Author: Stormy1x2 (travelingstorm)
Warning: Fluff, sap, angst
Word Count (fic portion): 3126
Notes: part of LJ's fanfic100 themes, prompt 30: death
More Notes: As per the new new movie, Mikey's eyes are blue.
Raph almost didn't recognize it when it happened again. He came home late after a night out with Casey, busting Dragon skulls and leaving random thugs for the police to find. Stopping to get a bottle of water from the fridge, he would normally have continued on to his bedroom for some much-needed sleep, but he could hear noises coming from the main room of the lair. Someone else was up.
Scanning the room, he was surprised to see it was Mikey, pounding away on Raph's punching bag. Raphael was a little protective of his bag – God knew he kept destroying it on a regular basis, reducing the leather bag to a patchwork of duct tape in various colors. He didn't need any help with that.
"You break it, you better fix it, chucklehead," he growled. The growl was mostly for show – he was too relaxed from a productive night. Mikey didn't answer him though, and that surprised him. "Mikey?"
He came closer until he could more clearly make out Mikey's features in the dim lighting, and he gaped. Silent tears were streaming down Mikey's face, his face contorted in a twist of rage and fear and desperation. His moves were whisper-quiet, no more sound then the rush of air as his arms and legs moved like lightening, but the dull, heavy thud as he hit the bag; the light clanking of the chain cabling it to the ceiling gave away just how much energy he was expending.
Raphael stepped forward to lay a hand on his brother's shoulder, and then he stopped, his hand inches away. He focused on Mike's eyes – dull, blank, unseeing,
Raph blinked. Mikey was sleepwalking? Or was this sleep-training? It would almost be amusing, except he could remember the last time Mikey sleepwalked his way around their old lair. He only did it when something truly troubled him, something so bad that all the jokes in the world couldn't make it better.
The last year had certainly been grounds for a few nightmares, but Mikey had never given any sign that he was still troubled by their past dealings with the Foot, Shredder or Karai. Their time on the Triceraton home world hadn't been so bad – they'd all been together, at least, and they'd made good friends in Traximus and Monzaram. Even his nightmares about Bishop had been handled – a few sleepless nights and meditation rounds with Splinter had had all of them sleeping like babies after a week or two.
Was it something recent? Raphael stepped back out of Mikey's way, letting him work it out in his dreams as he wracked his brain, trying to think of anything recent that could have set this off. All that came to mind was the rematch Mikey'd had against Kluh the other day, but surely that wouldn't give him nightmares, would it? He'd won, for cripes sake.
Mikey's movements sped up, and sound finally broke free; harsh pants for air, soft grunts as he struck harder and harder at the battered leather. A thin cry erupted from his throat, gaining in its intensity; his punches were like battering rams, heavy and swift. Just as Raph was debating whether or not to try waking him up, Mikey screamed and dealt the bag a vicious roundhouse kick, actually tearing through the layers of duct tape and leather, sand falling like a torrent of rain on the cement floor. He sank to his knees, bringing battered hands up, knuckles bruised and bloody, to cover his face.
Raph knelt down beside him, both worried and oddly fascinated by the display of power shown by his sibling, and wondered what had brought it on. "Mikey, you awake?"
Silence reigned for a minute, broken by harsh pants for air. "...I think so," came the tired, despondent reply. "God, I hope so."
"Come on, get up," Raph said gruffly, gripping his brother by the arm and gently – for him – tugging him up. Mikey let himself be led, wrapping his arms around himself as though warding off a chill only he could feel.
Raph had questions, but as he looked his weary brother over, he decided to give Mikey a chance to regroup. Sitting Mikey on the sofa, he went to the bathroom and fished around the cupboards for the basic first aid kit. Usually any serious injury meant a trip to Donnie's infirmary, but since the infirmary also doubled as a lab, it meant alerting Donnie to what was going on, and something inside Raphael was telling him Mikey wouldn't be very happy if anyone else saw him at that moment.
Cleaning and bandaging Mikey's hands was simple. His brother watched him with dull eyes stripped of their usual enthusiasm and life, letting Raph manipulate his limbs without protest. Raph finished wrapping his knuckles and then set the rest of the supplies back in the box, resting back on his heels.
