Hello, everyone! Well, here's my first fanfiction ever! I'm so nervous...please be nice :( and enjoy! :D

"Raph, have you ever thought about why our shells are so big?"

The eight year old Raphael glanced up from his comic book at his baby brother, who sat next to him on the floor, his head in his hands and his blue eyes glued to the TV. Mikey met his brother's gaze and gave him a smile. "Well, have you?" he asked once again.

Raph rolled eyes. "I dunno, Mikey," he grumbled. Maybe if he thought of an answer, Mikey would let him read his Fantastic Four Food Groups issue in peace. He then got an idea and smiled slightly to himself. "I guess so that...I could play 'Spin the Turtle' with you?"

As soon as he said those words, Raph put his comic down and shoved Mikey, causing him to fall on his shell. He then proceeded to spin him around and around. Raph laughed the entire time while Mikey was begging him to stop, shouting, "Mercy!" and "Uncle!" Finally, Raph stopped spinning his brother and sat back down, picking up his comic and reading where he had left off. Mikey's head felt dizzy and for a moment he thought he was going to throw up. He soon got a hold of himself and sat back up, sticking his tongue at Raph, who didn't even seem to notice.

Mikey had a pouty expression on his face as he continued to watch TV, aggravated at his brother for bullying him once again. However, he soon put it behind him and his frown turned into a smile. "You know, I asked Leo and Donnie the same question earlier today," Mikey chirped.

Raph couldn't help but be curious about how his other brothers answered Mikey's question. He put down his comic and looked at Mikey with a smirk. "You did, huh? Well, what did they say?"

"Well, Donnie was all "scientificy" about it. He said something about the anonymity of turtles and…"



"The word is 'anatomy', Mikey." Great. Now I sound like Braniac.

"Oh. Anyway, he said that our shells are connected to our bones and that they protect our, uh… 'viral' organs?"

"Uh-huh. And Leo?"

"Leo said that our shells are like armor. The bigger they are, the better they can protect us from bad guys who are trying to hurt us."

"Mmm-hmm. And what about you?"


"Yeah. Why do you think our shells are so big?"

Mikey looked down at the floor and made circles with his finger. "Nah," he said quietly. "You'd think it's stupid."

Knowing Mikey, Raph thought to himself, Yeah. It'll probably be stupid. But still, he wanted to know. "I promise not to laugh, Mikey."

The freckled turtle looked up at his older brother, who wore a sincere smile, giving him reassurance that he would keep his word and not poke fun at him. Mikey drew in a deep breath and suddenly stood up, slightly surprising Raph.

"Well…I think there's more than just bones and organs inside of our shells. I really believe that we were born with wings. Angel wings." Mikey spread his tiny arms out to his sides. "They're tucked inside our shells. And when our time comes, after we die, our wings will burst out and we can use them to fly to Heaven." He moved his outstretched arms up and down to emphasize the point, then quickly sat back down and focused on the TV in front of him, trying to hide his embarrassed face from Raph. "So, yeah. That's why our shells are so big."

Raph blinked at his baby brother's response, and he did his very best not to laugh and break his promise to Mikey. He couldn't help but smirk, though. He should've known that Mikey's answer would've been ridiculous and amusing. "Oh," he eventually said, as he noticed that Mikey was glancing at him for a response. "Okay, then." He picked up the comic once more.

"You think it's stupid, don't you?" Mikey asked him quietly. Raph didn't need to look up to know that Mikey had a pitiful look on his face.

Yeah, I do, but still... He just couldn't stand the thought of his baby brother feeling down."No, Mikey," Raph lied. "In fact, I think it's a really cool idea."

"Really?" Mikey asked with a bit of hope in his voice.

"Yeah, now let me read my comic book," Raph said gruffly, wanting to end this discussion already.

"It'd be awesome if we really could fly," Mikey whispered with a dreamy look on his face and his eyes sparkling. "Hey! Maybe when we grow up, Donnie will invent something that'll help us to fly! We could be like superheroes! I could call myself 'Turtlefly' or something!"

"Whatever you say, Little Brother," Raph mumbled, his eyes still focused on the illustrated pages of his comic.

The numb Raphael continued to look up at the ceiling of the dark, empty room that once belonged to Michelangelo.

His eyes were puffy and red from the past few nights that he had spent mourning his lost baby brother. Never before had he felt so depressed, so broken. Every now and then he would breathe in Mikey's scent from the pillows, which gave him a little bit of comfort for a while. But then the image of his brother lying dead in a pool of blood would reappear in his head and he'd go back to sobbing miserably into the pillow. In his arms was Mikey's beloved teddy bear, which served as his bedtime companion after the brothers grew old enough to sleep in their own bedrooms.

The loss of his dear brother and friend completely shattered him. What made him feel even worse was the guilt of knowing that Mikey died all alone. No one was there to comfort him, to hold his hand and let him know that he was greatly loved, that he would be terribly missed.

Raph was so fixated on ceiling that he didn't even hear the soft knock at Mikey's door.

