A/N: This is it ppl...the last chapter. I'm actually finishing a story!! :D Please review and let me know how you liked it!!
I'd come to just in time to see Leo run his sword through Sheer, and watched in shock as his body had tumbled what must have been 20 stories to the ground. I sat, motionless as Leo went to kneel by a body, which until that point, I hadn't noticed. Assured by the sounds of breathing coming from Raph, I left his side and went to join my oldest brother, confused by the despair and utter hopelessness coming from him.
My eyes went to Mikey, my only little brother. I glanced between his body and Leo's face a few times before almost diving to the ground, feeling for a pulse. I sat there, holding my breath, becoming more and more hopeless every second.
Then I felt it- one beat…then another.
It was slow and weak, but it was there. "Leo, he's alive." I gasped, letting out the breath I hadn't realized I was still holding.
Leo's expression still didn't change.
"Leo, did you hear me?! He's alive."
Slowly, he shook his head. "But he's not there."
My face contorted in confusion and I felt my heart sinking. "What are you talking about?"
"Yeah, his body may still be alive, but Mikey is gone, Don. He's gone." He didn't raise his voice but the words felt like a slap in the face.
My analytical mind couldn't comprehend what he was saying. I was growing frustrated, angry with Leo for just sitting there. "There's a pulse, he's alive. What else is there?!"
"Don't you get it, Donny!?" Leo suddenly snapped, his black eyes meeting mine. "His mind, it's gone. Mikey isn't here anymore…" he stopped, looking away, too choked to continue.
"But what about the time you wouldn't wake up? We pulled you out of it. Why can't we do that for Mikey?"
"It's not the same. He's too far gone. It doesn't matter how much he wants to come back, he can't. He wouldn't be any more dead if he wasn't breathing…"
No… Leo couldn't be right. Mikey was gonna wake up, and everything would be back to the way it used to be… I found myself moving to sit next to Leo who was struggling to keep his tears from spilling over. All it took was one hand on his arm. The next thing I knew, his face was buried in my shoulder.
I don't know how long we sat like that, but it was a touch on my arm that brought me back to the present. I expected it to be Leo, but almost jumped when I saw Raph sitting next to us. How he found the strength to crawl over here, I don't know.
"What happened?" He whispered.
Leo's head snapped up and he pulled away, not noticing Raph's presence until then. He sniffed and quickly wiped his eyes. "Uh…" Leo started shakily and cleared his throat. "Sheer was going to attack me…Mikey jumped in instead."
Raph's face fell even more. "Is he-?"
"He's alive." I assured him.
"He's not coming back." Leo's voice cracked and he dropped his face into his hand.
"I don't…understand." Raph looked to me and I shook my head.
Being brain dead is something I can understand. I guess a massive trauma like whatever Sheer caused could have done that…but it still didn't make it any easier to accept that Mikey was gone…he was right here, breathing. He couldn't be gone…He just couldn't. I knew I wasn't going to accept it, not unless his heart stopped beating.
We sat in silence for what felt like hours. The chill of the wet night finally sunk in and I looked at my brothers. "We should start heading home…" I suggested quietly.
Leo quietly hefted Mikey into his arms and without a word, trudging slowly across the roof toward the fire escape. Raph and I shared a worried look before I helped him to his feet, supporting most of his weight as we started the longest journey we'd ever have to make.
The clouds were turning a dull red as dawn approached. We'd barely made it back to the sewer in time to avoid being seen by early morning commuters.
My side ached like it was on fire and I felt as lightheaded as I ever had, but somehow I stayed conscious through the trip. Donny may have carried me part of the way, however. I don't remember.
A few hours ago, I would have given anything to be back home. I was looking forward to how grateful I would feel to be back in the lair. Now, I just feel empty.
I expected to feel happy that Sheer was dead, but I really wasn't giving him any thought at all.
Mikey had always tried to guilt me by saying things like: you'll regret torturing me when I die! I responded by saying, 'let's find out.'
