Author: tFantasyFan PM
21 days. 504 hours. 30,240 minutes. Raphael is missing and each passing minute seems more hopeless than the last. Some events force us to realize that time is far more important than we make it out to be.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Raphael - Chapters: 18 - Words: 36,203 - Reviews: 124 - Favs: 62 - Follows: 19 - Updated: 12-16-08 - Published: 11-04-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4636459
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello again! Celebrate with me, for I have FINALLY purchased my VERY OWN copy of the 2007 TMNT movie! In my joy, I am writing something new(which popped up and got started at about 3 in the morning).
Disclaimer: I don't own the turtles' copyrights (even if I do own a DVD now), and every time I'm forced to say it, I think a kitten dies. We all suffer in the end. How do you sleep at night?
Life, it has been said, is completely, totally and undeniably unfair. You are given lemons and told to make lemonade, all the while knowing that if you fail, fate will proceed to trip you up. Wearily settling into a meditative pose, Splinter reflected on the idea as he thought of his son.
From early on, Hamato Raphael had been aware of this fact: he had failed in making lemonade often because of it. So often had he failed, in fact, that life no longer found his attempts amusing, and had decided to skip the middleman in favor of shoving lemons directly down his throat. When this started happening, Raphael adopted the saying 'bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.' This stubborn outlook had served to bolster his strength and protectiveness to nearly obsessive levels over time, as well as helping him to create the sometimes very poorly held-together shell of apathy he had acquired.
It was, as a result, simply against his nature to run away from anything. As far as he was concerned, life wouldn't throw him anything that couldn't be handled. This attitude, in theory, could have proven true if he didn't try to shoulder everything alone. He took on the pain of the world above them without question, shouldered its burdens and confronted any problems he saw with a singleminded aggressiveness his brothers often saw to be a lack of self-control. The red-banded ninja saw it as doing the only thing he knew to protect his family, while Leonardo saw it as reckless endangerment. It led to many arguments between the second youngest and the eldest. There had been no such arguments in almost 3 weeks. It is, after all, impossible to argue with someone who is not there. Splinter's ears twitched as he heard the entrance to their home open. He rose stiffly and exited his chambers to greet his sons.
Michelangelo, Leonardo and Donatello hung their disguises with heavy hearts upon entering the lair. They immediately knelt at their sensei's feet, knowing only too well the disappointment he would be feeling.
"My sons," he greeted softly, successfully hiding the pain that was slowly chipping away at his heart. Seeing it would only cause them more guilt, and the last thing he wanted was to burden them further. "I take it there were no signs of Raphael's whereabouts?" Their heads bowed further.
"None. I'm sorry, Father," Leonardo responded, voice strained. His brother's disappearance had taken a heavy toll on him: though he tried to hide it, everyone could see the anguished glances he cast at the hothead's bedroom door, at the punching bag, at the pair of sai mounted carefully on the dojo wall. The old rat nodded slowly.
"It is alright, my sons. I have complete faith that we will locate your brother before too long. We must not give up hope."
"Yes, sensei," they murmured in unison, rising from their positions at his feet and heading in different directions. Mikey could hear his father's broken sigh as the old rat shuffled back to his meditations, and responded with a sigh of his own. The lair was too quiet when they were home. Not to say it was silent: Mikey could even now make out the sounds of Leo training, Donatello's fingers moving rapidly over the keyboard, searching for anything that could lead them to Raph (these searches always led to painful dead ends, like the one they had hit tonight), the T.V. playing an infomercial with the volume nearly muted. But there was no tell-tale pounding on the punching bag, no loud complaints about the lack of cereal, no creaking hammock or familiar snores. It was as though there were nothing to prove Raphael existed anymore, and the thought was driving Mikey insane.
3 weeks without his brother.
