All right... this is my first real angsty fic... I debated long and hard about making this a two-shot, but decided just to leave it at one. Names are mentioned later, in dialogue - never in narration. There is character death in this... yes, I know a lot of these have been popping up lately... guess I thought I'd join them...
The chunks in italics take place in the past. Normal text is present. If you have any other questions/comments, please let me know!
Disclaimer: I don't own them, blah, blah, blah.
He crouched at the edge of the high-rise apartment's roof and stared out at the city. The lights hadn't changed, but somehow, they seemed dimmer. It hadn't even been a full week, and already the world seemed bleaker without him.
Him. His brother. His eyes burned at the thought of him. He could even say his name anymore.
His fists clenched hard, the skin on his knuckles going from dark green to almost white. Why him? Out of anyone in the world, why him? His brother was dead. And it was all his fault. If he hadn't been so foolish…
He closed his eyes as the painful memories overwhelmed him.
The fight had been going well. The Dragons were starting to retreat. They had split up into pairs to chase them. He and his brother chased a small group of thugs into an alley. They joked good-naturedly as they ran.
"Pick it up, bro! You're the one who gives turtles such a bad rap!"
"As if! If you were moving any slower, you'd be going backwards!"
They spotted a few figures up ahead. "Check it out, dude! Looks like they've got nowhere left to go!"
"Come on, let's finish this and get back to the others."
He slammed a fist into the wall, relishing the physical pain. Maybe if he had stopped for a minute to plan…
"Seems like this gets easier all the time, doesn't it?" he asked as another Dragon fell to the ground with a moan of pain. His brother merely flashed him a grin, kicking a thug into a nearby pile of trash.
His throat closed up - that grin would be forever etched into his memory - a painful reminder of things that had been about to go horribly wrong.
He suddenly froze when he heard an ominous "click" to his left. He slowly turned as a figure appeared from behind the dumpster.
Why - why - why hadn't he been more careful? Why hadn't he checked his surroundings?
His grip on his weapons instinctively tightened as the punk pointed the gun at his heart. "Gotcha, freak," the kid growled, squeezing the trigger. He tensed and closed his eyes as the gunshot roared in his ears. He heard someone call his name and braced for the painful impact of the bullet hitting his flesh.
He fell to his knees, ignoring the gravel digging into his legs, tears flowing down his face. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't stop the memories from coming.
There was a surprised gasp of pain, then a hollow "thunk" as lead made contact with shell. Shocked silence fell over the alley for a moment, and he opened his eyes.
He watched in horror as his brother fell to his knees in a sick slow motion. "No!" he screamed, rushing forward and catching him before he completely collapsed. He stared at his brother, paying no mind to the retreating footsteps of the terrified thugs. All he focused on were his brother's eyes, watching the sparkling, sapphire-colored gems glaze over.
Those eyes… there had always been such life and laughter in those eyes…
His eyes moved down toward the wound. His breath caught in his throat when he saw the hole in his brother's chest. Blood gushed from the wound, staining the ground beneath them a deep crimson. He quickly pulled one of his elbow pads off and pressed it to his brother's chest. His eyes moved back up to his brother's face. Blood trickled out in a steady stream from the corner of his mouth. He locked eyes with him. "R-Raph," he groaned.
"I'm here, Mikey," he choked out, grabbing his hand. "I'm sorry."
"For getting you into this," he replied, reaching for his shell cell. He pressed a button that would send an emergency signal to the others. Then he put more pressure on the wound. "Why? Why'd you do it?"
He punched the wall again. The skin broke, and blood ran from his knuckles. He ignored the pain, silently fuming in despair. That bullet should be lodged in his shell, not his little brother's - he'd been the stupid one…
"You would've done the same for me," came the gurgled reply.
His brother was right… he knew without a doubt that he or any of his family would have done the same thing.
"You just sit tight, bro. Don and Leo will be here soon, and then we'll fix you up," he said hurriedly, struggling to keep his tears held back.
His brother looked up with pain-filled, understanding eyes. "Raph," he whispered simply, the horrible knowledge evident in his voice.
He cursed under his breath. Why did his usually dumb brother have to be so smart sometimes?
He pulled out a sai and stared at it. The idea came at him for about the hundredth time in three days, and he pointed the tip toward his chest. Maybe he could carve his heart out… so it wouldn't hurt so much… make it break into a tiny million pieces to match how he felt…
"Raph," his brother gasped again.
"Shh. Could you stop talking for once in your life?" he snapped, sounding a little harsher than he had intended.
His brother smiled faintly. "Raph… l-listen for once. You've got to promise…"
His grip on his sai tightened. If only the others could have come ten minutes sooner… maybe he would still be…
"P-promise what?" he choked.
His brother's breaths were fewer and more ragged. "P-promise to… keep living," he gasped. "For me."
"Mikey, you're not-"
"Promise me!" his brother whispered harshly. His grip on his brother's hand tightened as tears now flowed freely down his cheek. "Please."
He blinked fiercely, the tip of the sai now shaking over his wrist. His brother had known - he'd known…
His heart thudded in his chest. He didn't think he could keep living with out his baby brother. It hurt too much.
His brother stared up at him with glazed eyes. He felt his heart break, and he gulped. The words stumbled off his lips. "I - I p-promise."
He silently sheathed his sai.
His brother sighed, a small smile on his face. "Tell the others, too."
"You can tell them yourself," he replied fiercely, tightening his grip on his brother's hand. Any tighter, and he'd start breaking the bones.
He'd still had hope… even though he had known in his head… his heart had still hoped…
"P-please, R-Raph… d-don't do that," his brother said sadly, squeezing his hand. "You know… I won't…"
"Oh, Mikey… I - I just…"
"It's not your fault," his brother replied. His face suddenly twisted in pain for a moment. "R-remember - you promised," he whispered finally. "Don't m-make me h-haunt you."
A lump formed in his throat. His brother had still been cracking jokes…
"I won't. I promise." He paused for a moment, then said softly, "I love ya, bro."
His brother's eyes started to flutter shut as he smiled faintly. Then they heard a faint voice call, "C'mon, we're almost there!" His brother forced his eyes open one last time.
He glanced up as a pair of shadows fell over them. "No!" the figures cried, leaping down towards them.
"Love ya… too," his brother suddenly breathed. He looked back as his brother went limp. The pain and tension left his face, leaving a small, contented smile playing at his now-frozen lips. He stared in shocked silence as cries of sadness and anger echoed in his ears. Just like that… just like that…
He was gone.
Gone. Gone. The word echoed in his head. Gone… but not forgotten. Never forgotten. He lifted his eyes back up toward the city. The lights sparkled like tiny jewels in the distance. He sighed as he looked out at them, reminded of a pair of sparkling sapphire eyes, dimmed too quickly and too soon.
His heart was still heavy with grief and guilt. If he hadn't been so foolish… if he had only taken a little more time… the emotions almost overwhelmed him. Tears flowed down his face as a breeze gently caressed his body, ruffling the ends of his mask. It almost seemed as if the air was whispering to him… a haunting, heartfelt phrase…
For the first time in three days, a hint of a smile played at his lips. "Yeah," he whispered to the wind. "I promise. I promise."
A/N: So... how was it? Please review! I need to know if I'm any good at this sort of thing...