bad. I felt the hot salty liquid course down my cheeks, and I felt a gentle touch from my brother's hands as he wiped my tears away, being careful of my breathing mask.
"Leo...Leo, I-I'm sorry. I...I made you guys...hate me..." I managed to get out. My voice sounded scratchy, my throat dry. I swallowed thickly, and focused on him again.
I wanted him to know. He needed to hear it from me. So I can go to sleep without it weighting on my chest, on my mind, in my heart. The rest, he has in his hands. They can read it.
"Stop it, Mikey! You didn't do this, you hear me! You. Didn't. Do. This."
I shook my head again, and that was beyond the word painful. I bit down a scream and kept looking at Leo.
Leo, you don't have to lie. It's not gonna hurt me now, so just tell me the truth...I deserve at least that much.
"No, Leo. I...I'm an idiot. But...if I go away...if I die...you guys...will be the perfect team...and I can't hurt anymore..." I whispered.
"Mikey, stop that! You're not leaving us!" Leo cried out.
"L-Leo...stop...stop lying to me...please..." I weakly pleaded, closing my eyes for a minute before looking at him again.
I watched his expression change for a brief moment.
"Mikey, I...I'm not...I can't lose you...I can't..." he was saying as he shook his head. I just looked at him.
I don't care anymore, Leo. I know the actual story. You don't have to lie.
"L-Leo...it's alright. I'll be okay...and so will you guys..." I said, my energy spent. I felt my lungs burning a little from all the talking I forced myself to do, but it would all be worth it very, very soon.
Leo didn't say anything for a moment. Then, he whispered something I swore he would never remember.
"Mikey...We promised. We promised."
Our promise...Leo still remembered that?
I wondered why. I mean, I still remembered it. But after the first time Raph beat me as bad as he did, and Leo and Donny ignored me, it finally hit me...they lied. They broke it.
It hurt like hell the first time I convinced myself of that. I thought I was being overdramatic. And one day, I think I just woke up and told myself, 'Mikey, they lied to you. They hate you because you caused your father to die, so why should they protect you?'
Over time, as it all went downhill from there, I found that I couldn't get mad at that anymore. I was a child, but I never forgot that pain from them lying to me like they did. At the end of it, it just rolled off me, like everything else that happened.
"...it's over..." I breathed. I looked up at the ceiling. My eyesight was getting really fuzzy now.
I felt Leo's touch again. He was still wiping my tears away, and he was saying something, but all I really caught was 'baby brother'.
The baby. You know, I used to love being the baby in the family. I was always shielded by my brothers, I got away with many things, and I had someone to cling to at night when I got scared.
But not now. I'm still a baby brother, that will never change. At the same time, I made my own choice, Leo. Maybe you don't like it, but...it's for the best, and you know it.
"I made...you guys...hate me. I..I'll make it...make it right, okay?" I muttered, beginning to lose touch with everything around me.
To be honest, I was just...I think I was drained. Drained of any emotion that I though I had left inside. I knew I reached my limit, and I was glad about that. While I still felt oddly empty, I couldn't fight this anymore. Emotionally, Physically, Mentally, everything was...I was at ease now. I felt like I could go knowing that I have no regrets about what happened. Which was true. I didn't have any.
This whole ordeal made me see just how strong I was. I could've killed myself years ago, and saved my body and my heart all this excess agony. I could've done the cowardly thing and left it at that.
But it was because I love my brothers too much that I kept going. I wasn't sure why they hate me, beside the fact that I caused our father to die. I did something else, or maybe it was just me they hated. Was that it? I might never know. I don't mind.
Now, it's just...I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't fight now. I had no energy left to scream, to cry, to do anything. I probably didn't want to.
Karai, you have no idea of what you've just done. I should thank you...but I'll just see you in the next life. Wherever you end up.
Leo's voice brought me back. I was looking at him through an ever-growing foggy view. He was still saying something, probably trying to talk me out of this. I could barely hear him.
No, Leo. I'm going to finish this.
Besides, he didn't deserve this. They didn't deserve this.
They didn't deserve having to deal with me or my screw-ups in life.
I messed up. I took the most important person in our lives because I was such a damn idiot. Now I will pay for it.
Everything they ever did to me...I know now...I deserved it. I did. And I found myself wishing they hadn't found me. I wished they had left me to rot in that cell, even though that can never bring back Master Splinter. They should've kept me at the house, should've used me to whatever suits them...but Death is best.
Looking at Leo, I gave him one more smile. God, I'm tired. I'm so tired, but I'm happy. I told him everything. It's all going to be okay now.
"Leo...I love you." I breathed. I finally surrendered to the overwhelming pain.
I'm ready, Leo. It's okay, Big Bro. I accepted it. It's alright. I'll do you guys a favor...and finally go away.
I let my body shut down, and my mind floated away...back to that light...away from that pain, that guilt, that sadness.
They can finally live and do what they knew they can do, and I can't slow them down...can I?
I can't bring them harm. I can't cause any more of my family to die.