The feeling of anger is not alien. Not to him. But tonight, it's almost painful to have it.

He hadn't meant to mess up. And he's embarrassed that he did. God, it was just a couple of lowlifes with guns. They'd beaten worse. Heaven knows they'd taken down far worse than that.

But this. He couldn't believe it. Unacceptable.

His arm hurt. He'd never known that being shot could hurt so much. The bullet wasn't even in him; it just grazed his skin, yet it felt like he had been sliced open with a jagged-bladed sword. He held it subconsciously, squeezing the broken flesh together and unknowingly causing more blood to leak from the wound. It was okay though. It was painful, but nowhere near fatal.

His eyes trailed to his brother, who was calmly loosening a strap on his kneepad and moving it upward towards a wound on his leg. What was infuriating was that he had to be saved by this one. This one, of all of them. He grit his teeth so hard he could just feel the enamel damage, but stayed silent as he followed his brother's example and set to moving his elbow pad.

He was just finishing when his brother approached him, limping slightly from the poorly treated gash running down the length of his leg. The kneepad wasn't big enough to cover all of it. He clenched the strap in his teeth and pulled it, making sure it was tight enough to last the way back home.

When he finished he turned his challenging gaze towards his brother. The turtle did not flinch. He simply opened his mouth and asked in a tired voice, "Are you ready?"

"Yeah." He tried to sound as angry as possible. He was just too tired and upset to do it convincingly.

His brother clenched his jaw for the briefest of moments before moving to the rooftops.

The trip back wasn't so bad. That is, it wouldn't have been so bad if he didn't have to keep slowing down for his brother, who was apparently hurting a little. His arm hurt, too. It was throbbing, painfully. No doubt the family braniac would play mother hen over both of them until they got through the night without dying.

He smiled. That geek sometimes…really!

He eventually became restless. His brother was becoming a little more sluggish. It wasn't that he minded slowing down; patience is a virtue and all that. But his arm really hurt, and though he wasn't often one to play hypochondriac, he wouldn't protest to nice clean bandages instead of his sweaty old elbow pads. It would probably be faster if they stopped to regain some energy first.

It was enough. He halted in the middle of a rooftop, watching as his brother paused and blinked owlishly at him. "We gotta rest," he said simply, sitting down on the spot. His brother grimaced and opened his mouth to protest.

"We can rest once we get home."

Typical. "I wanna stop now," he insisted. Ouch, killer blow, right to the pride. The things he did for family.

His brother's eyes flooded with disbelief, and for good reason. His wound was neither deep nor large enough to make him feel miserable enough to rest.

His brother licked his lips quickly before squinting at the path towards home, a calculating look in his eye. Eventually he grumbled an agreement, lowering himself awkwardly. "Fine." He bit back a short intake of breath as his leg brushed the cold ground. He fiddled with his kneepad a moment. "For you."

"Yeah. For me."

There was a quietness that settled over the rooftop, one that he used to re-adjust the pads that had slipped with all the jumping around. He would have called the silence awkward, but there wasn't really a chance for it to be; both parties were busy with their own wounds, and weren't paying attention to the other.

He thought that, anyway.

He was wiping away a fresh wave of blood when a something bumped against his leg; he squinted against the darkness and saw a small pad of white on the ground. Rolling it over in his hands he realized that it was gauze.

"Didn't bring any tape. Just use your pad to keep it in place."

Irritation pricked at his skin as he looked up to find his brother dressing his own wounds, leading by example and pressing his kneepad against a thick sheet of gauze. He'd expected a lecture by now. Was the guy trying to piss him off? It was kind of working. He ripped away a strip of the white object with his teeth, pressing it against his arm gingerly. The gash protested, naturally…he ignored it.

After that was over and he offered the gauze back, his brother simply declined and told him to keep it. He had more in his belt anyways.

The silence stretched out for half a minute, but he didn't complain; he was tired and could only assume that his brother was too. They were resting. Just five minutes. Then ten. After twenty had passed he found himself stirring from the drowse he had settled into, and ran a blood-crusted hand along his eye.

It was probably long enough; he didn't feel comfortable staying outside in the condition they were in. He forced his half-asleep and sore body to obey him, struggling to a standing position and fighting off the dizzy fog that clung to his mind. His hammock sounded better than anything in the world. Maybe he wouldn't even get that far, he'd probably just crash on the couch and sleep like a rock through all of tech-head's fussing—

Actually, he wondered why his brother hadn't been pestering him to leave sooner. The guy never really liked being topside more than necessary. He half-stumbled to the slouched shadow and shook its shoulder softly, flinching back at the temperature. Was his skin that cold? "Hey, bro. You awake?"

