The Silent Partner

Defying All Odds

Soft, brown eyes watched silently as Rockwell carefully wrapped a limp, emerald-green hand. Somehow, in everything that had happened, probably somewhere between getting tossed in the torrent and washed up near the Mighty Mutanimals' lair, Raphael had broken his hand. Luckily the break was relatively clean and no real damage had been caused.

The olive green turtle scoffed dryly as he made a rather bland observation. "At least we don't have to worry about the twenty-four hour survival period."

There was always concern when it came to near drowning, one of the largest being the twenty-four hour survival period. Even after the initial drowning and survival, there were all kinds of factors to be taken into consideration and it was generally accepted that after the individual had gotten past the twenty-four hour survival period, the danger was not as immediate. Raphael had somehow managed to survive over five days in the sewers.

"Indeed. You are very fortunate. I don't imagine many would have been able to survive a situation like that one. The odds—"

Donatello couldn't help but smile down at his injured sibling as he cut Rockwell off, "Raphael has defied more odds than anyone else I know."

"Perhaps you simply need to factor that into you calculations."

The purple-masked turtle sighed. "I've tried…but I just can't get it."

Rockwell smiled and put a hairy hand on Donatello's shoulder. "Perhaps there are some things better left unexplained. We should simply be grateful he survived in the sewers as long as he did."

A pained frown crossed the brainiac's face as he glanced at his brother's beaten, unconscious state. "This is going to take a long time. Rockwell…" Don's voice broke and he stammered a little. "D-do you think he'll make it?"

The mutated monkey's hand squeezed the turtle's shoulder tightly and reassuringly. "He already has. We just have to help him get the rest of the way." Rockwell stated with absolute conviction.

Don's brown eyes widened, then narrowed with determination. He smiled and nodded. "You're right." He paused as he turned a scrutinizing gaze to the form on the table, assessing the injured turtle's current state. "Okay. You've got him on a respirator. How's his heart-rate?" He asked, turning to the heart monitor.

Rockwell went to the turtle's side. "It's evened out. When Leatherhead first brought him in it was weak and erratic."

"And it's improved?"

The monkey rolled his eyes a little at the repeated question, but humored the turtle and nodded. Then his eyes widened as some other important information came to mind. "Oh! And there doesn't appear to be any spinal damage. No neck or back injuries."

Don nodded, absorbing all of the information around him like a sponge. "Okay, good. So, minimal lung damage, no neck or spinal injuries…that's a good start." Donnie's lip pushed out worriedly. "What about brain damage?"

Rockwell's eyes narrowed and he frowned gravely. "He definitely has a concussion. He's not in a comatose state, since he is breathing on his own, to an extent, but he's definitely in a deep state of unconsciousness. Who knows how long it will take before he snaps out of it."

"Leo experienced something similar after we were driven out of New York by the Krang. He was out for three months."

"Hmm…" Rockwell lowered his gaze. "There is not much that can be done about that."

"Agreed. Let's move on. What about his burns?"

"We must clean and wrap them as best we can. All that time in the sewers presents a high chance of severe infection. I tried to start cleaning them myself, but it is difficult to do without assistance."

Donatello nodded. "I have some antibiotic cream we can apply to the burns that will help a little, but we could get this done a lot faster if we had an extra pair of hands." He glanced over at Rockwell as though searching for approval.

Dr. Rockwell hesitated a little bit before answering. "This may be my lab, but he is your sibling."

Don nodded again. "I'm gonna go get Master Splinter."

The monkey genius turned away, gathering supplies as he spoke. "I will get what we need. While you are there, you might want to give them a status report."

Donnie frowned and shook his head. "I don't want to make them panic. They're worried enough as it is."

"But we have discovered many good things as well. The damage is certainly not as grave or as extensive as it could be."

"Okay. I'll try." Suddenly struck with nervousness, the purple-masked turtle slowly wandered to the door.

As he slowly made his way down the hall toward the main room his stomach clenched. He just knew what was going to happen. The minute he walked into the room they would all look up at him, expecting him to say that everything was going to be okay. But he couldn't exactly do that this time…

Because this time the only way to know if everything would be okay was to wait. It was an echo of when Leo was injured by Shredder, and Donatello felt utterly helpless. The only thing that was keeping him from freaking out was that he was just going to get Master Splinter.

He heard laughter echoing down the hall and he raised an eye-ridge.

What in the world?