They'd gotten no messages from any enemies to lure them into a trap (a trap they would willingly walk into, if only to see their brother again for a few moments). They had infiltrated both the Foot and the Purple Dragons, trying to ignore the feeling of being incomplete, the lack of a bulky, pissed-off brother having all their backs no matter what, but to no avail. There hadn't been a trace of him.
3 weeks without so much as a hint indicating he was alive.
If he even was alive. Mikey felt the tears rushing to his eyes as he tried to force the thought away. But it had been brought into his head and stubbornly took root, making his heart beat faster, his stomach clench painfully as he choked on a sob. Not his big brother...Not Raphie...If they lost Raph, he didn't know what he would do.
"Mikey?" The orange-banded turtle jumped as a hand landed on his shoulder. He sniffled and tried to hold back more tears, turning to face his concerned older brothers. Raph wouldn't be crying, he thought - before all control left him and he broke down completely, clutching Donatello like a lifeline while Leo sat down next to them and rubbed his shell. "Oh, Mikey, it's okay," the olive-green turtle said softly. "We'll have him back and grouchier than ever before you know it."
"It's-It's not okay! It's not fair! What if we don't find him? What if he's dead and we never even know?"
"Don't say that. He's alive. He has to be." Leo stated firmly, free hand curling into a fist on his knee. "And if he's not-" he swallowed difficultly, fighting his own tears.
"If he's not alive when we find him, we won't let anybody get away with it." Donnie hugged his remaining younger brother more tightly, something fiery in his gaze as it locked onto Leo's. Mikey sniffled again.
"I miss him," he whimpered miserably. "I miss his stupid bad attitude and his snoring and getting in trouble for taking his cereal, even if he didn't really mind it, because he had to keep up his tough-guy thing, and I miss playing with him." Donnie snorted a little.
"He wouldn't call it playing," he pointed out almost casually. The wavering in his voice gave away just how much Mikey's breakdown was affecting him. "We all miss him, Mike. And we'll be sure to let him know just how much when we see him again." The youngest turtle straightened up, wiping his eyes and nodding. "Now go get some sleep. We'll be going out again in a few hours."
"Yeah...Sorry, bros, I just got a little..." Leo waved it off.
"You don't need to apologize, Mikey. It wouldn't have done any good to hold all that in. I'll wake you up to eat before we leave." With a slight smile, the nunchuck wielder walked towards his bedroom. The eldest turtle sank down next to Donnie with a heavy sigh. "I never thought I'd see the day Mikey became a pessimist."
"This is really starting to take a toll on him. It's taking a toll on all of us. I never..." The genius paused. "I never realized how much I'd miss him if he got taken. It just didn't seem plausible; I mean, he's Raph, and that fact alone made him seem invincible. I forget so often how vital everyone is to this family."
"I know what you mean," the eldest conceded. "I just saw him as the hothead, the muscle, and it was so easy to forget that he's younger than us. That he needed to be protected as fiercely as he protects us. I don't know how much longer we can do this, Don. If Mikey gives up..." There was a long silence following his words, and he knew their minds were both on the same page. They didn't have leads to follow anymore. It had been 3 weeks. They were all losing hope fast. He didn't want to admit it, didn't want to even think it, but it couldn't be helped.
Raphael was probably dead, and if he wasn't, he probably wished he was.
Leo felt guilt stab sharply at his insides. If Raph were here, despite his extremely pessimistic outlook on things, he would refuse to believe his brothers were anything but alive and well. If Raph were here, they probably wouldn't have come home from searching. The elder turtle's hands curled into fists again. This is all my fault.
In his room, Splinter sagged. He could feel his sons slowly losing hope, and could not deny that his own was beginning to slip away as well. Eyes closing, he allowed a tear to make its way free as he remembered how this all began...
Please, please review and let me know what you think. I can offer cookie dough AND cupcakes. I appreciate honesty, so don't be afraid of hurting my feelings. My major concerns: being confusing and (more importantly) having anyone too out of character. I will always go on about those fears. Thanks for reading, either way! And I am giving up on indentations.