Author's Notes: Hello! Unfortunately, this is the last chapter. Looking back on this story, I've noticed that I've become extremely fond of this story. Maybe it's because I can really relate to Raph in this story but either way I'm very sad to see this story end. On a significantly brighter note though, I have plans of making ANOTHER (yes you read that right) another unofficial sequel to Mistaken Loyalties. In that story, it's going to cover certain aspects of ML that I didn't cover the first time. But for this story, this is the end and before anyone asks, I have no intentions of making a sequel to this story. Thanks for sticking with me during this story. Italics will denote character thoughts and without further ado, happy reading and enjoy!
Disclaimer: How many times do I have say I don't own the TMNT franchise?! I don't own them okay? Okay.
Raphael's point of view
No matter where I go, they keep bugging me. I just want to be left alone. Is that so hard to understand or too much to ask? For once, can't they respect my wishes and leave me be?
That won't be happening any time soon, Raph, and you know it. They're just trying to help you, but you can't see that. You're too busy wallowing in your own self-hatred and grief to even notice the light. As much as you don't want to admit it, Casey was right. You need to be a man and face your problems head-on.
Sighing heavily, I continued walking back to the lair. Maybe, just maybe, I'd be able to get some rest before they started up with me again.
Fifteen minutes later, I found myself at home. It was late, and I had expected everyone to be asleep, but Master Splinter was waiting on me. I thought that was a bit strange, because all he seemed to be doing lately was meditating. As I was about to walk past him, he reached out and took hold of my arm.
"Come with me, my son."
Knowing better than to argue, I walked alongside him. When we got to our destination, it was like the breath had been knocked out of me. He had taken me to Donnie's room. It was just the way he had left it before he went out for a walk.
Completed gadgets were strewn about on his workbench. His bed was made. Some books and papers were lying on his desk. Spare parts were littered about on the floor, as well as several half-finished projects. There was a noticeable amount of dust covering his desk and his inventions, but I didn't care about any of that.
The only thing I could think about was getting out of here. I had to leave before I could remember. I began backing up as if the room had suddenly become poisonous. Desperate in my attempt to escape, I started breathing heavily and quickly. I was so distressed that somewhere along the lines, I started gasping for air.
It was like I was being strangled.
"Raphael, you must come to terms with Donatello's passing. You cannot go on any longer like this. I fear that you are killing yourself without even realizing it."
Angrily shaking my head, I tried to run, but Master Splinter had a firm grip on my arm. I couldn't do anything except watch as those memories of Donatello began to play behind my eyes.
Hey, Raph, hand me that screwdriver.
What did you guys break this time?
This is it! I've finally finished working on my latest project!
Raph, keep still! This will only take a second. Besides, if you hadn't gone after those last two Purple Dragons like Leo said then you wouldn't be in my room, getting patched up.
I know he didn't mean to break the game so please don't TRY to kill Mikey. He was only fooling around.
I love you, Raphael.
Time stood still as I opened my mouth and let loose such an anguished and terrified scream that I thought everyone in New York heard me. With a renewed vigor, I wretched my arm out of Master Splinter's and tried to run, but he quickly intercepted me and wrapped his arms around me. Fighting against him proved to be useless because he still had an iron grip on me.
As we sunk to the floor, the tears that I had been holding at bay for the last few years finally came. My tears quickly turned into deep, heartbreaking and gut wrenching sobs.
Even though my head was beginning to hurt and the sobs were painfully racking my body, I didn't care. All I could think about was all those years that I spent taking Don for granted or simply ignoring him. Now that he was gone, it only made my heart ache and twist in agony.
Between my screaming and crying, I could vaguely hear Master Splinter's talking about something,but it didn't matter.
Nothing did. My brother was gone, and there wasn't a thing I could do about it, either.
"That's it, Raphael," he said, his voice barely distinguishable through the roaring in my ears. "Let it out. Just let it all out."
As my screaming gradually subsided and as the tears began to lessen, the soft sounds of a piano began to fill every inch of the lair. We just sat on the floor as the soft and soothing melody continued. I had no clue why I was suddenly hearing music but then I remembered Splinter sometimes had some music on while he meditated. He must have left the music on or maybe he had planned all of this. Either way, the melody was so gentle and calming that I found myself struggling to stay awake on more than one occasion.
Once the music had finished, I cried even harder because something had been stirred in my heart. I don't know what it was, but I now had a desperate and urgent need to see him.
Almost as if sensing the change in my attitude and feelings, Master Splinter released me. As I stood up on shaky legs, I knew that I had finally won the battle.
"Come, my son. It is time to pay our final respects to Donatello," he said as he rose up from the ground as well.
Glancing over in his direction, I noticed that he had been crying, too. His muzzle was wet and his eyes looked a bit glossy.
Slowly nodding, one thought kept running through my mind as we left our home.
Everyone, please wait for me.