I didn't regret it…I didn't want to take any of it back. I just wanted him here so I could keep doing it. I knew that wasn't gonna happen.
Yeah, Donny says he's still alive, but Leo says he's gone, and I don't want to get my hopes up. Mikey was always the optimist…I was going to keep being the pessimist.
I didn't realize we'd reached the lair until Donny pulled the lever to open the door. I almost felt like resisting as he supported me inside. Out there was where we fought. Coming back here meant it was over…there wasn't anything else we could do.
"My sons." Our hanging heads snapped up. Master Splinter was standing in the middle of the lair, looking more concerned than I'd ever seen him.
Leo glanced back at Donny and me and we took the hint.
"I'm gonna…fix Raph up." Donny mumbled quickly.
My body decided I'd abused it enough for one day. As soon as we reached his lab and I laid down, I was out.
My hands were shaking. I don't know if it was exhaustion or emotion. Silently, Master Splinter guided me to lay Mikey on a cot against the wall. It was the same one I'd spent so much time in over the last few weeks…
My mouth didn't seem to want to work. I don't know what I'd say. I had a feeling Sensei already knew everything I would tell him anyways. In despair, I sunk to the floor. I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up into Sensei's eyes. I had hoped that he would give me a
different explanation than the one I had come up with, but his expression was telling me just the opposite.
For the first time since I was a little kid, Sensei put his arms around me while I cried.
I must have fallen asleep there, because the next thing I knew, Don was gently shaking me awake. Confused, I looked around. Splinter was gone and I was laying on the floor next to the cot. "Hm?" I mumbled.
"I need to look at your hand. Come on." He attempted to sit me up, my I hit his arm away. "Leo…" He sighed.
"Can't just leave him here…" I protested.
Donny cast his eyes to Mikey and back to me. He abruptly turned to leave and didn't come back for a minute. When he did, his arms were weighed down with blankets and pillows. Without a word, he carefully slid a comforter over Mikey's body and slipped a pillow under his head.
Then he sat down in front of me, "Tell me why you're giving up on him." He asked flatly, holding out a blanket to me.
I stared at him in shock for a second then painfully pushed myself up into a sitting position, taking the offered blanket and setting it in my lap. "It's not giving up, Don, it's just that…there's nothing to do."
"Why? What's so different about him that we can't bring him back when it worked on you?" His tone was bordering on anger. I knew he was just frustrated.
"Because I wasn't-…" I sighed heavily, struggling to string my thoughts together through all the emotions and pain. "Sensei could sense me. He could feel I was still there. Mikey just isn't there, Don. There's nothing to bring back."
"You…can't even try? Did Splinter try? I know you got this whole mind thing figured out more than us, but he's our Master for a reason."
"He just told me the same thing… where is he?"
"With Raph." Don whispered, staring at his hands.
"Don't, Leo." He warned. "We all went out there tonight to get rid of this guy because of what he did to you. Don't belittle his sacrifice by apologizing for it." Donny pulled over the last blanket where he'd tucked some medical supplies. "Give me your hand."
"So what's going to happen to him?" I asked quietly as he gently took my hand and started to clean it.
"How would I know?" Donny mumbled, running a gauze pad directly over the gash.
I winced and almost pulled my hand away. "From a medical standpoint, what do you think would happen?"
"His heart would stop beating, soon."
Silently, I nodded.
I suddenly felt totally alone. I was the only one mourning Mikey here. Donny still didn't believe he was going to die. Raph had his own problems. I was torn between spending Mikey's last moments by his side, or going to be by a brother who was struggling to pull through.
Clearly Donny was having similar thoughts. "I'm gonna move Mikey into the lab so I can keep an eye on all of you together, okay?"
"Yeah," I agreed absently. A few minutes later, we were all settled in Donny's lab. I was closest to Mikey, sitting on the floor. Don kept checking on Raph while Master Splinter sat in the middle, meditating. I fought to stay awake, to be with my youngest brother, but soon lost the battle as exhaustion took over and I fell asleep.
