Summary: Raph mourns. VERY angsty one-shot!
Author's Note: Mild R(Quite a few bad words, due to Raph's dirty mouth, and much violence)
Betaed by the wonderful and talented Jayde/Government Contractor! Thanks evermuchso!
I'm usually not the biggest fan of Raphael/April fics, but this plot seemed appropriate for his character. And I haven't been to a funeral in several years, so please forgive any discrepancies with the church service here. Also please forgive all cursing and profanity in God's name, it's for emphasis only.
Dedicated to Dierdre, for she was the one who wanted 'more RD ficcage!'
Italics are thoughts or flashbacks. You'll be able to tell.
The roses were wilting. Dying.
He touched the wrinkled petals with an inquisitive finger, frowning as one silently fell.
They shouldn't be dying.
He had put them into water and everything, even added the little packet of chemicals that came with the bouquet from the flower shop that supposedly made them last longer.
He hit the table in anger. He couldn't even get the damn flowers to be right…
"Raph, you okay?"
Raphael turned from the flowers to face Leonardo, who was standing in the doorway to the kitchen with a concerned look on his face.
"How th' fuck do you think I feel?" He snarled, turning back to the flowers.
"Raph…" Leo ventured the rest of the way into the kitchen and sat down at the table across from his brother. "We're about to leave for the church. Casey says that he knows the priest there, and that he can get us into the service."
"They're dying." Raph said softly, staring at the flowers.
Leo frowned. "We can get more flowers Raph, don't worry."
He didn't respond, and for a moment a silence fell over the kitchen. The four turtles were helping Casey sort through her things
"I coulda' saved 'er, Leo."
Leo inhaled sharply. "Raph, there was nothing-"
"Th' fuck there was, Leo. I shoulda' been faster, I shoulda' been there fer 'er!" He pounded the table again, an expression of utter distress and desolation upon his face. "I coulda been faster… She trusted me Leo… She fuckin' trusted me, and I let her down, and now she's fuckin' DEAD and it's my damn fault!" He dropped his head into his hands, his shoulders trembling with emotion.
"I never told her… God, I never told her…" He whispered, almost inaudibly.
Leo looked at his grieving brother with new eyes. "Told her… told her what?" He asked slowly.
Raph looked up at Leonardo, the cloth around his eyes growing damp. Their eyes met. There was an unspeakable sadness in Raph's eyes. After a moment, Raph broke his gaze away and got up from the table without saying a word. He swiped an arm across his eyes before he spoke again.
"…Nothin'. It was nothin'. Let's go."
"Raph," Leo gracefully got to his feet. "Raph, I-"
Raph interrupted him. "We need t' go. Come on, I've already messed up the damn flowers, I don't need t' be late too." With that, he left the room in search of his trench coat.
Leo looked at the spot
Raph had vacated for a long moment. I never guessed… He
shook his head and followed his brother. All this time, it was
right in front of my face and I never saw it…
"Raphael Hamato, put me DOWN!" April shrieked as Raph swung her over his shoulder and carried her towards the small pond that decorated the farmhouse lawn.
"If I put you down now, you'll just get angrier. I'm tryin' ta help ya', Ape. You said you were hot…"
"That doesn't mean that you can just pick me up and say that you're going to throw me in the pond to cool me down! DON!"
She called to the purple-masked turtle who was reading under a tree nearby.
"Get over here and stop your brother from doing something stupid!"
Don answered without looking up. "Just let me finish this page…"
"DON! Ack! Raph don't-!" But her screams went unheeded, and moments later she was dumped unceremoniously in the water.
"There. Feel betta'?" Raph stood about calf-deep in the opaque water, arms crossed in front of his plastron. He smirked at April. She was sitting in at least two feet of murky water and was doing a wonderful impression of a drowned rat.
"Ugh…" She lifted an arm from the water and a piece of pond weed dripped off of her sleeve. "Raph, this was a new outfit!"
He smirked even wider. "And now it' not."
She looked up and glared at him. "You dumped me in here just so that you could see me wet, didn't you?"
"So what if I did?" He winked at her.
She shook her head. "You're an unconscionable flirt, Mr. Hamato, you know that?"
He extended an arm to help her up with a genuine smile on his wide face. "Only for you, babe."
