A/N: Man, I am just rolling through brotherly love oneshots... maybe it's because I'm leaving for college soon, and I'll be leaving my younger siblings behind... meh. Whatever. Anyway, here's another story for y'all! Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: Story - mine. Turtles - not mine. Unfortunately.

He groaned as awareness returned to his body in painful waves. Beneath his cheek, he could feel a rough stone surface. He tried to roll over off his side, but the immediate burst of pain stopped him. He sucked in a little air through clenched teeth, thinking of all the standard phrases he would mentally recite after every capture.

After a moment of concentration, he felt a slight bit of tension release from his body. Good. At least I can still remember who I am, despite all of the pain. He sighed, trying to remember what had happened to put him in so much pain.

He'd been out doing… something… what was it?…when he'd been ambushed by a group of men. He'd recognized them as some of Bishop's agents. He had fought them and was holding his own pretty well, but then one of them hit him with a tranquilizer dart. In less than thirty seconds, he was out.

Now he was here. Wherever here is, he thought grimly. He braced himself for a wave of pain, then pushed himself up into a sitting position. His vision went white for a moment, and he gasped for breath. What the shell happened to me? he wondered. When his vision cleared up, he glanced down at himself and nearly passed out again.

His legs were almost completely covered in blood. He could see several long gashes underneath the sticky substance. It seemed that they had pretty much stopped bleeding for the moment. One leg bent at an odd angle. From the constant throb of pain, he knew it was broken. His plastron was also covered with blood, caused mainly from a gash near the top of his plastron. Judging from the way it hurt to breathe, he was pretty certain that he had a few broken ribs. His left arm also bent at an awkward angle, and his right shoulder felt like it might be dislocated.

So, all in all, it could be worse, he thought wryly. He winced as a wave of pain and dizziness swept over him. Or not.

He slowly drug himself over to a wall only a few feet away. He wearily leaned back against it and looked over at the door on the opposite wall. They'll come for me through there. They'll come, he thought.

He thought of what his brothers would do. Master Splinter would be the first to sense something wasn't right. Eventually, when he didn't return, they'd go out and look for him, most likely following the normal route he took when he surfaced. They'd stumble across the alley and see the signs of a fight. There'd be a lot of blood - he'd created quite a mess before they'd been able to subdue him. He wasn't sure if he had been cut up there, so there might be even more blood there than he remembered.

They would spread out, searching the entire alley for any signs. They'd find the piece of his bandana that a lucky soldier had been able to cut off, missing his neck by millimeters. Then they'd see his weapons, lying useless on the cold, hard ground, left there when he had lost consciousness. He hoped they would pick them up and take them with them. Those were his most prized possessions.

Then they would figure out someway to track him. There was probably a tracking device planted under everyone's skin for such an occasion - it wouldn't be that surprising. They would come here, sneak in, rescue him, then bust out, and everything would be okay. It always was.

He sat there for a long time, slipping in and out of consciousness. He had no way to judge the time - it felt like he'd been in there for days, but it could have been mere hours. He never once heard anyone pass by the door, and after awhile, he wondered if everyone had simply forgotten about him.

He tried to pass the time by thinking of all the grandiose ways that his brothers would rescue him. Suddenly a painful memory flashed across his memory, and he sat up a little bit.

They'd all had a big fight just before he left. It had started as a small spat between two of them, but before long, all of the turtles were involved. They had all yelled at each other, and a few punches had even been thrown. Then the others had stormed off in separate directions, leaving him in the middle of the living room alone, angry and shocked by what had just happened. He had decided to go topside to blow off a little steam, maybe bust a few heads, buy a pizza, and hopefully bring his brothers together for a meal so they could reconcile.

They don't even know I'm gone. They probably won't notice for a long time, he thought sadly. He started shivering slightly. The temperature of the room seemed to have dropped drastically since he first woke up, but he knew better. By the way he felt, a fever was beginning to set in. They're not going to come, he thought weakly, leaning back against the wall.