Leonardo's point of view
When Karai and I entered April's shop, I saw everyone except Raph and Master Splinter. I had been hoping that he would finally come around, but this was Raph. He didn't do anything he didn't want to do.
That's just the way he is.
"If everyone is ready, then we should get going," I said softly.
One by one we filed out of the shop. As we were preparing to enter the Battle Shell, an all too familiar voice startled us.
"Got any room in there for me?"
Without thinking, I jumped out of the Battle Shell and hugged him tightly. Raphael, my hardheaded, stubborn, hotheaded brother, was finally going to go and see Donnie.
At first Raph was hesitant to hug me back. It wasn't until I tightened my hold on him that he returned the gesture. Leaning in close to him, I whispered, "Are you all right?"
Smirking just a bit, he mumbled back, "Of course."
Reluctantly I let him go and stepped aside. Looking around at the others, I noticed that they were all wrestling with their own feelings at seeing Raph. Mikey was smiling so brightly that I couldn't help smiling either. April had tears glistening in her eyes as Casey loosely held her. He too was smiling but his smile was just a tad bit brighter than Mikey's.
It wasn't until Raph silently said the words thank you to Casey that I understood why Casey was so happy to see Raph. In that instant, I realized that there had been a subtle and mutual understanding that passed between the two of them.
Unlike April, Karai merely nodded but if you were to look closer, anyone would have been able to tell that she was glad Raph had finally come to his senses. As for Master Splinter, he seemed to be extremely content that we were all back together again.
"I didn't think you'd make it." I said lightly, almost as if I were teasing him.
Briefly glancing over in Master Splinter's direction, he returned my slight jab. "A certain someone convinced me that it was time to let go."
I nodded and as we all got into the Battle Shell, I couldn't stop smiling. My family was far from being whole, but we were finally starting to pick up the pieces of our old life.
The ride up to the farmhouse was quiet. None of us dared to even speak; for fear that we might start crying. As the hours passed, I had sunk so deep in my thoughts that I almost missed it when the van stopped. One by one, we got out and began the slow trek to his grave.
When we arrived at his burial site, Michelangelo and April were already crying. Shortly after hearing their tears, I found myself joining them.
Raphael's point of view
Taking several deep breaths, I slowly walked to his grave. I hadn't even made it five feet when my legs gave out. I fell to my knees and just sat there as the tears came back. Hot, fat, angry tears rolled down my cheeks. I did nothing to wipe them away.
After an eternity, I finally found my voice.
"Hey, Donnie, I know I'm late coming to see you and all, but it's been hard."
My voice sounded so strange and foreign to me. It was almost as if someone had ripped out my vocal chords and replaced them with someone else's. I didn't know nor did I care if the others were still present or not. I had to talk to my brother, and I was going to do so with or without them.
"Would you believe that I'm ticked at you for kicking the bucket first? That was supposed to be my honor, but you took that from me. I'm not here to lecture you about that, though. I guess it took me so long to come because I was afraid."
Running a hand over my head and face, I started talking again.
"I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to let go, but in the end that's exactly what happened. By not coming to see you, I just put off the inevitable. I tried everything I could think of to not remember… to just forget about you dying in my arms, but no matter what, I couldn't forget. I told you such harsh and angry things, and then for you to just tell me that you loved me…"
I trailed off, but then found my voice again. "What on the earth were you thinking! Did you have any clue that those three little words would haunt me wherever I went? I never really paid you much attention and I never really told you, but Donnie, I admired you. You were the smartest, kindest and best person that ever lived. Even when I was acting like the idiot that I am, you still loved me and put up with me. I know that these words are too little, too late, but I figured you had the right to know that you weren't unloved or underappreciated. I'll see you again someday, so until I do, I'll try not to get myself killed. Wouldn't want to come and see you too early, now would I?"
I must have stayed outside for quite some time, because by the time I got up, the sun had already gone down. Glancing around for a bit, I noticed that I really was alone. Knowing the others, they had probably gone to the farmhouse ahead of me and were probably waiting for me. They might have also left earlier than expected because they might have wanted to give me some alone time with Donnie.
Looking up, I saw a vast number of stars dancing across the skies with the moon in clear view. One star in particular caught my attention. It was a shooting star.
Quickly closing my eyes, I made my wish.
"I've never been one to believe in you, but if you really do exist, can you please help me to be the friend, son, and brother that I know I can be?" I whispered softly as I opened my eyes.
Watching as the star zoomed through the skies then slowly faded away, I gazed at his unmarked grave that rested underneath an oak tree. As a gentle and cool breeze began blowing around me, stirring the orange, yellow and brown leaves spread throughout the lawn, I walked back to the house, knowing that things were beginning to look up. Even though life had dealt me a fair share of hardships, there were people who loved me and needed me.
There wasn't any need for me to keep living life in the past when I had the future ahead of me.