Together

Chapter 7

When I came back from my little wandering, I checked on Mikey, grabbing the other journal I left in there. I still had yet to finish reading his orange one.

This had to be the first time I ever Mikey so quiet and content sleeping on his own. As a child he had to cling onto one of us, and these past few months...I don't know if he ever slept or if he took sleeping pills to help him. But now...now he's peacefully asleep.

He was lying on his shell, which I knew was going to be killing him when he was awoke at last. His chest rose and fell evenly, his head cocked at an angle that really showed his innocent features. Sometime after we had gotten him back, I decided to remove his mask. It was covered in blood, and sitting next to my meditation candles in my room.

"What are you really dreaming about, Mikey?" I whispered, a small smile forming before I could stop it. Donny had to pump him full of sedatives, so that would explain why he wasn't having any nightmares.

I left the infirmary, still a little lost in my own world, when Raph stopped me.

Damn. Knew this was coming.

"Leo, what happened?"

I shrugged. "Needed some fresh air."

Raph arched his eye ridge and looked me dead in the eyes. He could tell when I wasn't telling the whole truth, and I can't lie to you-I'm horrible at keeping to myself, particularly when it comes to Raph.

"Leo, what happened? Was it..." he trailed off, nodding towards the infirmary.

I sighed. Figured now as good as time as ever to tell him.

I led Raph to my room, and he got very confused. "What the hell, Leo?" he asked me, stumped.

I gave him the orange journal, bookmarking the page I was reading before handing it off. He needed to know what I learned.

"Raph, you need to read this. And I mean, read it." I told him sternly. I know Raph hates anything that has to do with academics...good thing we leave that to Donny, or we'd be in trouble.

"Wait, what the shell is this?" he asked me, carefully eying the front of the cover. He sat down on my bed, and at that moment, Donny walked in. He must've thought we were about to go at it again.

"Leo? Raph? What's going on?" he asked uneasily.

"It's Mikey's journal. Just...just read it, okay? The both of you." I told them, too tired to argue. I headed back to the infirmary.

I sat down on the chair next to Mikey, holding the journal close to me. I didn't really want to read it right now. No...rather, I couldn't. The two journals held two different stories, and it really unnerved me just how bad it all got to be.

I had read a little more than half of his journal, and it was getting more and more hard for me not to cry every night. Most of his entries were about us, particularly me and Raph and how we treated him. Besides the entries I read, there were poems describing his nightmares, little thoughts about April and Casey and other entries.

To be honest, I don't know why I even ask why. There's no answer to that. There might never be one.

A few minutes later, I headed back for my room. Raph was still sitting on my bed, and he looked like the world went sideways. I sat down next to him, wondering where Donny went off to. Next to him was the journal. He hadn't even read a third of the journal before he stopped.

"Leo, Donny is in Mikey's room." That came before I had even asked.

"Oh, okay."

"Leo,we were this bad? We hurt him that bad, Leo?" he asked in disbelief.

"Raph, we were. We let this go on for so long...I was actually surprised that he hadn't killed himself yet. He certainly thought about it."

Raph shook his head, handing me Mikey's journal.

"Leo, he's going to be okay, right? He has to be!"

I shook my head. "Raph, Mikey really thinks we hold him responsible for what happened that day, what happened after that...everything. We lied to him, and now, he believes it more than anything. He wants to stop now, and I guess...death is the only way for him to do so."

Raph didn't understand. "Leo, he's our brother, dammit!"

"I know, but when was the last time we acted like that?" I said quietly. Raph sighed.

"I know, but...ah, FUCK!" He got up and started to pace about my room. It became something that he did regularly. Pace or go topside.

"Dammit, Leo! We really did it now. What the hell do we do?"

I looked at him, then the wall behind him. "We have to be there. Give him time, and see what he decides to tell us, and what he won't. After that...I don't really know."

We didn't say anything for a while. Raph got up, and I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was about to go topside.

"Raph."

He turned to look at me.

"We're going to get him back. We have to, so he can see the truth."

"Right."

I smirked. "And besides, I know as well as you do you're going to beat some poor hapless punk into a bloody pulp. Might as well, right?"

I hate it when he does go topside, but right now...he needs to. I hope crime decides to slow down tonight, or I will feel truly sad for those punks and random criminals. Well, not that sad.