He closed his eyes and attempted to clear his mind for meditation. He succeeded for a few moments, and was shocked to sense another presence reaching for him. Stay awake, bro, a familiar voice whispered in his head. He moved slightly, and pain flared throughout his body, breaking his concentration and the connection to the familiar presence. Despite the pain, he couldn't help but smile.

They were coming. They wouldn't leave him to die in this miserable place alone. He weakly lifted up his left hand and stared at it. Underneath the blood, he knew there was a razor-thin scar - a scar that each turtle shared. As he let his hand drop back to the ground, he let his mind wander back to the day when they had become blood brothers…

"I don't believe it!"

Leo glanced up from his position on the floor of the dojo. Through the doorway, he spotted Don rushing towards him, a book in his hand. He had tears in his eyes, which startled Leo. At eleven years of age, each of the four turtles had agreed that they were getting too old to cry. He stood, ignoring the soft pops in his joints of his legs. "Donny, what's wrong?" he asked as Don entered the dojo.

"Look!" Don replied, thrusting the book under his beak.

Leo blinked and took the book from his brainy brother. A lot of the words were rather lengthy, and although Leo didn't mind a challenging book to read… this was just too much. "Don, I can't read this," he admitted softly.

"Ignore all the big words. Look at the last sentence of the third paragraph," Don told him, waving a hand in exasperation.

Leo focused where his brother had told him to. His forehead wrinkled together. "'It is a commonplace misconception that pet shop turtles are biologically associated,'" he read aloud. He glanced back up at his brother. "So? What's wrong with that?" What does that even mean?

"That means we aren't really brothers!" Don exclaimed, the tears threatening to return.

"What're you talkin' 'bout?" Raph suddenly demanded from the doorway. They turned and saw Raph and Mikey staring at them. Mikey looked confused; Raph looked mad. "Course we're brothers! Splinter said so!"

And if you believe it, then it must be true, Leo longed to say. He wisely held his tongue, however. Raph still shot him a mini-glare, as if daring him to say something.

"Not blood brothers," Don replied quietly.

"Yeah, we are," Mikey shot back. His voice wavered as his gaze moved from Don to Leo. "A-aren't we?"

Leo glanced back at the book and read a little further into the next paragraph. "According to this, the chances us being related are atromonical," he said slowly.

"Astronomical," Don automatically corrected glumly. "It means that the odds are really, really high against us being related," he explained, seeing the confused looks on their faces.

"So what? I don't care what some dumb book says," Raph muttered crossly, folding his arms huffily across his chest.

Leo could see Mikey's blue eyes welling. "I don't wanna be not brothers," he whispered as a tear leaked out of his eye.

"My sons, it is time for your training," Splinter called, stepping from his room. Mikey hastily rubbed his eyes, and Leo gave the book back to Don, who quickly stowed it away. The subject was dropped - for the moment.

"Sensei? May I come in?" Mikey called later that night in a small voice after tapping on the door to Splinter's room.

Splinter moved to the door and opened it. "Of course, my son," he said gently, seeing the depressed look on his youngest's face. Mikey immediately rushed in and grabbed his father around the waist and broke down.

Splinter was shocked at Mikey's behavior, but he gently guided the young turtle to the bed so they could sit. "Michelangelo, what is wrong? What has gotten you so upset? Have you had a nightmare?" he questioned gently, pulling the turtle into his lap.

Mikey sniffed and looked up at the rat with tears in his big blue eyes. "Donny showed us a book earlier today. It said… it said that we couldn't be brothers. The chances are ata… atro… really, really bad against it."

Splinter sighed internally. He knew of the book that Donatello had been reading, and he had wondered when this subject was going to come up. "Michelangelo, do you believe you and Donatello are brothers?"

"Y-yeah," Mikey replied softly, hiccupping. "But…"

"But what, my son?" Splinter queried.