He peered into the big room and blinked. Michelangelo and Leonardo were bickering. About what, goodness only knows.

Mona Lisa was sitting next to Slash, the two of them watching the oldest and youngest of the turtle siblings poking fun at each other. Pigeon Pete seemed to be disinterested, pecking at the ground, probably for breadcrumbs. Leatherhead was watching Mona Lisa and Slash with a thoughtful frown on his face.

Donatello pulled back, pressing himself against the wall and taking a deep breath before stepping out into the room with a calm face. He was surprised when they didn't react. Shifting nervously from foot to foot, Donnie cleared his throat.

Every head in the room turned to him. Heat rose in Donnie's chest and he suddenly choked on air.

Leonardo shot forward and began whacking his younger sibling on the back.

Once Don's coughs had died down and he was breathing normally again, Leo was the first to ask the question that was on all their minds. "Donnie! How's Raph?"

"Not good." The brainiac croaked.

Everyone tensed and stared worriedly at the purple-masked turtle, begging for elaboration.

Donnie sighed. He pushed Leo gently off to one side so that he could see their father, who was now standing at the back of the room. "Master Splinter, Rockwell and I need your help."

Master Splinter nodded and joined his second son.

Leo's hand snagged Don's shoulder just as the brainiac was about to turn away. "Donnie please…What is his status?"

Don's shoulders drooped and he slowly turned to make eye contact with his older sibling. "Like I said before: not good. He has a bad concussion, a really bad concussion. Extensive burns covering his arms and legs, and some minor scorching on his shell. Minor bruises and cuts, a broken hand…" Donnie trailed off as he saw the horrified looks on all of their faces. "Uh…luckily there doesn't appear to be any brain damage. And his lungs are functioning, which is amazing considering he almost drowned and has been laying in the sewer for five days."

"How long before he's up and kicking?" Leo asked, earning him an admonishing glare from Donatello.

"As long as it takes. This is serious, Leo! We're lucky Raphael is alive!" Don poked Leo in the chest roughly and the eldest backed off. His shoulders drooped yet again and he whispered quietly, "Fortunately he's not completely dependent on the respirator, he is breathing on his own, but he's in a deep state of unconsciousness, the same way you were after your fight with Shredder's henchmen."

Leo went three shades paler. "Raphael…you mean there's no way of knowing when he'll wake up?"

Donatello suddenly found the floor a very interesting place as he murmured. "That's exactly what I mean, Leonardo."

Suddenly a light-green figure pushed her way between the blue and purple-masked turtles. Don slowly looked up to meet her hard, determined, brown gaze. 'I want to see him.' She gestured sternly.

Don shook his head. "No. Dr. Rockwell and I need Master Splinter to help us wrap and clean all of Raph's wounds. Along with some other things. After that…we'll see."

Mona's eyes filled with tears and her confident posture melted into one of fear and pain. She put her hand on Don's shoulder. "D-D-Donnie…"

An olive-green hand came to rest on Mona Lisa's shoulder. The plea in her voice was obvious enough. He tilted her face up gently to make eye contact. "Mona Lisa, I'll take care of him. I promise."

She wrapped her arms around him and he returned the hug for a brief moment, before pulling away. Donnie turned to Master Splinter and turned toward the hall, the old rat following closely behind him.

On the outside, he appeared calm and composed, but on the inside Master Splinter was growing increasingly nervous. As soon as they reached the lab door, Donatello stopped short. "It's not easy to look at, Sensei."

The fatherly rat closed his eyes and steeled himself. "I know my son. Though I am never truly prepared to see any of you injured, I am as ready as I am going to be." He admitted.

Donatello nodded solemnly and opened the lab door, motioning Splinter to go in first. The old rat did as directed, and froze in his tracks. "Raphael…my—my son…" He gasped and rushed forward, his furry claws dancing softly over the injured turtle's brow. There were tears in his eyes. He turned to Rockwell, who was closest. "Will he—will he survive?"

The monkey mutant nodded. "Superficially, all of his injuries will heal and he'll make a complete recovery. The most worrisome aspect at this point in time is whether or not he will ever wake up."

A furry hand came to rest on Raphael's brow. "The strongest of my sons…Raphael will awaken. He will fight his way back to us."

Rockwell offered no verbal confirmation, but tilted his head in acknowledgment.

"Master Splinter, we need your help wrapping Raphael's burns."

