Title: "What's Left of Me"
Author: Lola Hard
Timeline:TMNT 2003 cartoon
Rating: PG-13 (for implied violence)
Warnings:Major Spoilers! Based on the episode "Same As It Never Was" of 2003 cartoon (if you haven't seen it, please go and watch it first; otherwise, it won't make any sense). Unbetaed, sorry about the mistakes.
Summary: Coping with the consequences. It sure wasn't easy for any of them. How hard was it for Mikey? And how did it affect his family? Told from Mikey's and Leo's POV.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their copyright owners. No money gained, only fun.
A/N: Honestly, I never expected to write TMNT fanfiction, and I never expected that my first story would be angsty (I normally don't write angst)… But seriously, the SAINW episode simply stunned me; it practically blew up my mind. I'd like to dedicate this little fic to morning sun, the author of Book One, The Light in the Dark. I love this story, and it actually inspired me to start writing something of my own for this fandom. Wake up, my dear, I really miss your wonderful writing ;)
What's Left of Me
…I'm breaking down
Can't you see I'm dying
There's nothing left of me…
- (c) CORE "Slippin Away"
His body felt like one huge and clumsy wooden prosthetic device, with the only exception – it wasn't numb, it was aching like hell. His muscles were not responding to the commands of his brain the way he willed them to. The lone nunchaku in his only hand seemed alien, unfamiliar. Cold and heavy, like the rest of him.
He tried to spin it, and almost dropped it when the centrifugal force tugged the weapon from his fingers.
He stopped in the middle of the dojo with his eyes closed, breathing heavily and rubbing his forehead with his fingers. The action brought the weapon to his very face, and the warm smell of leather that was wrapped tightly around the nunchaku's handle invaded his lungs. He used to love it. At that moment he hated it. He used to be the fastest one, the impossible-to-catch one, the cheerful one. He was the Battle Nexus Champion… He had been reduced to a complete mess in a split second, with a single swipe of a thin and sharp strap of metal cutting through the skin of his left arm…
He clenched his teeth and stifled a sob that was strangling him from the inside. Then took a deep breath and clutched his weapon again, forcing his shaking muscles to obey and dropping into an unsteady battle crouch.
Now that Donnie was gone, he didn't want to be yet another loss. His family needed him. Leo, and Raph, and Splinter. He couldn't be a burden. If he wasn't a ninja, then he was nobody.
When he saw the light in the dojo, he thought it to be Master Splinter meditating, or Raph suddenly deciding to give some late-night attention to perfecting his fighting skills, which was rare, but not sensational. However, as he came to the half open door, he was stunned to see that it was neither of them.
Inside, in the uneven light of a lonely candle, with a nunchaku in his one remaining hand, moved his youngest brother.
It was painful to watch. The simplest of their usual katas was being performed shakily, doubtfully, with hesitation. The series of figures that were supposed to flow one into another were being cut in the middle for the sake of catching a shuddering breath, or preparing for the next shift of the trembling muscles. There was no strength or familiar rashness behind the moves. There was no control over body and weapon. There was no… light in those eyes.
Mikey wasn't wearing his mask, and it was truly uncommon, for they always put their gear on during training sessions. Somehow it made Mikey look even younger, even more naïve. And it stopped Leo from stepping out of the shadows and into the dim circle of candle light. Mikey wasn't expecting anyone to see him, and it would be a violation of his privacy to invade this moment of him picking himself up by pieces. And then it dawned on Leo that Mikey couldn't tie his mask around his eyes with only one arm left…
A dull thud coming from Mikey was like a slap for Leo. His youngest brother had made a mistake that resulted in the nunchaku slipping from his palm and landing a couple of feet away from its owner. Something that Leo hadn't seen in a long time. That's when the blue wearing turtle heard a soft rumbling growl behind him. And he knew that Raph was watching, too. Leo didn't have to turn around to know what was written on his hotheaded brother's face. Anger. He felt it, too. He felt everything, every unvoiced emotion inside their little family that was breaking down, bit by bit. It had started two years ago, when Donnie disappeared. They never found his body, and back then they still had a hope that somehow, someday, he would return and they all would be united and whole again. But Mikey's injury – real, evident, unfixable and irrevocable – had shattered that dream, and they all knew now that it really was the beginning of the end. They were not as strong as they used to be any more. So who would be next?
Mikey came over to his dropped weapon slowly, bent down and picked it up. He breathed in deeply and took a battle stance again, spinning the nunchaku stubbornly, clenching his jaw.
It was so painful to watch Mikey – the carefree fun loving boy – taking the weight of the world onto his shoulders. Their world. By being here, by doing this only a week after losing his arm, he was fighting not only for himself, but for their family. He was trying to chase away his weakness, to make himself fit again by the sheer force of will, while his body ached and protested, collapsed in denial. And still, he pushed himself further. He was Hamato after all.
Another series of moves – and another mistake. This time Mikey lost his balance, and started to fall to the left. Normally, he would have pushed off from the floor with his left arm and flipped through his head in mid-air, landing safely on his feet. Not this time. What was left of Mikey's left arm took his whole weight as he dropped face down to the floor heavily with a guttural groan of anguish.
Leonardo's heart clenched painfully in his chest. It was enough. This was only making things worse. This had to be stopped. He moved forward to help Mikey get up onto his feet, feeling Raphael follow him in a silent agreement. But a firm furry hand on Leo's shoulder stilled him. He turned to see Master Splinter. The old wise rat was holding the two of his sons from stepping into the dojo while watching Mikey lay motionlessly where he had fallen.
Mikey hadn't seen them. He just laid there in the same uncomfortable pose, catching his breath, his left temple resting on the cool floor, eyes closed tightly. He hadn't let go of his nunchaku even after the heavy impact, and it seemed like he was holding onto it. Leo could see the candlelight dancing on the sweat-covered skin of his upturned cheek. Mikey's left wounded arm was still under him, and he had to be hurting badly, even if it didn't show on his face. At that moment Leonardo wanted nothing more than to end this torture and come to his little brother's side, but his father's hand squeezed his shoulder briefly, wordlessly telling him not to. So he stayed and watched.
After several long moments Mikey's eyes finally opened, and this time there was a fatal determination there, mixed with barely restrained fire. Suddenly, he let out a growl of rage and practically burst into energetic movement, jumping up to his feet in one swift motion. Spin, low kick, high kick, a wide arc of a hissing nunchaku, sweeping shift to the left, block, spin, round-house kick… He performed the last section of the kata with brutal force and striking speed, movements perfect and fluid, finishing by jumping up, flipping in the air and landing on one knee into a final pose, his weapon folded and clutched securely in the fist of his outstretched arm. Like there never was an injury. Like he would have done a week ago.
Mikey threw the nunchaku to the side, not even looking where it landed, and dropped to both knees. He braced himself on the floor with his shaking right arm and let his head hang down, panting, swallowing air with his mouth.
Yes, he was a true Hamato.
A/N:When I saw Mikey in SAINW kicking Foot butts with one arm, I thought of Rick Allen, the drummer of Def Leppard. The guy lost his left arm due to a car crash – but he was so stubborn that he invented and built himself a modified drum kit and learned to play it with only three of his limbs. I think he went through hell by doing that, just like any other person would in a similar situation. So I tried to express it in this fic, the first steps that Mikey took on this hard path. Thank you for reading. Please, tell me what you think by leaving a review. I'd very much appreciate it. Be safe.