Disclaimer: I do not own the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle; they belong to Eastman and Laird, Mirage, and related companies. I'm not profiting from their use in this story.
Notes: Hi! This story is a missing scene from Secret Origins: the part where Mikey is knocked unconscious, Raphael is told to take him into the bamboo undergrowth whilst the others fight the Foot. Perfect opportunity pour moi, a lover of the Mikey/Raph angst! My Mum taped over the episodes (!) so I have done my best to remember the details. Most important, please enjoy!
Title: The Things I Always Mean To Say
Everything happened so fast, all in one motion blur. One minute Mikey was pulling faces at the Shredder's stunt double, the next minute our weapons disappeared, and we became part of this virtual reality thing. Before we knew what hit us, Shredder-wannabe had slugged Mikey hard across the jaw, and sent him flying. Watching my little brother shuddering to a halt on the embankment, scraping earth with his shell, it shook me. Time was suspended for a second as I stared at Mikey, just lying there on his back. So still.
Raphael was frozen for but a second before he and his family darted over to where Michelangelo lay. "Oh, no," Raphael murmured as he discovered Michelangelo was out cold.
Desperately he tried to push the worst-case scenarios out of his mind before they threatened to totally envelope all rational thought. There was no benefit in mulling over the unknown future, for now was the time to address the very real present. Raphael knew that he and his family had to act swiftly if they were to get Michelangelo, and themselves, to safety.
The turtles were surrounded, shell-to-shell. Up until that moment, Raphael had never realised quite how different shells-in was with just three shells. It felt wrong. In fact, every little bit of the situation felt wrong. Maybe it was being without their weapons. Maybe it was knowing that they were a turtle down. Or maybe it was realising that they were somewhere in Ancient Japan without half a clue about how they were going to get home again. It could easily have been all three. Whatever it was, between Raphael, his brothers and their Sensei, there was a definite feeling of vulnerability in the air.
Raphael was brought back to reality by Splinter calling out to him, commanding him to take Michelangelo into the undergrowth, and away from the battle that had ensued. From that second, Raphael had one goal and one goal alone. Get Mikey to safety. Nothing else mattered.
Raphael picked up Michelangelo – Jeez, has he always been this light? – and manoeuvred him onto his shoulders. He paused in wait for any signs of his brother waking up, and gritted his teeth in frustration when there were none. The red-banded turtle spared one final glance around to make sure the ninja were not too close, and once satisfied, he executed a generous back flip over the high bamboo shoots, and landed in the dense undergrowth.
A clearing was tucked away just to Raphael's left. The turtle slowly jogged into the dell, mindful to avoid injuring his brother further. He knew Michelangelo was badly hurt from the vicious attack – their Sensei had confirmed as much. But, what would the consequences of being injured in the virtual reality device be, if and when they returned back home to the real world? Raphael did not want to contemplate any kind of possibilities.
Towards the middle of the clearing was a low, flat rock coated with a thin layer of moss; Raphael decided this would suffice as somewhere on which to rest Michelangelo's head. Raphael placed his brother on the ground as though he were made of the most fragile porcelain. He then began to check Mikey's vital signs, just as Donatello had taught him to do some years ago. "Heh, first time Don showed me how to do this was 'coz of you back then, too," he mumbled. Half a frown played across his face at the memory. Raphael still felt greatly responsible for what had happened that day, and only recently had he begun to let go of some of the baggage he'd been carrying from that event, and other, somewhat similar events. "Guess Leo's right. It don't matter who's in charge of you, you're still gonna get yourself into trouble, ain't ya, Mike?"
Raphael chatted to his unresponsive brother whilst he checked his vitals. Once he'd finished, he sat up and shook his head. Michelangelo's breathing was shallow and his pulse was rapid. "Bro, you've got me to sit through enough episodes of ER for me to know, this ain't good."
As he spoke, Raphael watched Michelangelo's facial expression. The younger turtle's brow was tugged into a frown of discomfort, as were the corners of his ever-so-slightly open mouth. But, as he talked, Raphael could swear he saw his brother's face soften just a little. Raphael smiled. Ah, what the heck – it worked for Leo.
"Hey, Mike, you wanna hear a secret?" Raphael asked in a low voice. He looked around sneakily, adding to the role-play, before rolling his eyes at his own idiocy. "Okay, okay, I'll be serious. And yeah, I am serious." He stumbled in hesitation, before, "Okay, I'm scared, Mikey." He paused again briefly, waiting for any kind of reaction from his brother. None came. "Yeah, this is Raph talking, your bro who goes around causing trouble for New York's biggest and baddest. But I'm scared... because you, my baby bro – sorry, I know you hate it when we call you that – well, you're hurt, and I haven't got a clue how to get you unhurt, you know? And, let's be honest, you're being kinda quiet about the whole thing," he added with a half-hearted chuckle.