Splinter nodded, his eyes briefly inspecting the intricately wrapped bandages on Raphael's right hand. "I see that his broken hand has already been well-cared for."

Doctor Rockwell nodded. "I did the best I could given the circumstances."

"This bandage is very efficient. After we have wrapped all of his burns we might want to make a proper cast."

"Hai Sensei." Donnie agreed as he handed his rat father the gauze wraps before he and Rockwell began cleaning and applying antibiotic cream.

Out in the main room, Mona Lisa was curled up against Leonardo's side, shaking like a leaf. He hadn't seen her this scared in while. He wrapped his arms tightly around her and tucked her head beneath his chin. Mona leaned into the embrace, clinging to him tightly.

"Raphael will be okay, Mona. You heard everything Donnie said, yes he's hurt, but he's alive. There's no really major damage. He'll make it through this. He's a fighter. He always has been."

Tears continued to roll down her cheeks as she shook.

Leonardo drew back slightly, tears forming in his own eyes as he pleaded with her. "Mona, please…" When that didn't work he put both hands on her shoulders and looked down into her eyes. "Mona Lisa…I made Raphael a promise. Before we left that day…"

I took a couple deep breaths to steady myself after all of that laughing. We all left Raphael's room and headed outinto the main room. I felt a strong hand grab my shoulder and tug me off to the side. I glanced over with wide, curious eyes at my immediate younger sibling. At my surprised yelp, our brothers turned towards us. Raph waved them off. "Get lost you two! Leo and I need to have a big brother discussion."

Mikey and Donnie looked at each other for a few seconds, rolled their eyes and shook their heads as they walked away and leaft us alone.

"What's all this about, Raph?" I asked, crossing my arms over my plastron and narrowing my eyes inquisitively.

He held up his hands. "Don't be like that, bro. I just…I need you to promise me something."

One of my eye-ridges shot up in intrigue. "Like what?" I demanded.

"Geez! Would you ease up and let me get it out?!" He whined frustratedly.

I rolled my eyes and gave him a pointed look that told him to go ahead.

"Uh…well…I kinda need you to…" He sighed and his shoulders hunched. "I need you to promise me…" An emerald green hand came to rest on my shoulder and my expression immediately softened when I saw how difficult this was for him. I put one of my hands on his shoulder to let him know I was listening. He slowly met my gaze and went on. "…I need you to promise me that…if something happens to me…" He grit his teeth and suddenly let out a long, slow exhale. "I need you to promise me that you will take care of Mona Lisa. You know, if something happens."

My grip on his shoulder tightened. "I won't let anything happen to you, Raphael."

"Leo, please…"

I'd never seen Raphael so desperate. I nodded solemnly. "I promise. I would have done it anyway."

He nodded. "I know you would. I just needed to hear you say it."

I pulled him into a one sided hug-headlock. "Don't you worry, little brother, we've all got each others' backs."

He smiled and rolled his eyes, huffing when I called him 'little' brother. "Yeah. Yeah. Yeah."

I promise I won't let anything happen to you, little brother. No one is getting hurt on my watch. I swear it.

"So please, Mona Lisa…Don't cry. I already broke one promise, Mona. I don't want to break another one." Leo whispered softly.

This time Mona Lisa was the one who fighting to make eye contact. She had already wiped her tears away. "L-Leo…" She pressed a soft kiss to his cheek and smiled.

Leo's cheeks went beet red and he grinned appreciatively at her.

From off to the side, a pair of mutagen colored eyes narrowed suspiciously. Slash turned to Michelangelo and whispered into the youngest turtle's ear. "I thought you said she was Raphael's girlfriend."

Mikey turned and blinked confusedly up at the larger turtle mutant. "Well yeah?"

"Then why are she and Leo so…"

Baby blue eyes widened as the youngest realized where Slash was going with this. They quickly narrowed at the insinuations. "Hey! Don't go there, dude! Mona and Leo are just friends! Fuuuurrrr—ehhhhh—nnnd—suh!" He dragged out, trying to get his point across.

"Don't you think they act a little bit…close…for friends?" Slash whispered with an eye-ridge raised.

Michelangelo bit back a heated reply and glanced over in his older brother's direction. Leo and Mona were both blushing now and smiling softly at each other.

Leo had been getting really close to Mona lately…hmm…

Mikey's eyes narrowed. He'd have to ask his older brother about this.

But now was not the time…

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