Mikey blinked at him slowly. "Well?"
"You gonna tell me what that was all about?"
Raph snorted and reached out, lightly whapping Mikey on his knee. It wasn't his head but it would do. "Wrong answer, dope."
"I figured as much." Raph sighed and stood up. Kicking the box out of the way, he plunked himself down next to his brother. "You used to sleepwalk as a kid when you had nightmares. Master Splinter said you were trying to run away from them."
Mikey scowled at his bandaged hands. "Well, I don't remember this happening when I was a kid."
"That's 'cause this time you were sleep-training," Raph told him. "Don't you remember? You beat the shit outta my bag."
"I did?" Mikey craned his head around and stared in wide-eyed amazement at Raph's dying punching bag, the sagging bottom draining all of the sand onto the floor, courtesy of the wicked looking slash ripped nearly all the way around it. "I did that?"
"Yeah, you did." Raph shrugged. "You can help me fix it later. I wanna know about this nightmare of yours. What was it about?"
It was like two, sky-blue security doors slammed shut right in front of him, Raph marveled. Mikey's normally open and carefree expression was shuttered, filled with shadows, his mouth a taut, grim line of determination. "Nothing."
"Like I'm gonna believe that."
"Like I care," Mikey shot back and got to his feet. Or, at least he tried. Raph yanked on his wrist, dragging him back down, and Mikey landed half-slumped over. "Ow!"
"You big baby," Raph said mildly. "Now, spill it."
"Maybe I don't have anything to spill."
"More like you don't wanna spill it," Raph countered. "Look, something's wrong, and for once I didn't cause it. In case you haven't noticed, I'm actually trying to help you."
Mikey considered that for a long minute, before casting a wary look at him. "You mean, you're actually concerned?"
"Stranger things have happened."
"Don't make me ask you again."
Mikey waited another minute, just long enough to make Raph growl at him; then he leaned forward, bracing his forearms against his knees, letting his head hang a bit. He closed his eyes, letting a long sigh escape him, exhaling slowly. "I was dreaming about my match with Kluh," he admitted quietly.
This time it was Raph's turn to blink. "But you won."
"Yeah," Mikey snorted. "Sure."
Raph glared at him. "You certainly seemed happy enough about it yesterday."
"I was. I am." Mikey sighed again. "I just..." His voice trailed off.
"Just what?" Raph's patience was starting to wear thin.
Mikey sent him a nervous look. "I just...I..."
"Spit it out!"
Mikey's eyes flashed with indignation – and hurt, goddamn it – and he abruptly stood up again, this time wiggling his arm free of Raph's insistent grasp. "Never mind."
Ah, shell. Raph mentally smacked himself and stood up as well, flipping himself over the couch to land in front of his younger brother, preventing him from leaving. "Mikey, wait!"
"Let me go, Raph," Mikey said quietly, his eyes still shadowed with the remains of dark dreams. "I'll be fine in the morning, and we can forget this, okay?"
Raph shook his head. "Not okay, little bro. Look, I'm sorry. I'm tired, sore from a few lucky punches that some Dragons got in, and I found you ripping the shit out of your knuckles while dead asleep." He gestured with his head to the sofa. "Come on, sit down, and tell me what's going on inside that had of yours."
Mike opened his mouth to protest, but then closed it just as quickly. Raph took advantage of his momentary confusion and steered him towards the sofa. His younger brother allowed himself to be tugged along, docile as a lamb, which was a lot more worrying then he'd ever thought it would be.
On the sofa, a small shiver worked its way through Mikey's body, and almost absently, Raph grabbed the throw over the back and draped it over him. The feel of the soft fabric hitting his shoulders, driving away the chill, made him look up in dazed surprise. "Raph?"
"Yeah, it's still me. Man, you are out of it, aintcha?" Raph reclined against the couch, eyes fixed on Mikes. "Now spill your guts before I beat 'em out of you. What was up with that nightmare?"
