A/N: This…is an odd combination of characters brought on by reliving some of my own worst memories and having to deal with them. In advance…no, I really don't want to talk about them, or who I'm supposed to be in this story. It's just my way of coping with it, okay? I'm fine, really.

This all feels terribly OOC and pointless to me, and maybe it is, but I still like it for some odd reason.

Disclaimer: I don't own any character you may recognize...or at least those you SHOULD be able to, at any rate.

Warnings: This story deals with suicidal themes. Do not read if you are particularly sensitive to it.

Rating: T

Summary: If you asked him later, or even if you'd had a chance at the time, Donatello would have been unable to tell you what he was thinking. [Pre-Exodus.

Without Wings


Chapter 1/1

He probably would have told you that he hadn't been thinking anything at all, because thinking was something you did with your mind, and that certainly wasn't the organ he'd been following when he suddenly changed his course to get to her.

Because, if he'd simply been thinking logically, he would have let her do what she obviously intended to. One less enemy to have to worry about and one less person Leonardo was trying to save. It didn't really matter to him if Karai wanted to throw herself off a building to a horribly messy death below.

And, really, what business was it of his if she wanted to kill herself? She wasn't his family, or even a friend. He'd never even liked her. If she was seeking to end it all, it was her choice.

Donatello, however, had none of these thoughts at the time. They didn't even cross his mind until much later, when he was lying in bed after having walked past his brothers without a word.

He'd just seen Karai, standing on the edge of the building—barefoot and in her black nightgown—with her arms stretched out like she was Rose from Titanic, but without a Jack to keep her from falling.

It had never been said with words, but the clenching feeling in his gut and the sudden disinterest in hiding from Michelangelo for their training exercise told him that, right now, he had to go play Jack for her. This was not the way things were supposed to go.

The rational part of his brain could not believe he was voluntarily entering Foot territory—as it seemed that this apartment building must be where the young woman lived—and it probably wasn't the wisest thing to do, but at the time it hadn't felt like there had been a choice. It was the right thing to do, his heart told him, because friend or foe no one deserved such a terrible and dishonorable death.

He landed silently on the balcony next to hers, thankful that the lights were all off in that apartment, and looked at her. Her position hadn't changed, but he was sure she knew he was there. "You shouldn't do this."

"Give me a reason," she responded, eyes still closed, as the wind whipped her short hair around wildly. She wavered a little in place, but was too good a ninja to fall.

This challenge thoroughly stumped the ninja turtle sitting beside her. Going on what he knew of Karai's life, he could think of nothing that was worth stepping away from that edge for. The only parent the girl knew was a homicidal maniac who brought you up more as a mindless slave than a daughter. That would mess anyone up. Admitting so seemed self defeating, however, so instead he whispered, "this isn't an honorable way to die."

"Samurai would disagree. Jigai was a way of regaining one's honor."

That wasn't quite true. Jigai, the women's form of seppuku, was more to prevent the loss of honor than to restore it, but Donnie felt this wasn't the time to correct her on that, and instead made himself more comfortable by sitting on the ledge of his own balcony. "You feel you've lost yours?"

"I cannot unquestionably obey the orders of my father and master," she responded, inclining her head only slightly in his direction, "how am I to keep my honor if I cannot perform my duties."

"I think this is more about," Don stated softly after a pause, "not wanting to do them then not doing them at all."

Jade eyes snapped open, and she lowered her arms as so she could look at him better, "what do you think you know of me, turtle?"

"That you're not like them," here, Donatello motioned vaguely in the direction of the Foot tower. "We may be different, but we're not stupid. I can plainly see that you don't enjoy your father's ruthlessness anymore than those of us who suffer for it."

"My father is an honorable man. He imparts justice to those who fail or oppose him, nothing more or less."

The purple-masked turtle made a face at this and shook his head, "if you really believe that, then why do you hesitate?"

For this, the young woman seemed to have no reply as she turned away from him once again.

"I know all the right things to say here," Donatello admitted to the wind, since he was not facing her, "but none of them seem to apply in your case. I could tell you that you have other options, but the truth is that you really don't. You can keep living as you are, and hope that things will get better, or you can jump off now and discover what a fly feels like as it hits the windshield—and that's about it in the options department."

"If you are trying to be helpful, you are not."

Donatello smiled to himself, pulling one knee up to his chest and resting his chin on the pad, "I'll bet you feel trapped. You don't really belong in Shredder's world. You've got a sense of honor to strong for that. Yet, you can't leave. He saved your life, and is the only person in the world that cares about you. That has to suck."

Karai reached up, using her hand against the balcony over her head for further balance, "you are trying to delay me by talking."

"Not delay. Just understand. I need to decide whether I should let you fall or not."

"If you hadn't already decided, why are you here?" She looked at him again, her eyes almost glowing from the light below as they sought answers in his body language.

Don did his best to give her none, turning to face her again with a completely neutral look. "I'm here to try and get you to save yourself. I'm still deciding whether or not I should do it for you. I have the equipment to catch you before you hit the ground. You would owe me your life then, and you're too honorable to try again while I still have that."

Karai scowled at him and turned her gaze now to the ground many stories below them, "you are so sure of this."

"I'd rather not have to, though, because then nothing will have really changed. You'll be living because you'll feel obligated to, and that's not really living. That's existing. I want you to do it for you."

"Yet you have still not given me a reason," Karai shot back, her toes clenching and unclenching around the edge.

"Yes, I did. I said there was hope. Things won't always be as they are now, you know."

"You are truly naïve, or else very stupid, if you think my father will ever change," the young Japanese girl laughed, but it was an empty sound that the wind could barely carry. "He has always been the same, and will continue to be."

"That maybe true," actually, Donatello had no doubt that it was, "but that is not the only way things can change. Just like, when you're looking down, all you can see is the street, but just because you can't see the stars overhead, that does not mean they are not there."

Karai's lipstick-less lips quirked into half a smile, "that is truly poetic, Donatello."

"I'm a turtle of many talents," he stood now, preparing himself to leave. If she truly meant to jump, she would have done so by now, and he could leave knowing that she wouldn't send herself over the edge—tonight at least.

"Do you ever feel trapped in that underground world of yours, Donatello?"

The question surprised him, but the turtle could only shrug. "All the time."

"And can you ever see the stars?"

"Rarely. Instead, I settle for the ceiling and keep believing the stars are there."