Mikey had been shifting through the fridge, having suffered from an attack of the midnight munchies when he heard the frightened shout. He frowned worriedly and closed the door. The snack would have to wait.
“Not again,” he murmured, venturing into the living room and looking in the direction of his older brother’s room. It sounded bad this time. Real bad. There was only one thing for it. I’m comin’ bro,” Mikey whispered. “I’m comin’.”
In the darkness a figure writhed in his bed, trapped in the throes of his nightmare. The young turtle thrashed around and rolled over, the sheets sticking to his clammy skin.
‘What’s the matter turtle? Too hard to decide?’
‘How can I?’
‘It’s easy,’ the familiar voice mocked. ‘One or two?’
‘You must, otherwise you know what happens,’ the disembodied tone continued unsympathetically. ‘The clock, is ticking.’
‘How, can I possibly choose?!’
Hesitation. ‘I can’t!’
Pained screams tore through his mind. His hand reached up desperately but it was far too late.
“Donnie? Donnie wake up!”
Donatello bolted upright, startling his youngest brother who staggered backwards from the suddenness of his waking. “Mikey?”
The bedside light was instantly switched on and both brothers blinked at the abrupt and unforgiving brightness of the artificial light. Mikey lowered his hand. “Whoa dude, you look awful.”
Donnie looked down, feeling the cold sweat that saturated his olive green skin. A shaking hand was pressed against his face as he struggled to get a hold of himself. Upset breaths shuddered in his chest and a lump pressed hard in his throat. It took several minutes, (Mikey waiting surprisingly patiently), before the gap tooth genius could trust himself enough to speak.
“You okay bro?” Michelangelo asked quietly.
“Same dream again?”
Donatello drew a sharp breath and held it, answering his sibling’s question without saying a word. He didn’t meet the concerned blue gaze. He couldn’t.
“This is the third time in two weeks man. You really need to talk to Splinter about this.”
Donnie shook his head. “No, no I can’t. Not until I can explain it. Explain why it’s happening.”
“Dreams are dreams Donnie, everyone has them even real bad ones.”
His smart brother shuddered. “Not like this Mikey.”
Michelangelo sighed. Nothing frustrated Donatello more than something he couldn’t explain. Something he couldn’t rationalise. But Donnie wasn’t frustrated now, he was scared and it was reflected with every movement he made. Mikey glanced to the side, he was no great thinker but he wanted to help.
“You’ve been having these dreams since you got zapped by that security computer panel thing.”
Donnie was about to correct Mikey automatically when a flash of the dream passed through his mind. The words died on the back of his throat. His brother did have a point though. He’d been trying to override a security panel at a suspected Kraang warehouse and he couldn’t remember what he’d done wrong. He must of inadvertently overloaded a circuit or simply touched the wrong connection, which was ridiculous really, he was usually so careful. Whatever Donnie had done he had received the electric shock of his life. He’d woken up several hours later in the lair surrounded by the worried faces of his concerned family. Apparently the ‘zap’ as Mikey so eloquently put it, had sent him flying halfway across the room.
Donatello had received numerous shocks in his life but none that had rendered him completely unconscious before. Surely though, nightmares weren’t a side effect of electrocution? No, death usually was. Donnie shook involuntarily, squeezing his eyes shut as the word burned into his thoughts. He was damn lucky to be alive. Maybe the dream really was a side effect to his shock. He’d almost suffered a near death experience, maybe this was just what? A coping mechanism? No. Why would a coping mechanism give him such a horrifying repetitive nightmare?
Donatello groaned and brought both hands to his head. His temples were throbbing and a dull ache began to manifest itself deep in his skull. It literally hurt to think. He lay back down, hands not leaving his aching head. He hated not being able to concentrate. He hated when he couldn’t explain things. He hated-
“Do you need an aspirin?”
“An aspirin would be good,” Donnie grumbled.
“Be right back bro.”
The youth rolled his head to the door, watching his little brother leave to fetch what he needed. He couldn’t really believe that, for the third time it was Mikey that had heard him. He wasn’t about to complain about it either. The fewer who knew about the nightmares the better. Donnie didn’t want to worry anyone else. He was also grateful that Mikey had kept the secret, although he had looked more concerned now than he had been on the other two occasions. If it happened again, he was more than certain that Mikey would seek out help even if he asked for it or not.
Michelangelo soon returned, setting a glass of water on the bedside table. He crouched down, arms resting on the mattress and waited until his brother had taken the pill before speaking again. “Any better?”
“It’ll take a while for the painkillers to kick in Mikey.”
“That’s not what I meant,” the younger turtle said quietly.
Donnie tilted his head so he was staring at the ceiling. He scrunched his eyes shut and muttered something that he thought was inaudible. “Stupid nightmare.”
“More like a night terror dude.”
“It wasn’t a night terror Mikey,” Donatello said flatly.