"I mean, I think it's the only way we can tell if it's for real or not – if you're quiet, then odds on, you're truly sick or hurt. Oh, yeah, except for that one time," he added, "remember that day when you kept ticking us all off... okay, I'll be more specific: the day you kept ticking us all off, and then Donny went nuts and yelled, 'Mikey, for once in your life, would you just shut up!' Remember that? And for once in your life, you did exactly what you were told, and you never said a word for the rest of the day." Raphael sighed. "No one's yelling at you now, so feel free to jump in anytime you..."
Raphael stopped suddenly, realising that he was becoming lost in his ramblings, and that he should stay on full alert, in case the two were paid any unwanted visits from any enemy ninjas who strayed away from the pack. He looked around slowly, trying to sense any possible danger. When he was satisfied that there was none, he returned his attention to his brother.
"See what you being quiet is doing to me, huh? It's got me edgy, paranoid... hey, it's got me acting like Leo," he joked. Raphael once again stared at his brother's face intently for a long moment, praying for any kind of response. Once he resided himself to the fact that none was coming, he shrugged and sighed. "Heh, I don't know what I was hoping for. Like anything I say even comes close to rattling your cage.
"You know something? That's one of the great things about you, Mike. You're so easy-going, almost nothing ticks you off. Not like me, but I guess that goes without saying. I swear just about everybody pushes my buttons – but I gotta say, Leo kinda comes top of the list on that one. But, I ain't selfish, 'coz I push his back," he said with a wicked glint in his eye. "And, you know, even Don gets annoyed sometimes, too – frustrated is what he calls it. Heck, if something don't go right with one of his experiments, I don't need to remind you that we all know about it.
"But you – it's like nothing gets to you, bro." Raphael stopped for a moment, as though trying to draw a memory from the cobwebby depths of his mind, before shaking his head. "No. Almost nothing. Thing about you is, when something does get to you, we got no idea, 'coz you don't tell no one about it. It's like the whole 'being quiet when you're sick' thing. You just keep it to yourself. Don't do that, Mikey. Please, don't keep stuff bottled up like that. It ain't good for you, and you gotta take my word for it on this one." Raphael absentmindedly rubbed his brother's shoulder as he spoke.
"If ever you wanted an invitation to speak, you got one right here, bro. You can talk to me, you know that, right? You can talk to me and I'll listen – at least, I'll listen a whole lot better than you're listening to me right now. And yeah, I give a damn about what you have to say. Especially if you ever start talking serious for once in your life!
"Even though I don't exactly give the impression of someone who gives a damn, I do. Yeah, I know I see red a lot, I don't follow the rules, I'm a hothead, etc etc. But, I'm loyal to you guys, my family, right to the end. Bear it in mind; just don't spread it around, okay? I got an image to keep up, you know," he said with a wink.
A moment later, Raphael was on his feet and in front of his brother, prepared for a possible attack. He relaxed and emitted a relieved sigh when he saw his Sensei heading towards him. Raphael bowed respectfully, before sitting back down beside his brother. The aging rat gave a nod before kneeling down on Michelangelo's other side. He placed a gnarled hand-like claw upon the unwell turtle's forehead, and for a minute, all was silent.
Raphael coughed, unsettled by the silence – when is there ever any silence when Mikey's around? – and then said, "he hasn't woken up, Master." Way to go, Raph, the turtle thought to himself with irritation, state the blindingly obvious.
Master Splinter glanced up and nodded once again in acknowledgement. "He may not awaken for some time. We must have both hope and patience. Although," Splinter added after a pause, "I think that talking to him will have soothed his spirit a great deal."
Realisation dawned, for a moment Raphael's jaw hung slack. "How much did you hear?" He asked finally.
"I heard nothing that I have not already known in my heart, and you in yours, for a long time," Master Splinter said with warmth in his voice.
Raphael couldn't help but grin, a spark in his eye. "Uh-huh? So you know it too, that Leo is edgy and paranoid?"
"I chose to ignore that part," Splinter said with a trace of irritation in his voice.
Raphael grinned, a little more sheepishly this time, before opting for a subtle change of tack. "Do you know what the great thing about talking to Mikey when he's like this is, Sensei? You can talk to him, and he won't answer back, or make some goofy joke, or... whatever. And you can really say anything to him, anything you like, you know, like things you wouldn't normally say, and things that you always mean to say, but there's never the right opportunity, the right moment... you know?" he trailed off.
Splinter looked up at his son, and searched deep into the turtle's dark eyes. He was no longer looking into the eyes of his rough and tough teenage son, but into the eyes of his child, looking lost, and vulnerable, knowing that the health of his younger brother was hanging in balance. He had the confused eyes of someone who had just poured their heart out, and who was not sure how to deal with it. They were the unmistakeable eyes of a boy who begged for some guidance and understanding from the wise, compassionate eyes of his father.
Softly, Splinter said, "I know. And Michelangelo knows also, my son."
On hearing these words, Raphael felt a light wave of relief wash over him. "Thank you, Sensei," he said humbly.
As Donatello and Leonardo joined them to discuss their current situation, and their next move, the matter was silently closed. But never forgotten.