"But the book said-"

"Michelangelo, if you truly believe in your heart that you, Raphael, Donatello, and Leonardo are brothers, then you are. There are people in this world that are related by blood, but are by no means siblings," Splinter told him gently.

Mikey snuggled closer to his father. "Ink ny osn lee n art," he said into Splinter's robe.

"Pardon?" Splinter asked.

Mikey leaned back. "I think Donny doesn't believe it in his heart," he whispered, rubbing his eyes. "At least, not no more."

Splinter was silent for a moment as he rocked Mikey in his arms. He could feel the small turtle gradually relaxing in his arms. "I think I know how to resolve this dilemma," he said finally.

"R-really?" Mikey exclaimed, looking up at him with tired but eager eyes.

Splinter nodded, easing Mikey down onto his bed. He stood and walked over to a small bookshelf he kept in his room. Peering for a moment at the books, he gave a soft cry of triumph and pulled an old black one off the shelf. He made his way back to his bed, thumbing through the pages. Mikey watched in silent curiosity as Splinter muttered to himself, pausing every now and then to glance at a page, then shaking his head and continuing further into the book. "Ah, here it is!" he exclaimed finally.

"What? What is it?" Mikey demanded immediately.

Splinter smiled and handed him the book. Mikey looked at the large black letters written at the top of the page. "'The Blood Brother Ritual?'" he said after a moment of silently sounding it out. He still had a difficult time reading.

"Yes. I believe this is the solution to the problem we are facing," Splinter replied, taking the book back from Mikey.

"What's it do?"

"Basically, those who wish to become blood brothers must make an incision on their hands, then shake, thereby mixing their blood together. This results in the formation of blood brothers," Splinter explained gently.

Mikey's face lit up. "Really? So Me 'n Don 'n Raph 'n Leo could be real brothers again?" He squealed in delight when Splinter nodded. "Could we do it tonight? Please, please, please, please?" the young turtle begged.

Splinter paused for a moment, then smiled. "I see no reason why we could not," he said.

Mikey whooped and ran back out to main room of the lair. "Guys, guys, guys!" he called loudly, trying to draw the others from wherever they were. "Guys, come quick!"

"Wha's th' problem?" Raph demanded sleepily, emerging from the room he and Mikey shared. "I'm tryin' to sleep."

"Yeah, Mikey, what's going on?" Leo added, stifling a yawn as he and Don stuck their heads out their bedroom door.

"Sensei's got a way to make us real brothers again!" Mikey exclaimed excitedly. The others, even Raph, perked up.

"Really?" Don said hopefully. Mikey nodded enthusiastically.

"Come on!" he cried, heading back into Splinter's room. The rest of the turtles were close behind him.

Splinter had already set out four mats. A small bowl of incense was set before each mat, sending thin spirals of smoke lazily upward and filling the room with a rich scent. The turtles immediately knelt down. Splinter stepped forward, holding a small, intricately decorated dagger. Their eyes widened as they looked at each other; they had never seen Sensei use that dagger before - it was much too sharp and dangerous. They each waited in respectful silence, sensing the deep importance of this ceremony.

"You have gathered here to implement the Blood Brother Ritual," Splinter said in a solemn voice. "If any of you do not wish to continue, you must leave now."

"No way!" Raph blurted. He immediately covered his mouth, embarrassed. He bowed his head. "Sorry, sensei."

Splinter smiled. "It is all right, my son. I trust the rest of you feel the same way?"

The others nodded. "We'll do whatever it takes to be brothers, Sensei," Leo spoke up. "Right, guys?"

"Right!" came three eager voices.

Splinter felt his throat close slightly as pride swelled within him. Seeing his sons longing to be a true family touched him deep inside. "Very well, then," he said. "Let us begin. First of all, assume the lotus position." The four turtles complied. "Now, I need you all to relax. Just as in meditation, let go of yourself. Focus on what you desire for your brothers."

