Based on the challenge at Stealthy Stories. Here's the quote.

There are worst things you can do to the people you love than kill them. No matter how much you think you love somebody, you'll step back when the pool of their blood edges up too close.

Disclaimer: I only own the turtle's action figures. I stake no claim…

Beta: Mandy

Warning: CHARACTER DEATH!!!

Title: My Last Breath

Summary: Donatello comforts his brother with his last breath. 'It should be raining.'

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Raphael raised his eyes to the sky, watching what stars could be shown in the brightness of the city lights, wondering why the world wasn't mourning. So far he could only see one clearly. Which one was it? The North Star? He didn't know.

He would have asked Donnie about it; sure that he would know the answer. But now was not a good time, he thought as he stared down at the broken body in his arms. 'Yeah, definitely not a good time.'

Donatello gasped, his body shuttering from the pain and the cold. His plastron cut nearly in two, the blood pouring out faster than Raphael could block. His olive toned skin was now pale from blood loss. His teeth chattered and his "lips" were taking on a blue hue. But what pained Raphael the most, besides the horrible gash on his brother's chest, were Donnie's eyes, dull and unfocused. Raphael always remembered those eyes being bright and determined, that spark of intelligence and that hunger for knowledge almost blew him away daily, when he paid attention to it. And he feared he hadn't paid his younger brother a lot of notice these past few years.

He regretted it now and it was a lament that was deep and painful, for now it was too late.

It was only supposed to be a training run, not even a long one at that. Leonardo had been pleased by their training that morning that he thought his brother's deserved a break. Raphael had plans with Casey later in the night, so it was fine by him.

'I should have fought against this,' Raph thought, watching his brother struggle to take another breathe. 'I should have insisted we not run.'

But he knew that would have been futile. He sat there, listening to Don's labored breathing, the distant sound of clang and flesh hits, and knew that even if he had refused to go on the run, Donnie would have went anyway. It was just the way his purple-masked brother was. He knew Donnie hated the training, hated the fighting, but his love and concern for his family kept him from his pacifistic ways. Don would have gone on the run just to keep the peace in the family.

"Why do you always do this, kiddo?" Raph asked softly, his voice breaking slightly.

"I-I didn't…uuuh…mean too," Don gasped out. "I d-didn't see it coming…"

'No,' Raph thought, 'he wouldn't have.' Donatello was too busy making sure that Mikey was okay to have seen when the Purple Dragon sprang up before it was too late. Raph had seen Don raise his bo in defense belatedly, but the angle of the bo and the angle of which his assailant was coming at him made it useless. The katana cut the bo right in half along with Donnie's stomach.

"No, no…not that," Raph tried again, wiping the sweat off of his younger brother's forehead. "I mean, why do you always have put us before yourself? Don't you know we need you?"

"Y-yeah…" Donnie spoke softly, "I…remember when w-we went t-to d-different universes?"

Yeah, Raph knew. And he had nearly thrown up when he had heard Donatello's regale of his universe.

All he could do, though, was nod his head.

"D-don't let it be like that, Raphie…" The plea was evident in the dying turtle's voice, despite how harsh and deep it was. 'So unlike Donnie's normal voice…'

"I," Raph started, but found he couldn't get anything past the lump in his throat that had started to form when he saw Donnie cut down. He swallowed and tried again. "I don't know if I can promise that, kiddo. You are the one who keeps us sane…"

"No…" Donnie struggled to lift his head. Raphael quickly removed one of the arms that was holding his brother's body close to him to assist him. With Raph holding his head up, Donatello stared into his brother's eyes. "You l-listen to me, h-hot head. You will not g-give up on this f-family…y-you hear me?"

There was fire in his eyes that Raph had only seen when Donatello was talking about his latest invention, or a discovery that he had made.

Or when he stilled his brother's hand, when Raph realized he wasn't going to get his brother home in time.

Leonardo had ordered Raphael to grab Donnie and, "Run! Get him to Splinter! Now!" before moving the battle down to street level to give Raph and Donnie time to escape.

And Raph didn't think twice on the order. He lifted his lighter brother up and ran to the next rooftop. He had jumped, unscathed, for three buildings before a terrible pain ripped his ankle.

The memory of Donnie's body hitting the ground with a hard thud echoed in his mind. He saw only flashes right after that, the Dragon that had followed him perished before he could even blink, but it was too late. The damage had been done. The katana had sliced through his Achilles' tendon. He couldn't use his foot if he tried.