I stood up, and just as I did, Raph gave me another rare hug. I could really get used to this.

"Thanks, Leo." he muttered in my ear. I smiled.

"No problem." I said, releasing him.

He gave me a playful punch in my arm. "Don't get too used to that, Fearless."

Raph...right now, that is the last thing I deserved to be called. I smiled and rolled my eyes nonetheless.

He smirked, then headed out of my room. A few seconds later, I heard the garage door opening as he went to get his bike, and took that as a cue to go find Donny. I left my room, leaving the journal there so I can get it later.

I felt a little better after talking to Raph. Still wish he wouldn't call me Fearless, but...at least something normal is coming back. It's small, but it's something.

Pushing that out of my mind for the moment, I had to talk to Donny more than anything. He's as sensitive as Mikey is emotional, so whatever Donny read would pretty much kill him.

'Raph said he was in Mikey's room? Now why would he be there?' I thought as I headed to see him.

Not like it's a problem, but none of us really had that kind of strength to just waltz in there and not see all that damage. Raph went in there once, and he bolted out of there so fast, I nearly fell on my shell when he ran past me.

After I went in and found his drawings and his journals, I spent almost all my time in the infirmary. Mainly because I wanted to be with Mikey.

I walked into the room, forgetting what it looked like after Raph got through with it, and saw that everything was still the way I had left it last. God, I really hate seeing that.

I quickly turned my attention to the curled up turtle on the bed, and as I neared him, I could see he was trembling slightly.

"Donny?"

He was tossing a bit and mumbling things I could not understand. For some reason, I felt he was dreaming. He had to have been. Must've been hard to read, those entries.

"Don? Donny, wake up. Wake up." I said softly, shaking his shoulder. He jerked up, covered in sweat.

"Donny, you okay?" I asked, concerned. In response, Donny's arms latched around my waist, his face in my plastron.

"Leo, it hurts...it hurts..." he kept whimpering. I rubbed his shell, and I wondered what he was talking about.

"Donny, what happened?"

"Leo, I read the journal. I didn't...I didn't mean that...I didn't..."

"Don, don't." I said. He let loose more sobs, growing more and more uncontrollable. Not again...Donny...

I forgot those two hung out more often than not. Even if Mikey was banned for a month from that lab, Donny and Mikey would be up at all hours of the night, talking and attempting to beat Mikey's video games. Donny was able to draw out feelings that me and Raph seem to force him to hide most of the time. Two of a kind, I say.

His head resting on my shoulder, I listened to him breathing, and I remembered how often I'd hold Mikey just like this.

When we were smaller, Mikey and those nightmares would cause him-and sometimes us- grief. Sometimes, if he really could not sleep, I would let him rest his head on my shoulder or allow him to curl up under me. He held on so tight...and he just cried.

It was sad because of how often he would shudder and choke up on his words. It would literally take him a hour just to tell me what had him so upset. And I told him that I wouldn't leave him alone. He hated to be left by himself, despite the fact we all shared a bed then.

I held him, and he just seemed so relieved. And I told him that I would stay with him as long as he wanted.

It was like that with all of them. Raph hated to act on his emotions, and Donny couldn't stand making us worry. But Mikey...even though he was so fragile, so damn fragile, despite what any of us said or thought...he was stronger than any of us can hope to be.

"Donny, I don't think we'll ever understand. This...this is something that none of us can ever hope to understand. All we do for now...is hope Mikey can forgive us for it all."

"Leo, I want him back. I...I want to apologize...have to..." he muttered. His arm snaked around my neck.

"I know. I do, too. And we will."

You know, up until this point, I never knew just how much Mikey affects us all in life. With all the things that happen all around us, it amazed me how he was the only one to make us look more toward the goodness of things than the darkest of things that we always tended to look at.

We forced our little innocence to grow up too fast. We abuse him, make him feel less than what he was...and finally pushed him to his limit.

But not this time. Not ever again.

A feeling of determination began to surge through my veins. I refused to lose this war. I refused to admit defeat when I had to tell him everything he never knew.

Donny had fallen asleep, still whimpering a bit, but okay. His vice-like grip about my waist pretty much made it clear that I wasn't moving tonight. No matter. I was getting tired, anyway.

Looking around my baby brother's room, I made a promise to myself.

No matter what, I would bring Mikey back. I had to get our innocence back.

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