“Sure sounded like one-”
A hand was briefly rested on his shoulder. “Bro, you were screaming.” Donnie gazed back at his brother with slight bewilderment. He hadn’t realised he had been vocal. “If the others weren’t dead to the world right now they’d all be in here.”
Donnie stiffened. “Please don’t use that word.”
He looked away again. “It doesn’t matter.”
A short lapse of silence followed. Mikey hovered, not sure of what he should do. “You, wanna talk about it now?”
Donatello clenched the sheet against his plastron, staring blindly at the bricks above and shook his head stiffly. “No,” he croaked.
Mikey sighed and reluctantly got to his feet. There was not point to him staying if his brother refused to open up to him. “If you say so,” he headed for the door. “I’ll let you get back to sleep.”
Suddenly learning that his little brother was leaving, Donnie felt an inexplicable sense of panic wash through him. The final echoes of the dream repeated in his mind again and an irrational fear filled him, that if Mikey left he wouldn’t see him again. Being who he was, he knew that was indeed ridiculous but the horrible notion wouldn’t leave him alone. “Mikey?”
Michelangelo paused at the door. “Yeah bro?”
“I er-, Could-?”
Mikey frowned curiously. His usually articulate brother couldn’t say the words but it was clearly written across his face. “Do you want me to stay?”
Donnie looked down at his hands and finally back up. He still couldn’t bring himself to say it. He felt like a frightened child who believed monsters were camping under his bed. He gave a slight nod.
Mikey smiled gently and stepped back into the room. “Okay Donnie, I’ll stay.”
A couple hours later both turtles were still wide-awake. The bedside light remained on, for, obvious reasons. Checking the time on his clock, Donnie groaned. 2:14 AM. Great. He rolled onto his side and regarded Mikey almost enviously as he held a comic book over his head, clearly not as tired as he should have been at that hour. He didn’t ask any questions. He didn’t pry; he just lay on the blanket on the floor beside Donatello’s bed doing just what he promised. Staying. Keeping his older brother company.
Hearing the groan Mikey rested his comic on his chest. “Still awake huh?”
“Mmmhmm,” was all Donnie could muster.
“You’re still thinking about that dream, aren’t you?”
Mikey propped himself on his elbows. “You need to shut that big brain of yours off Donnie.”
“I know,” was the sighed response.
Michelangelo flopped back down, frowning thoughtfully as he raised his comic back up.
Donatello listened idly as his brother let the comic’s pages flap down and lightly crinkle as he thumbed through it, a sound that the smart turtle found oddly reassuring.
“You know what I was thinking earlier?”
Donnie took a deep breath in. “What Mikey?”
“Those awesome ninja smoke bombs you make? I was just wondering if you could make real bombs like that?”
“It’s certainly feasible,” Donnie uttered thoughtfully. “Finding the appropriate chemical compounds that could be utilised might be tricky but not entirely impossible-”
“What about exploding shurikens?” Mikey innocently interrupted, not catching the annoyed looked that was thrown his way. “They would be totally epic!”
The annoyance quickly faded however and the cogs in Donnie’s brain immediately starting whirring. That was actually a pretty damn good idea. Hand held mini explosive devices. Who knew when they would come in handy? As it normally did whenever Donnie got an idea various thoughts flooded his mind all at once. He quickly disregarded the ones that weren’t entirely suitable and started to mentally work on the ideas of which were more viable and likely to work.
However the more Donatello thought, the more jumbled his ideas became until they ceased to make any sense at all. A rich nothingness flowed through his mind and after several hours of pained wakefulness, sleep finally found Donnie.
Still flipping through the pages, Mikey tilted his head up slightly. His sibling’s breathing had changed to a more restful tone. “Donnie?” He pushed himself up a bit further to get a better look. Yep. He was definitely asleep.
Michelangelo put his comic to one side and sat up, propping himself against the head of the bed, next to bedside table. Smiling he reached for Donnie’s lamp and switched off the light. “Night bro,” he whispered and drew the blanket across himself.
When Donnie blinked heavy eyes open, the room was completely dark but he didn’t recall turning off his light. Blearily he checked his alarm clock, 5:30AM. Well, that was better. Mikey must of switched off the light and slipped away after he-
It was then that Donnie noticed the gentle breathing issuing just below him. Curious he reached out and his fingers brushed across something. With a slight intake of breath the young turtle realised. Mikey had stayed with him for the entire night. A lump unexpectedly rose in Donnie’s throat. After such a horrible nightmare, which had played further than before leaving the blood of his loved ones splattered across his mind, it was a wonderful reassurance to have one of those loved ones guarding his bed whilst he slept.
He hadn’t expected Michelangelo to stay. The last two instances he had left when Donnie told him to but the dream, though disturbing hadn’t been as harrowing as it had been that night.
Donatello blinked back unexpected tears and let his hand slip from his brother’s head, to his shoulder. “Thank you Mikey,” he murmured, closing his eyes once more, leaving his hand where it lay. “Thank you,” and sleep claimed for a second time.