The next thing he knew he was down on the ground, cradling his brother's body to him. With the sound of battle now raging below, Raph knew the battle wouldn't end before it was too late for Mike and Leo to come and save Donnie's life.

So, with his younger brother in obvious pain, Raph was prepared to do what Donatello himself had shown him and end his brother's pain.

It had been Leonardo's insistence that Donatello teach all of his brothers how to "ease" one of their passings. The normally quiet turtle was adamantly against such a notion, for he couldn't bear to have to do it to one of his brothers, but he saw the reason behind it and taught the other three most reluctantly.

"You see right here," Donnie said as he grabbed Raphael's hand and pressed against his own neck. Raph remembered the feel of his brother's pulse under his fingertips. "This is your jugular vein. Cut that and you're dead in under three seconds."

Raphael had raised his sai shakily, hating himself for what he was about to do, tears in his eyes and his breathing harsh, and pressed the pointed tip against his brother's lifeline. But before he could speak, before he could even look into Donnie's face, he felt a cold hand cover his warmer one.

"Y-you don't h-have to," Donatello said, the sai against his throat making it even hard for him to speak clearly. But the look in his eyes showed everything Raphael needed to know.
Donatello was willing to live the rest of his final moments in agonizing pain, for the sake of his older brother's peace of mind.

It broke Raphael's heart into a million pieces. For as honorable he had once thought he was, he took the cowards way out and stayed his hand.

And now his was holding his dear brother in his arms, taking comfort from the one person he should have been comforting.

"It's so hard, Donnie," Raph answered him, "Me and Leo can't stand each other most of the time, and Mike hides from what bothers him. He won't handle our fighting without you."

"You can," Donnie said simply, as if he wasn't about to die. "You and Leo need to make amends w-with what ever it is that keeps you t-two at odds. A-and Mikey w-will weather it…you just n-need to remind him how g-great he is."

"But-"

"N-no." The voice was soft but firm. "You can, and you will."

"Okay, okay, brain," Raph said, giving him a small smile. Donnie may be the quiet one, but he had a temper to him once he got started. "I'll try."

Don gave a half smile, his eyes slowly losing the fire that burned so brightly a moment before and it made Raphael want to scream. But he bit his lip and held it in. Donnie lifted his head again, the fire returning just slightly.

"A-and you need to s-stop doin' t'at."

Raphael blinked. "Stop doing what?"

"K-eepin' wha' e'er you feel in-inside." Donnie head tilted to the side, losing control of his neck movements. "You have s-so m-much passion and feelin's in y-you, b-but you hide it in he'e." Don's arm lazily up to Raph's chest, but it slid down, limp. "T'at's why y-you a'e so ang'y. You n-need to let t'em out m-more of'en."

Raphael started crying. "God, I wish I was as smart as you."

Donnie gave a childlike grin, his face relaxing for a moment. "Can y-you d-do t'at for meh, Raph-ie. Can you f-feel f-for me?"

"Yeah, Donnie, I can feel for you. I can do anything for you!"

"'kay…" Donnie closed his eyes, and his face tightened again as the pain rose. His breaths grew shorter, but his chest started to convulse, the pain was wearing on his poor body.

Donnie opened his eyes again and stared blankly at the sky.

"I h-hurt, Raph-ie."

And with that, Raphael knew it was time to let go. He picked up his abandoned sai. It felt lighter than before. Or perhaps it was because Raphael himself felt lighter. But what ever it was, the job that was mercilessly placed in his hands became less of a burden and more of a…favor?

Donnie didn't deserve the pain he was in, but he had given his brother enough time to let go before it became too much.

So Raphael again placed the sai to his brother's neck.

"I love you, bro."

A whimsical look crossed Donatello's face.

"I love you, t-too," Donatello replied with his last breath.

And with that, the sai pierced the lifeline of his brother, and in one…two…

Donnie was gone.

A scream of sorrow tore out of the red-masked turtle's mouth as the body of his beloved brother grew limp.

A few minutes had passed since he took his brother's pain away, and he could vaguely recall the sound of the battle die and the presence of his two remaining brothers' stand off in the distance, but he was looking at the sky with renewed interest.

Cloudless. Clear. One lone star shining down.

'It should be raining.'

Fin

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6/5/07 - Edited to fix my grammical mistakes and such. Thank Mandy!