"Raph," Leo's hoarse voice called out to him from behind the door. "It's dinnertime, and Sensei wants us to eat together as a family this time."

Raph didn't respond to him.

"Raph, you can't keep doing this to yourself. Mikey wouldn't want you to be this depressed. Please come out. We all miss you."

Raph once again completely ignored him. Leo sighed in defeat and left with a heavy heart.

A few hours later, another knock at the door. This time, though, Splinter's voice was heard. "Raphael, may I come in?"

Raph didn't answer and continued to look at the ceiling. The door opened, letting the light from the hallway into the dark room. The wise old rat sat on the bed next to his despondent son, who didn't even look at him. Splinter gently rubbed the dome of Raph's head for a while, not saying a word.

It broke his heart to see his son in such terrible shape. But he understood. He, himself, suffered from depression for a while after finding his baby's body that terrible day. No father should ever have to bury his children, yet he placed Michelangelo in a coffin and buried him under a tree on a hilltop in Northampton. All of Mikey's friends and family were present at the funeral, paying their respects to the fallen ninja turtle.

All except Raphael. He instead locked himself up in Mikey's room and let all of his emotions out, away from the prying eyes of his friends and family. It has now been three days, and he'd only leave the room whenever he was hungry or he had to go to the bathroom. (It was a good thing that Leo and Donnie regularly fed Chompy).

Splinter finally decided to break the silence. "My son, why do you think you and your brothers were born with such large shells?"

Raph's eyes widened and he looked up at his father. "What?" his voice sounded so hoarse and raspy.

The rat gave his son a sad smile. "About eight years ago, Michelangelo asked you the same question. I was in the kitchen that day, and I couldn't help but hear the conversation between you two in the living room." Splinter reached for something under the fold of his kimono and pulled out something white. Upon closer inspection, Raph realized that it was a feather.

"On the day Michelangelo passed away, I found this feather next to his body. It is far too large to belong to a pigeon, and there were no seagulls in the area. So how do you explain something like that?"

Raph stared at the large feather in his father's hand for a moment, then looked up at him with a forlorn expression. "Father," he said sadly, "You and I both know that there are no wings underneath our shells. And I seriously doubt that angels even exist." The turtle turned away from Splinter and looked at the wall absently. "But I appreciate you going through all this trouble just to cheer me up."

"Now whoever said that I am making this up?" Splinter said softly.

At this, Raph turned his head to look at his father. Splinter smiled at his son's surprised expression.

"I did not mention this to you and your brothers earlier because I have had doubts, myself. But the more I interacted with this feather, the more I began to feel a hope and comfort that I cannot describe. It was as if Michelangelo, himself, left it behind to let us know that he has moved on to a far better place, somewhere he will watch over us until we can all finally rejoin him. Did this feather truly belong to your brother? And is he really an angel right now? Perhaps. Perhaps not. We cannot prove or disprove it. Life is full of miracles that cannot be explained by man, or in this case, mutants." Splinter chuckled at the last statement, then gently placed the feather in Raph's hand.

"Believe what you want to believe, Raphael," Splinter looked at his son with soft, loving eyes and gently caressed his hand. "But I believe that there are such things as angels, and that they have welcomed Michelangelo with open arms. And one day, he'll welcome you. But until then, we must go on with our lives and honor his memory by continuing to fight for this city, for this planet, and for the other worlds that exist beyond our own."

The rat gave the turtle a kiss on the forehead and left the room, closing the door on the way out. Raph was once again surrounded in darkness, and he sat up on the bed, looking at the feather in his hand. He was astonished to find that even in the dark, the feather continued to glow brightly.

His thumb brushed along the soft edges, and almost immediately, he felt a warm, tingling sensation within his chest.

Master Splinter was right: there was something special about this feather. Almost as if…no, it couldn't be. Could it?

Raph thought about how he and his brothers always underestimated Mikey, poking fun at his seemingly impossible theories and ridiculous ideas. And almost every single time, he'd be proven to be right, and his bros would look like total idiots for doubting him. Raph chuckled weakly to himself. He could just picture it now: Mikey looking down at him from a cloud up in the sky, pointing and laughing at him. HA! Told you so! I was right, as always!

Raph rested his head on the pillow, looking up at the ceiling once again. Only this time, he didn't feel as sad as before. In fact, his felt that his spirits have been lifted a little bit.

From that day forward, Raph kept the feather under his own pillow, and the horrible nightmares quickly shifted to pleasant dreams, most of which were about the good times he had spent with his baby brother. Sometimes he'd wake up with tears in his eyes, but not from crying in despair. No, he'd laugh so hard in his dreams that he'd shed tears of happiness in the real world.

Raph came to believe that when Mikey left behind the feather, he had left a part of himself for him and his brothers to keep until they'd meet again in Paradise. He was grateful to his little brother for giving him some comfort and hope while he stayed behind on Earth. One day, he'll spread his own wings, take flight, and see Mikey once again. His little brother will greet him with his usual bright smile and baby blue eyes that would hold nothing but love and affection for him.

But until then, have a nice flight, Little Brother.