She smiled shyly
back, then grinned and pulled him off balance, causing him to fall
into the water alongside her. The sounds of their laughter filled
the air as the sun slowly set on the happy scene.
"Where's Raph?" Casey asked as Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo, and Master Splinter clambered out of the manhole. They were in an alley a block over from the local Catholic church.
"He'll be here." Leo said resolutely.
Master Splinter took a step closer to Casey, looking up into the taller man's face. "How are you, Mr. Jones?" He asked, his voice quiet, calm and sympathetic all at once.
The mountain of a man took a shuddering breath. His suit was faintly wrinkled, and there were bags the size of Texas under his eyes, but he was clean shaven, and his hair was cut nicely.
"I'm doin' alright, I guess… It's just that… that… She… We had sumthin'. I know we did. I woulda' liked the chance t' find out what it was, y' know?"
An uncomfortable silence settled over the group.
Suddenly they heard a small metallic clang, and Raphael dropped to the ground with a dignified thump.
"I'm here, I'm here. Did I miss it?" He looked around at the faces of his brothers anxiously.
"No, we were just waiting for you to get here." Michaelangelo said, all traces of his normal state of jubilation gone.
"Oh." Raph scuffed the ground with a foot.
Casey cleared his throat. "Uh, guys, we should probably get goin'… The service is gonna' start soon, and Father McClellan is only gonna' keep the back door open fer so long…" He walked to the mouth of the alley and looked around. "Okay, the back door is unlocked, and once you guys get inside, you should take the first door to your left, it'll bring you to the balcony. No one goes up there anymore, you should be alone." He turned back to the darkness of the alley to find that the turtles and mutated rat were already gone.
"Yo, Case, up here." Casey looked up to see Raphael hanging onto a fire escape ten feet above his head. "I, um, just wanted t' say that…" He paused. "'m sorry." He looked at Casey only a moment more before scurrying up the metal bars to join the rest of his family.
Casey nodded to the darkness, then straightened up and walked out of the alley.
"Oh, is that the time?" April looked at the clock with dismayed look upon her face. "I should have gone home an hour ago. Now it's going to be dark…"
"You could just stay the night here, you know" Donatello said. "You've done it before."
"We could have a sleepover!" Mikey said exuberantly, leapfrogging over the back of the couch to land with a slight thump next to April.
"Thanks guys, but I really need to get home and finish some work before tomorrow." She stood up and stretched before turning to Raphael. "Walk me home, Raph?"
A chorus of catcalls erupted from Mike and Don as Raph stood up and glared at them. "Ah, shaddup." He turned to April. "Sure, lemme go get my trenchcoat."
She smiled radiantly
at him, happiness coming off of her in waves. "Thanks Raph, I owe
"April O'Peal- oh, I mean O'Neil, sorry… Anyways, April O'Neil was a woman of substance, a woman of honor, a woman well loved by all those around her." The church was deathly silent. The young priest nervously shuffled papers at the pulpit before continuing on, a slightly uncomfortable look on his face.
"Who the fuck is this? This ain't no priest." Raph said angrily. Don turned to him, a look of disgust on his face.
"I took a program on the way in. He's new here, and this is his first service." He scowled, his normally peaceful face contorted into a horrible expression. "Guess who he's sponsored by."
"If you say that the Shred-head's behind this, I'm gonna scream." Don just gave him a look. Raph ground his teeth together and growled under his breath. Shredder…
It had been a hot night. Heck, a hot month, if anything. Luckily for the turtles, the crime rate had lessened ever so much as the thermometer went up, because who wants to crime fight in a heat wave?
April climbed out of the manhole gracefully, accepting Raph's helping hand with a thankful smile. He carefully put the manhole back into place and re-adjusted his trench coat.
"Thanks for walking me home, Raph." April said gratefully as she linked arms with him playfully.
Raph grinned, the white of his teeth glinting in the dull light of the streetlamp. "Aw, it's nothing'. Not everyday I get t' walk a pretty girl home all by my lonesome."
April threw her head back and laughed.
"Raph, you flirt. You're gonna spoil me with all these compliments!"
They approached the mouth of the alley and a small noise drew Raphael's attention. He stiffened and stopped walking.
April froze as well.
"Raph, what's wrong?"
