|The Halfway Point
Author: Tori Angeli PM
An alternate outcome of Eighteen Minutes. When a brother is attacked, the entire family is wounded. Sometimes, healing is harder than staying hurt. Winner of Best Tragedy/Angst in the 2007 TMNT Fanfic Awards.Rated: Fiction M - English - Hurt/Comfort/Angst - Raphael - Chapters: 15 - Words: 53,775 - Reviews: 39 - Favs: 71 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 10-28-08 - Published: 05-07-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4243123
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Notes: This is very dark. A somewhat graphic but not super-explicit non-consensual adult situation is told in pieces. It is not pornographic in the least, and no worse than an episode of Law and Order: SVU. Language is used (they use it, not me), and there is violence aplenty. I try to handle all these subjects with as much maturity as possible. If you like darkness, this is your thing. If you like dark h/c, this is your thing. If you want to test the waters of a genre darker than fluff, this is not your starting point. It is not necessary to read Eighteen Minutes to understand this, but I wouldn't complain if you did, and you would have a clearer picture of what happened prior to this fic. The story was nagged into me by the evil Aubretia Lycania and nurtured by a host of friends as it was written.
"Oh my god."
"Don't worry, Raph, we gotcha."
"Oh my god."
"Shut up. Get his legs."
"God, Leo, look at…look at his…"
"Casey? What happened?"
"I dunno. He was like this when I found him. Just woke up long enough to save my ass."
"Leo, he's bleeding from…"
"Deep breath, Don."
"I'm going to…"
"Casey, get the bucket."
"What is going on?"
"Sensei. Donatello is sick."
"I'm fine, Leo. It's just…"
"Aim for the bucket, Don."
"Leonardo, tend Raphael with me. Casey, see to Donatello."
"His…between his…under his…"
"Make sense, Don."
"The blood on his thighs."
"Let me…oh my god."
"What is it?"
"What's going on?"
"There's blood everywhere. Coming from…from his-his rectum."
"Don't make me explain it, Casey."
"You mean his…you don't think they…"
"He's lost so much blood."
"I'm gonna kill 'im."
"Wait for it, Casey, come help. You okay, Don?"
"I'm fine. How badly is he damaged...there?"
"It's bad. He's in shreds."
"If they punctured his intestine…shit."
"What is it, Donatello?"
"He won't live if that's the case."
"Leonardo, can you wake him?"
"That's the thing, sensei…he's not unconscious, I think…"
"Don't wake him up. He needs sleep."
"He's not sleeping. He's completely awake."
"I don't think so."
"Mike, you're not even trying. Can't you tell? He's doing this consciously."
"Would you rather he were in a coma?"
"If he's just lying there meditating, it means he's hiding. He's keeping from dealing with something. And that would mean you and Don…"
"Shut up, Leo."
"I just…I can't handle it. I can't think that could have happened to him. Rape…happens to people we rescue. It doesn't happen to us. I mean…it's like there's this rule that…we're ninja, right? We're way better than those punks. Raph's so far above them he gets a nosebleed looking at 'em. But they pulled him down and…and they did this to him. And now, we're not so high above them. 'Cause they can do this to us. All they need is guns and they can render us completely helpless. And Raph…"
"H-he's too good for this. He's a good guy, Leo, he didn't deserve…they had no right…"
"Hey…it's okay. We could be wrong."
"N-no. You're not."
"Will he live?"
"The bleeding's stopped. I don't think there's any more danger. I just…"
"Yes, my son?"
"D'you think he might have been unconscious when they…?"
"Donatello…I do not think there would be a reason for him to remain away from us if he was not aware of what was done to him. He is…fleeing the horror."
"Are you okay?"
"…No, Donatello. I am not."
"I am not."
"Hey. Um, Leo an' Splinter say you're conscious, so I guess I'll try talkin' to ya. See if you can hear me. Or at least, if ya pay attention.
"I jus' wanted you ta know…those goons're all dead. 'Cept one, actually. I dunno which one did it to ya, or if they all did, or what, but the only one that got away was the big one. You took out the skinny Mexican guy yourself. Teach 'em ta hold you hostage. Looks like the only way they thought they could beatcha was…yeah. But they didn't. You're way beyond that.
"Ya know…the whole time they had you, an' I was tryin' a' steal that damn kidney for 'em…I was thinkin' about what I had ta do for the ransom, but after I totally blew it and the kidney ended up all over the sidewalk, I thought, why the hell am I bein' their bitch? This ain't no game, you were in trouble, an' the main thing was ta get you out. Thing is, it took me forever ta realize that. Took me forever to do what I shoulda done ta begin with, and I…
"Shit, Raph, I'm sorry. God, I am so sorry. It ain't your fault, you know that. It's my fault. I didn't get there in time. I shoulda told 'em ta shove their damn kidney up their damn asses. I…shhhhit.