Silence fell over them for a few minutes as each turtle closed their eyes, bowed their head, and thought of what they wanted for the rest. Finally, after a long moment, Splinter said, "Very good, my sons. I can sense the connection you have, and I know that it is strong. Now, let us continue."

He stood, drawing the dagger from its sheath. They stared as the soft candlelight glinted off the blade. "The next step is the main part of the ceremony. It may cause some pain."

"We're ready!" Don said confidently. His brothers nodded.

"All right. Michelangelo, I will start with you," Splinter replied, moving in front of the orange-clad turtle. "Please hold out your left hand, palm up." Mikey obeyed immediately, looking excited and happy at the prospect of becoming blood brothers. Splinter gently took his small green hand in one paw and held the dagger over the palm. With one last glance at his son, he drew the dagger across the skin. Even though he had only applied a little pressure, the blade was sharp, and the wound began to bleed a lot. Mikey didn't even flinch.

"Your turn, Raphael," Splinter said, moving over to the next turtle.

Soon each turtle had their left hands extended. Blood was beginning to drip onto the mats. "Now, you must clasp each other's bloodied hands tightly. Take turns with each other, so that all of your blood will mingle together," Splinter instructed.

They obeyed. "You okay?" Leo asked in a whisper as he squeezed Mikey's bleeding hand with his own.

Mikey grinned, ignoring the needles of pain. "Never better!" he replied.

"Now we get to prove your book wrong, Donny," Raph pointed out as he clasped the purple-clad turtle's hand. Don grinned broadly.

"This is kinda cool," Don said as he grasped Mikey's hand.

"Yeah, it is," Leo agreed, squeezing Raph's hand firmly. Splinter sat back and watched them, a very happy smile on his face.

"Last one," Mikey said, grabbing Raph's hand.

"Now we really are brothers," Leo exclaimed, linking hands with Don.

They all turned and put their bleeding hands in a stack. As Splinter approached with bandages, Mikey proclaimed, "I'm glad you guys are my blood brothers."

"Me, too!" the others chorused.

"We'll always be brothers," Leo finished, looking each one in the eye. "Always."

He smiled weakly. They'll come. We are blood brothers. No matter what - we are brothers.

Gradually, his stream of thoughts grew smaller and smaller as he started slipping back into unconsciousness again. Then, through the dark mist, he could hear the sounds of battle. He sensed light falling on him as a door opened wide and heard a trio of voices scream his name. Forcing his eyes open a crack, he could see three blurred figures moving toward him. "Oh, shell," one whispered. "Is he-?"

Fingers fluttered over his neck. "He's still alive," another replied. "But he's in really bad shape - we gotta get him outta here."

"Hey, can ya hear me, bro?" the third chimed.

He took a breath and attempted to speak. "Knew… y-you'd… c-come," he whispered hoarsely.

"Shh, save your strength, buddy - you're gonna need it," his second brother replied.

"Came… c-cuz… bl-blood br-brothers," he finished weakly.

"Y-yeah," his third brother replied in a choked voice. The voice started to fade into the black that was claiming his mind. "Cuz we're bl… …thers. Don'… forget…"

"We… lways be br… Always," came the first brother's voice.

As the darkness claimed him, he smiled. He was with his family. Nothing else mattered at the moment. They were together - they always would be.

A/N: I honestly have no idea if that is what you would really do during such a ceremony, but I've read a few books where they have something similar. I tried to make it my own, for personal as well as legal purposes. And as for the ending... you can decide who was the turtle that was captured, and whether he lived or died. I did write this story with one turtle in mind for being captured, so let me know who you think it is - I'd love to see if I managed to fool anyone... or described the turtle in such a way that it's obvious. Either would be good, I suppose... thanks again, and I'm sure I'll see you all again very, very soon! (Especially at the rate I'm pumping out oneshots...) Ciao!