Another shiver. Raph watched with narrowed eyes as Mikey's fingers tightened on the blanket wrapped around him, his head dipping down towards his plastron in an unconscious effort to hide. "...was Kluh..."
"Huh?" Raph leaned forward, straining to hear the softly uttered words.
Mikey tilted his head back up and gave Raph a sad stare. "I said, it was Kluh," he repeated. "From the fight the other day. When I won that rematch?"
Raph blinked, and then nodded slowly, amusement curling the lip of his mouth. "Dreaming about what would have happened if you'd lost?" He chuckled. "Kluh would'a turned you into a smear on the concrete."
Mike scowled and ducked deeper into the sofa cushions. "Not true."
"Mikey, you got the snot kicked out of you in those first few minutes. If the Daimyo's magic hadn't been screwed with, you would'a been 'ported outta there long before you did your little comeback."
Mikey's scowl deepened and he threw Raphael a deeply offended look. "Well, I'm glad you figured that all out for me, Raph. Don't know what I would have done without your insight." He stood up, trailing the blanket behind him for a minute before roughly shrugging it off, letting it fall back on the cushions with a nearly silent 'whuff' of air. "I'm going to my room."
"Hold up!" Raph growled and reached out to grab his arm again.
Mikey nimbly avoided the grab, and whirled around, glaring at him, fists tightly clenched. "What?"
"Sit down," Raph ordered him grimly, pointing at the sofa again. "Do not make me tell you again."
Mikey did, still scowling a bit, an expression that just did not seem right on the surfer turtle's face. Behind the look, a darkness lurked within blue eyes, filling them with shadows. Raphael wanted them gone.
His brother sat silently for a minute before he finally spoke. "My dream was about Kluh," he said quietly. "About what happened in the fight."
The urge to make a snide remark about Mikey getting his butt whupped was strong, but Raphael managed to wrestle it down. "Which part?"
Mikey's eyes were troubled. His hands began twisting the blanket. "When he was telling me stuff. About, you know, me, our family." He glanced up at Raphael. "He was threatening you guys."
Raph growled deep in his throat, an automatic response to a perceived threat against the clan. "Like what?"
Mikey closed his eyes. "He said I was the start. That he would destroy you, Leo, Donnie, Master Splinter – everyone. He wanted us all dead."
Raph breathed out slowly, a part of his mind idly wondering what it would take to get the Daimyo to sanction a match between him and Kluh. Just for, y'know, fun. "Mikey, don't you know by now we don't go down without a fight?" He nudged his brother. "And trust me – if you can beat the Barney look-alike, then I sure as hell can too. I don't think we need to worry about him and his family taking revenge on us."
But Mike as shaking his head, wide eyes fixed on Raph's. "I'm not worried about revenge," he said slowly.
Raphael blinked. "Then what the heck is it?" His brother's eyes slid away from his own. The blanket continued to twist within his hands. "Mikey?"
"I wanted to..." Mikey stopped, and took a deep breath. Then he turned his gaze back on Raph, his eyes almost pleading now. Raphael nearly reeled from the sheer intensity of his stare. "He wanted to kill you, Raph. Kill all of you." He swallowed hard. "I wanted to kill him."
"That's what brought me back into the fight," Mikey continued, gaining momentum, speaking quickly, as though if he didn't, he wouldn't be able to get the words out. "Kluh was threatening all of you, and I wanted to shut him up." The blanket was ripping a bit along the seams of the hemline. "I wanted to hurt him, stop him." Another hard swallow. "Raph, I wanted to kill him!"
For a split second, Raph imagined it – a blood-spattered Mikey standing victory over Kluh, the rage in his eyes over the threat to his family seeming so familiar. Then he shook his head. "Never happen."
Mikey blinked. "How do you know?" He shot back. "You can't read my mind, you don't know what I was thinking! I wanted to kill Kluh, take him out before he could even think of making plans for the rest of you!"
"Never. Happen." Raph repeated slowly. He tugged gently on the blanket Mikey was trying to rip apart and the younger turtle loosened his grip slightly. "You're not that kind'a fighter, Mikey. You couldn't kill anyone."