"… And we all shall miss this person… I mean, April. I mean, Ms. O'Neil. Amen." The priest-ling sighed as he drew his funeral oration to a close, then grinned at the stunned members of the funeral. "Okay, now with THAT unpleasantness over, I just want to take this moment to thank each and every one of you for being such an understanding audience today. I also want to thank the kind people at Stocktronics and Mr. Saki, who…"
Raph dug his nails into the wooden railing in front of him and heard no more. Pure, unadulterated rage such that he had never felt before flowed through him. "I'm gonna kill him. I'm gonna fuckin' kill this sniveling little weasel, then I'm gonna go to the fuckin' sunuvabitch who thought it'd be a fuckin' good idea t' let the weasel loose in the friggin' population and use his guts as fuckin' Christmas tree lights…" His angry murmurs blended into one another as the organist hastily cut off the young priest's speech with a loud swell of music.
"Hey!" The young priest's protests were drowned out as mourners slowly filed out of the church and to their cars, traveling to the cemetery.
Michaelangelo looked at his red-masked brother out of the corner of his eye. "Hey, Raph, you shouldn't swear in church."
"The fuck I shouldn't!" Raph hissed. "How can you just sit there after that!"
Michaelangelo looked down at his feet and didn't reply. Raph growled, hit the railing and stalked away towards the door.
"Raphael!" He turned to see Master Splinter glaring at him, his tail twitching in annoyance. "We are all angry at this injustice towards Ms. O'Neil's name, but I cannot allow you to act in this manner!" He took a step closer to Raphael, who was practically vibrating with rage. "This is a house of God. Even if we are not followers of this religion, we must respect their ways!"
Raph clenched his fists. "I'll respect their goddamned 'ways' when they respect i her. /i And since it seems like havin' the Shredder pay 'em off means more t' them then havin' a proper funeral fer someone who deserved it… Fuck them!"
"Raphael!" Master Splinter pinned his ears back and hissed at him. "Keep your voice down!"
"What, or we'll be heard over the freakin' organ?" Almost as in a reply to his yell, the organ music swelled to a booming crescendo before slowly dying to a single note.
"Fuck this." Raphael said. In the deafening silence that followed, he turned on his heel and walked out of the church without a word.
"April, I want y' to go back." Raph took a step backwards, pushing April behind him with one arm while reaching for a sai with the other.
"Who's out there?" She clutched at his arm a little tighter.
"I dunno. But there are a lot of 'em." He said quietly, barely moving his mouth. "They're on th' buildings. No, don't look up. Just back up nice and slow until I say otherwise, got it?"
"But Raph, we're closer to my apartment then to the lair…" She whispered under her breath.
"Don't want 'em knowing where you live." He grunted. "We'll have a chance at losing them down there." A small metal clang tore through the air and he whipped his head towards the noise.
And he opened his
eyes wide in shock at what he saw.
His feet pounded the concrete and brick of the roof as he ran. A sense of brief weightlessness, then the jarring contact with the ground as gravity took place once again.
Keep up the rhythm, lose all the pain, Run, don't think…
He had been running for what seemed like hours, and he wasn't any closer to finding peace.
Your fault… She trusted you… You failed…
He shook his head to get rid of his thoughts, and launched himself into the air once more.
Shredder. He was supposedly long gone, banished to the coldest, most remote part of the galaxy, yet he was here all the same, surrounded by at least 30 Foot ninjas.
"Je-sus Christ…" He murmured to himself. He turned ever so slightly to the woman standing behind him. "April, I want y' to grab my cell from my belt, and then I want ya' t' run as far away and as fast as you can. Once you're safe, call the Lair and tell the others to get down here ASAP. Can y' do that fer me?"
He felt, rather then saw her nod. "That's my girl. The cell's on my belt. There's a hole on the side of my trench that y' can reach through."
Shredder's voice split through the heated night like a clap of thunder. "Attack."
Raph waited until he felt April's fingers close on the cell phone, then he pushed her away from him and yelled "Run!". Simultaneously he tore the trench coat off of his body and drew his sai.
But the Foot did not attack as they usually did. Instead of the usual soundless padding of feet that usually marked each and every fight, there was a strange clicking noise. Raphael looked up at his adversaries as thunder cracked overhead, and his heart sank. As rain fell for the first time in weeks, he found himself facing not a small army of men armed with swords and staffs, but a small army of men armed with guns.