When I woke up again, only a single candle lit the lab. Donny was asleep next to me on the floor, tangled up in a blanket and mumbling incoherently. My eyes drifted up to land on Mikey. Panicking for a second, I sat up and pressed a finger against his neck.
There was still a slow pulse…I sighed in relief.
It shouldn't have made a difference…But I just couldn't let go yet.
What if I was wrong, Sensei too? It had happened before…sometime.
My heart started racing with the thought. What if he was there? It wouldn't hurt to try… I had to try. Glancing once at Donny to make sure he was asleep, I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, searching for that connection with my youngest brother.
'What are you doing?'
I jumped and my eyes snapped open…but I wasn't in the lair anymore. I was surrounded by blackness. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face, let alone who the voice had come from… "Wh- what?" This wasn't like any meditation I had done before…
'Come on, Leo. Are you serious?'
My eyes narrowed in confusion. What on earth-? The voice was different…it seemed to be more of my own thoughts instead of an audible sound. I spun around, but still, all I could see was black. "What's going on?"
The…voice, whatever it was, laughed…it was familiar… I turned once more and stumbled backwards in surprise as I came face to face with Mikey. How I could see him, and not myself, I have no idea.
"Holy-! Wh-…I-." I struggled to find words but couldn't.
'Well you came in here to find me, now you have. What did you expect to do?' He was smiling calmly, looking straight into my eyes.
"I-I…I wanted to bring you back." I stuttered.
"I don't want you to die, Mike."
'Well who wants anyone to die? It happens. Sometimes there's nothing you can do.'
"Yeah, but you're here…I thought you weren't…but you are. This means you can come back, right?"
My brother just looked at me for a few moments before speaking. 'No.'
"What?" I gasped. "Why not?"
'For the same reason you told Donny. You were right.'
"…then why are you here?" I asked quietly.
'Because you need to be okay with it.'
"With you dying?! No, Mike, no. How can you ask that?"
'Leo, this whole thing started because you couldn't let go of something that wasn't even your fault. This wasn't your fault, Leo.'
"But if I had just…"
'Go on. Just what?'
I opened and closed my mouth a few times, trying to answer. "I…don't know." I finished lamely.
'Exactly. You need to be able to accept the things you can't change, Bro. Don't make me regret saving you.'
A half sob/ half laugh escaped my throat. Mike was dying and he was still trying to joke with me…
'Promise me, Leo, okay?'
"But Don, he was-."
'He's scared he's going to lose you too. He's not blaming you… I'm not telling you you can't cry a bit. I know you have tear ducts in there somewhere, so use them. But you have to move on too.'
I nodded silently.
"Yeah…yeah, I promise."
Mikey grinned. 'Good…now get out of here, some people are waiting for you.'
"Wait, Mike…Thank you. I love you, Bro."
Mikey's smile softened. 'You too, Leo… Now you really have to go.'
I shook my head, I didn't want to go. But something was pulling me back. Mikey was drifting farther away… Blackness surrounded me again.
Slowly, my eyes fluttered open. I found myself lying on a cot in the lab. I could see Raph asleep in a similar one on the other side of the room. I couldn't remember how I'd gotten here. I felt like I was in a thick fog and my body was almost completely numb.
"Sensei, he's awake." I heard Donny's voice and a second later, Master Splinter was standing beside the cot. I could see Donny over his shoulder, but he didn't come any closer, staying a few feet back. It was his face that gave it away.
"My son…Michelangelo has passed. His heart stopped last night."
All I could do was stare. I knew it was coming, but that didn't mean it was any easier to hear. I nodded mutely. It was all I could manage.
Sensei put a hand on my shoulder and backed away, I guess to tell Raph.
Donny sighed and walked over to me, getting to his knees. "I'm sorry Leo…you were right."
I just shook my head and put out an arm, pulling him into a hug.
I closed my eyes to stop the tears from forming again, but could feel water dripping down my face…a lot of it, splashing down in waves and making it hard to breathe.