"I had him beat, Raph. I had my 'chucks in my hand and I wanted to bring them down on his head so badly--"
"But you didn't."
"I wanted to--"
"But you didn't!" Raph said loudly. Obviously Mikey wasn't listening to him, and so drastic measures were needed. Raph gave a mental sigh, thanking any and all deities that their other brothers were asleep, before reaching out and grabbing his sibling's bandanna tails, giving them a firm yank. Caught off-balance, Mikey fell back against his brother with a squawk, cut off in mid-protest. Before Mikey could push himself up, Raph had wrapped his arm around his shoulders, anchoring him there, acting as both a solid support – and an immovable guardrail against any escape attempts.
"Shut up and listen," Raph commanded softly. His palm lightly tapped the back of Mikey's skull in warning of things to come if he didn't. "You can sit here and think about all the should-a, could-a, would-a's until your brains leak out your ears, but that don't change what happened. And what happened, Mikey, is that you had the chance – and the right – to kill Kluh in that battle. Even the Daimyo agreed you had that right." He began a soothing rub of his brother's scalp, trying to ease away the tension. "But you didn't kill him, Mikey. You held Kluh's life in your hands, and you gave it back to him. Hell, bro – I don't think I could do that."
Mikey was quiet for a minute, digesting his words. "But it's still not right, Raph. Not to me. I wanted to hurt him – I could imagine what it would feel like, the sound of my 'chucks cracking his skull like an egg--" he broke off and buried his head in Raph's shoulder, tremors making their way up and down his frame.
"But you didn't," Raph repeated again. He would say it as many times as he needed to, to get his baby brother to actually listen. "You didn't, Mikey. You spared him."
"But I wanted--"
"Shut up." Raph lightly smacked the back of Mikey's head. "You know, you're right."
"Right?" Mikey's face lifted up, peering at him hopefully, and Raph pretended he couldn't see the telltale signs of tears drying on his siblings cheeks.
"When you said I couldn't read your mind," Raph clarified. "You're right. I can't do that." He reached over with his other hand and thumped Mikey's plastron, right over his heart. "But I know you here. I know this – this heart of yours, big as the frickin' planet, kid. There ain't a murderous bone in your body, so stop pretending there is." He smirked. "There's only room for one psycho in this family."
Mikey snickered. "That's true." Then he sobered, obviously thinking over his brother's words. Raphael only hoped they were sinking in this time. "Raph?"
"Thanks." Mikey looked up at him again. The serious expression was back, but the darkness Rah had seen earlier was disappearing, fading. It wasn't gone entirely, but Raph had a feeling it would be soon, as Mikey fully digested everything Raph had said, maybe even working out the last of it on Raph's punching bag. Well – after they repaired it, of course. "For listening, I mean." He smiled, and it made him look so young and innocent that Raph's own heart clenched. It was that look that reminded him just why he was so protective of Mikey, why he always did his best to spare his youngest brother from the harsh realities they faced. "You're really good at the whole motivational speaker thing, you know?"
Raph snorted. "I ain't looking to take Leo's place in that department, kid."
Mikey snickered, burrowing in closer. Raph let him cuddle, rationalizing that the younger turtle needed the comfort and no one would find out anyway, as long as he cut it off before morning.
Mike's breathing became soft and even as he fell deeper into sleep; hands that once clenched the blanket tight enough to rip the fabric now loosely gripping his brother's arm. Raphael stared down at the top of his brother's head, marveling at the show of open trust and affection. Of course, Mikey was like that to everyone, but it still always came as a surprise to him.
He bent his arm that was around Mikey's shoulders, just enough that he could rub Mikey's head, soothing him even in sleep. He would always protect Mikey, protect his family. That was a promise. Mikey snuffled in his sleep, and Raph grinned, shaking his head. Then he let himself drift off.
End Notes: Feedback always greatly appreciated.
Also, yes, I am aware that I have another fic that needs updating. I have spent the last few weeks traveling, both internationally, and domestic (flip-flopping around the damn country). This fic was written on numerous plane and bus rides. I update when I update. Stop shouting at me to get my ass in gear – that only makes me want to quit out of spite, got it?