"Y'know, I'm glad you ain't awake, I'd just be embarassin' myself. Don't usually cry. You know that. But…god, I hate myself. I was so stupid, so fuckin' stupid. I jus'…hope ya wake up soon. That way, I can stop wonderin' if ya hate me or forgive me. Either one'd be better'n not knowin'.
"So…I guess I'll seeya later. April an' I been here sometimes, helpin' out. So we'll prob'ly be here when you wake up, or…whatever it is you're gonna do. So…yeah. Seeya later."
Later in hell, Casey.
"Raphael. I know you can hear me."
Raphael opened his eyes and saw asphalt. He tasted it in his mouth. His cheek was bruised by it, shoved up against it. Two hands manacled each arm, tethering him to the pavement, and a pair of knees carrying a human's weight pierced into his thighs, shins running down his calves, rendering his legs helpless. Pain like he had never known in a place he'd never thought he'd know it. No breath. Blood in his mouth. That was his own doing, as he bit hard on the inside of his cheek to occupy himself from the pain, to keep a building scream from escaping his tortured lungs. There was one conscious thought, and it had nothing to do with anger, or humiliation, or terror.
I have to get out of this.
He had to come out of this.
"Flip him over and sit him up so he can watch."
This was too much. Too much.
I have to get out of this.
It meant two things. He had to come out alive. He had to escape the pain, the terror, the rage, the humiliation. It meant two things. He had to survive. He had to stay sane.
He would give up the former for the latter.
But it was impossible when he was being forced to watch his own rape.
He could almost see it from outside his own body.
A hand on his face.
They didn't know his name. Why were they calling him that? He should go back. It was better there, where the world was empty.
"Do not go back. You are safe now."
The last three words sounded with a familiar voice, although he could not pin down whose. Whatever, they were insane. There was no such thing as safety. It didn't happen in a world where people happily tortured each other.
"Raphael. My son."
No. That was going too far. How dare that voice be profaned with this memory?
"Look at me."
The vision imploded, and he could see the face of his sensei, master, father, feel the warmth of his hand, but the touch of asphalt still braised his skin, he could still feel the handle of the flashlight and the warm fist of his attacker between his thighs, the crushing grip of the hands on his arms…
The sensations faded, leaving only aching muscles and soreness, blankets tangled around his ankles, the warm touch of his father's hand on his temple, and a cold stone sinking into the pit of his stomach.
"I am here, my son."
Splinter was weeping.
Splinter was weeping.
"Take it easy, Raph."
A foot slowly pressed against the next lowest step on the staircase, body still uncomfortable with walking even after four days in bed with an empty mind. Take it easy. No, it wasn't easy. He didn't like being talked to like a cripple. He also knew that that wasn't what his brother Leonardo had meant by his words. Leonardo did not want him to hurt himself. Raph knew his boundaries. Leo should know that. Leo probably did know that. But Leo was being his big brother self. Usually, it was irritating and comforting at the same time. Now, it was painful. It hurt because of what sparked it.
"We gotcha, Raph," Mike said softly, offering a hand to steady his brother. Raph couldn't look at the compassion in Mike's eyes, and he certainly couldn't take the offered hand. Like he couldn't walk all of a sudden, just because it hurt. Just because he shouldn't be alive after being…
That was why he couldn't look at Mike. Mike, whose hero had been…
"There's eggs in a nest down here waiting for you," Don called from the kitchen, from whence the sizzling of a frying pan could be heard. Don didn't usually cook. But when Don was coping with something, he had to be productive. He had to do something. His hands had to move. Since he couldn't fix something mechanical, he fixed something culinary. In his own way, he was trying to fix his brother.
Raph wasn't hungry. Not for eggs fried to comfort Don's "poor baby brother." Not when Don knew.
"It's okay," he said hoarsely, backing up the stairs.
Leo caught his hand. "Raph, don't."
The feeling of skin against skin was too much. Raph snatched his hand away, the scratch of asphalt prickling against his face, eyes filling with the image of…
He forced his eyes to focus on Leo's startled face, bile rising in his throat. Speech evaded him, his tongue and vocal cords refusing to work. Somehow, he had ended up sitting on the top step, and that hurt. Sitting. Just another locked door, another reminder that he was in a thick wool bag, smothering, unable to escape what had happened. Even sitting reminded him.
He shoved himself to his feet as Mike started forward, reaching. "Don't touch me!" he snapped, hands flying up to defend himself. He sounded like a trauma survivor in a movie, and hated it. He wasn't like them, those pallid, paranoid rape victims afraid to look anyone in the eye. Never. Raphael was better than this. Raphael was stronger than this.