My eyes snapped open and I sat up, sputtering. I wasn't in the lab, I was on the couch in front of the TV. My hand was still bandaged, but other wounds had started to fade. I shook the nightmare from my thoughts and looked around for whoever had dumped the water over me and had woke me up from my nap.
The culprit tried to put on an innocent face, but the empty glass in his hand gave away the story.
I tore of my soaking mask, breathing hard. "I could kill you right now…" I muttered, wringing out the blue fabric.
"You had that dream again, didn't you?" Mikey asked, taking a seat on the armrest.
"How'd you know that?" I sighed, wiping the water from my face.
"Because if you hadn't, you would actually be trying to kill me instead of just threatening it."
"I think kill is a little strong…" I shrugged.
"That dream really freaks you out doesn't it?" Mike smirked, sounding amused.
"It's not funny." I glared at him.
"No, no, I get that. But I mean, I am alive, Dude."
"You told me you were going to die."
"Now why would I say that if I wasn't going to?"
I paused for a second. "…Because you're you."
"Touché, but seriously, that was all a part of your dream."
"No, when you woke up, I almost passed out in shock because you had told me you weren't coming back."
"You told yourself that."
"Sensei even said it!"
"There you go, it was all psychological. He never said it, you convinced yourself of it." Donny jumped in from the kitchen table.
"Whatever," I sighed. A week later and still we can't figure out how Mikey had miraculously woken up the night after the fight like nothing had ever happened. Donny wasn't so surprised, but Sensei and I were a little more than astonished. Raph was still out of it at the time, and had found out our littlest brother was alive by Mikey skipping over to him and waking him up. I think he gave Raph a minor heart attack.
"We wouldn't have been so surprised if we had known Mikey registers as brain dead even when walking and talking." Raph grumbled as he hobbled past the couch.
"And there are much easier ways of getting rid of those pesky extra pounds. You didn't have to go and get your stomach stapled." Mikey grinned, referring to the thick bandage that still covered Raph's midsection.
I couldn't help but smile.
"Ha! You can smile…" Mikey shouted, pointing at me.
"Yeah, yeah, I can also kick your sorry butt. What did you wake me up for?" I asked, still smiling and twisting the mask in my hands.
"Just wanted to see if you could. I was hearing these voices in my head and they told me you were in a coma-."
I whipped the mask out at him and heard a satisfying smack!
"Ow!" He jumped off the couch, rubbing the spot on his leg where he'd been hit.
I grinned. "Oh, we forgot to tell you. Klunk went kind of crazy, unsupervised as he was, and he destroyed all your comics."
Mikey narrowed his eyes and then smiled. "No he didn't. You think you got me… It's okay, it takes a while to get back into the pranking groove, Leo."
"Then what's this?" I asked, pulling out shreds of paper from under the couch.
He paled and instantly took off up the stairs.
"How long until he realizes those are from the newspaper?" Raph drawled, gingerly sitting down in an armchair.
I smirked, settling back onto the couch. "Until he accounts for all his comics."
It felt good to lay back and not worry about anything. I hadn't felt that way in years. The Shredder and Sheer were gone. Karai was still out there, but at this moment, I couldn't care less. After what we had just gone through, she was nothing.
I set out on this journey two months ago. I had wanted to redeem myself and save my family. Thinking I needed the redemption was what had started the problem. And really, my family isn't who needed the saving.
I think I've got my priorities straight. Number one is not to never ever let anyone into my head ever again- which presents a problem, because Mikey always tries. So that makes my number two priority to be a typical older brother and tease him mercilessly in retaliation. I can never stop worrying about my brothers or stop protecting them, and I am going to take the lead when there's trouble. That's just my nature. However I can certainly tone down the self blame and start putting it on someone else. That's what real brothers do, right?
So in the end it was my family who saved me. And you know what? I'm okay with that.
A/N: THE END!! ...unless you want something else...say a sequel?