Night fell on New York City, and Raphael finally stopped running. He collapsed on the ground under a tree, lungs burning and not caring that he would become a walking bundle of knots if he didn't stretch soon.
After a few minutes of gasping for air, he looked around and discovered he was outside a cemetery located a few miles out of the city. He shivered. His subconscious had brought him to the exact place he didn't want to be.
He stumbled to his feet and stiffly walked down the short incline his tree was located on to the front gate of the cemetery.
"Where's th' honor in guns." He said with distain, taking a step backwards. He was screwed. He could only hope that April had gotten away…
Movement caught the corner of his eye, and he turned his head fractionally to the side to see what it was.
April looked at him, eyes wide with fear. She stood as still as a statue, the muzzle of a gun pressed against her head.
Raph sunk lower into his fighting stance. "Let. Her. Go." He snarled, baring his teeth ferociously . "Your quarrel is with me, not her!"
Raph walked in a daze through the cemetery. The grass was damp underneath his feet, the recent rain making everything green and soft and blissfully cool.
He would rather have a month, a year, forever with no rain if he could have her back.
"But why would I let her go when she obviously means so much to you, turtle." The Shredder said maliciously, a smug tone to his voice. "Miss O'Neil has been a bother to us for far too long. And her death will cause you pain, will it not?"
Raph growled long and hard.
The Shredder laughed. It was a cold laugh, one that sent chills up and down Raphael's spine. "So, it is true. The Beast loves the Beauty. How poignant. But do you know how this fairy tale ends?"
"You die an' stay fucking DEAD."
The Shredder laughed
again. "No, my green friend. She does."
Raphael drifted from gravestone to gravestone, seeing everything and nothing at the same time, until he came to one particular grave.
One new grave.
He fell to his knees in front of the gravestone, and reached out with one thick digit to trace the name.
Here Lies April
The Shredder nodded at the soldier who held April captive. He clicked the safety of the gun off and prepared to fire, but was unable to fire before April stamped on his instep and bit his arm savagely. He loosened his grip enough for her to slip away, and she ran towards Raph, her arms outstretched…
And then time seemed to slow down. Raph saw the Shredder ready a shuriken, saw the Foot ninjas readying their weapons, saw the shuriken flying through the air, saw the thirty fingers close on thirty triggers, all aimed at April…
And he screamed, for
he knew that he couldn't do a thing and hated himself all the more
An hour later, his brothers finally found him. He was surrounded by the bodies of the Foot Ninjas. Some were dead by bullets, some from stab wounds… then there were others simply torn limb from limb.
It was a massacre.
Michaelangelo looked around in shock. There was so much blood. "Raph… did this?" He asked, feeling the bile begin to rise within his throat.
Raphael saw none of his brothers' reactions. He was kneeling in a lake of blood, cradling a red-streaked and tattered something to his chest and making a high keening noise in the back of his throat.
The screaming sirens were growing louder and louder by the second. Leonardo picked his way through the gruesome scene toward his blood-spattered brother.
"Raph, Raph, the cops are coming. We have to go!"
Raph said nothing, just continued to rock back and forth, still making the spine-chilling noise.
"Raph…" Leo put a hand on his brother's shoulder. Raph spun around and snarled at Leo, huddling over the body in his arms.
Leo's blood froze when he saw a flash of pink hair.
"Oh God… Raph,
is that... what happened here!" He knelt down in front of his
brother, grabbed both his shoulders, and shook him. "Raph, is that
Raphael finished tracing the name on the gravestone.
"I never thought 'bout life without ya'." He spoke quietly, as if afraid to disturb the subtle silence of the cemetery. "Never thought th' day would come when… when ya' wouldn't be there. Here with us. Me." He gave a shuddering breath. "God, April, there are… were so many things that I should've told you. But I was too goddamned scared to do any of it, and now you're gone." He finished with a heart wrenching sob. He hit the ground, then tore off his mask and looked towards the sky.
"SHE DIDN'T DESERVE T' DIE! Do y' hear me! She was perfect!" He yelled hoarsely. "She was LOVED!" He closed his eyes in pain, and sank back to his knees. "I loved 'er. I did." He said softly, his throat choked up by tears unshed.
"April…" He whispered, leaning forward and embracing her grave.
It rained again that night, and no one heard one more set of crying eyes over the sound of falling water.