Which is why he was not going to flee back into the safety of his room like a child frightened by shadows.
Nor into the safety of his mind. That was selfish and cowardly.
But it was so easy.
He was clutching the railing, eyes unfocused. The blurred shapes of his brothers were frozen, waiting for his next move, but he paid them little mind. He had to convince himself to move forward. Go downstairs. Eat some breakfast and not puke it up.
Careful step downward.
"Quit starin' at me," he muttered.
Leo and Mike hastily turned away.
He was not a cripple.
He was not a rape victim.
He was just going to breakfast with his normal brothers, as usual.
Step down. The thought of breakfast made him want to hurl.
Step down. The pain was growing. Walking shouldn't hurt it. Why did it hurt?
Because Mikey had moved and gripped his arm. Now he was on the verge of another flashback.
Asphalt. Being forced into an unnatural position so he could see what was being done to him. The handle of the flashlight tearing worse as Jez twisted it. The scream he had held back tore its way out of him, and he jerked. Wrong thing to do. The flashlight tore him even more. He nearly passed out.
Sweat, sticky and salty and hot, from the hands of his captors gripping his arms. No chance of escape. I have to get out of this. One hand clutching the back of his head, forcing it to look down at his own humiliation. I have to get OUT of this!
Raph came to himself lying on the cool concrete floor at the bottom of the steps, head throbbing. Dim voices floated around him, and he was fairly certain they were all talking about him. He hated that. He closed his eyes again. The light made his head hurt more. Maybe he could pass out. Then he wouldn't have to deal with his brothers and their mothering.
"Don't move him." Leo's voice sank in.
Now he was being talked about like a victim on Rescue 911. "M'okay," he mumbled, slowly turning over.
"No, Raph, stay where you are," Leo ordered.
Raph ignored him and rolled to his hands and knees, closing his eyes against the memories threatening to rush in with the position. He pushed himself to his feet. Sparks danced in front of his eyes, and his knees buckled.
Hands caught him from behind. "Gotcha," murmured Don.
"QUIT TOUCHING ME!" Raph snapped almost as a reflex, jerking away and nearly falling. Ignoring his brothers' shocked silence, he stormed toward the kitchen, trying not to wobble. The last thing he needed was for them to see more weakness from him. Now he just had to get this stupid breakfast over with. Prove he wasn't some sick hospital ward patient.
He sat down at the table like nothing was different. It didn't matter that it hurt to sit. He did not wince. He did not adjust his weight. When his brothers followed him into the kitchen, they saw him calmly waiting for them in his usual seat, not touching the glass of orange juice that Don had thoughtfully set out for him. No other place at the table was set. He was not going to take special treatment.
Breakfast was served silently. Normally, Raph liked the kind of eggs fried in a hole in a slice of bread, and since it was normal for him to enjoy them, he did not show anything else. His stomach protested the food, at first, but slowly adapted. He drank the juice and convinced himself that he felt better after getting a little food in his system.
He served himself another slice of bread and egg. "So what's been happenin' while I've been out?" he asked casually.
The only response he had was silence. He glanced up at Mike, the surest one to react to his fiery gaze.
He was right. "Not much," Mike said hastily. "I mean, for the first twenty-four hours we didn't even know if you'd live."
Don nudged Mike gently, sending him a warning look.
"Don't give him signals, Don," growled Raph. "I wanna hear what Mikey has to say. About his life."
Silence fell over the table. Raph stabbed his fork into a bite of fried toast and egg, dipping it in the runny yolk before shoveling it into his mouth. Not so bad. Not bad at all. "Well, Mikey?"
Mike cleared his throat. "So we haven't been doing much. Just…y'know. Practicing. Chores. Hoping you'd live." He fell silent, eyes falling to the table, and poked at his food.
Raph didn't really want Mike to talk about the past few days except to show indifference to them himself. He ceased to listen as Mike went into detail, focusing intently on the crust of his breakfast. Don, ever resourceful, used the circle cut out of the center of the bread as a tiny bit of toast. Raph had drizzled honey on it. The smooth sweetness combined with the butter it had been fried in crisped nicely between his teeth. The crackling sound of the bread filled his ears, drowning out Mike's oppressive words. Toast, eggs, honey, butter. Normal things. Things were okay. He took a long drink of orange juice, although the acid did nothing to relieve his slightly upset stomach.
"Raph," Don said softly, spreading apple butter over his bit of toast, "after breakfast, I'd like to perform a quick exam to make sure you haven't gotten infected or anything."
Raph choked on his juice.
"It wouldn't be invasive, just a blood sample to check your white blood cell count."
"Don…" Leo uttered warningly.
Raphael was done with breakfast. He shoved his dishes away, stood up, and left the room.
A few simple exchanges, and he knew what he had become to his brothers.