"Barely." The voice was hoarse and slightly slurred, but gained strength as it continued. "You ready to go now?"

"Yeah."

His brother made a small grunt, sounding like someone who was just denied those extra five minutes of sleep. He shifted his legs before attempting a standing position; he got only as far as an awkward crouch, making a frustrated sound.

"Hey, you okay?"

A silence as bleeding haunches trembled beneath weight; a sick feeling twisted his stomach as he realized that his brother was making a last-ditch effort.

To no avail. "Leg froze up. It's too cold out here." He heard his brother quietly add, "I knew stopping wasn't a good idea."

"Can't be helped. Come on, we still got three good legs. We'll manage."

His brother swallowed dryly; he assumed that he was downing his pride. "All right. Give me a hand."

It took a moment to find a position where both his arm and his brother's leg were moderately comfortable, and even then it was a stretch.

Jeez. Moving was even harder.

He couldn't tell whether he should be touched or annoyed at his brother during the remaining trip; the turtle would look crestfallen and mumble apologies when his bad arm was bumped, but on the other hand, would snicker whenever he began cursing from the pain caused by it. In the end he decided to be tolerant.

He'd better enjoy it. It wasn't going to last.

He had to admit, though, the guy was resourceful. By the time they'd come to the rooftop that was near the pothole they were going to use, he'd managed to figure out a way to get them both down.

"Just drop me off the side of the roof. I'll catch something that'll hold my weight on the way down."

Yeah. Real resourceful.

Freakin' psycho.

After he'd declined several times, the two settled on dropping him into the alley dumpster. It was absolutely ridiculous (he'd almost toppled them both over in laughter at the disgusted face his brother made at the suggestion), but as far as he could see, the germ-infested bin was full of soft, mushy, gooey crap that'd make a great softener for his landing.

When he mentioned this he was promptly rewarded with a "Just shut up and do it."

He happily obliged.

"If you ever tell anyone about this, I swear you're going to regret it," was his cheery greeting after a moment's fishing in the garbage for his fallen brethren.

"No problem bro, but expect a specially designed Christmas card this year."

"Can't wait."

He pulled his annoyed brother out of the bin, coughed at the disgusting stench that followed him, and bent down to pull away the pothole cover.


"You just can't help yourself, can you? You always have to be in action. No rest. No ration. Hell with that, you don't really have any kinesthesia,do you, what with you running around with cuts and concussions! You're freezing, too. Do you have any idea how cold you are? We don't perform homeostasis as well as humans do, you know that, why did you just sit down and take a nap? Your cuts are disgusting and sweaty! At least you kept gauze with you, I have to say that's the smartest thing you've done all night—"

Damn. He was hoping that he'd be able to fall asleep before this.

He shrunk back into the couch, taking the abuse from his younger brother like a wuss. Jeez, the guy was scarier than Shredder was sometimes. He snorted angrily at his brother who was grinning at him from the other side of the living room, covered with towels soaked in warm water. You're next, he mouthed at his brother, but the expression didn't change.

He should've dropped him off the side of the freakin' building after all.

"And you—" The Angry One twirled like a spinning top to face his partner in crime, apparently set to assault both parties. "—Smell like garbage, so help me if you've been playing around in trash and given yourself gangrene—" That drained the amusement from the poor turtle's face and he appeared to slip into a coma, falling back into the couch heavily and rolling his eyes back into his head.

Now he could see why the guy was so amused at his own lecture earlier.

After a few minutes of rapid-fire verbal assault, tech-head snatched the towels from both of them to run them under more hot water, leaving them alone. His youngest brother and father were already asleep, which he was thankful for. He didn't need to deal with them too.

His brother was still in his self-induced coma (he began to think that it was a self-defense mechanism), so he cleared his throat in an attempt to shake him out of it. Obviously that wouldn't work. So he tried a different approach.

"…Thanks."

"For what?" To his surprise his brother answered quite quickly, sitting up and blinking at him curiously. I want whatever the hell he took that lets him do that.

"For savin' me. And…for not makin' a big deal outta it."

His brother seemed to get an amused expression in his eyes, which confused him. But soon it was gone and replaced by melancholy.

"Well, I was just a bit shaken. You were shot. Just in the arm, but it could've been somewhere else. It could've been your heart or your head. You could have died. But you didn't. Not even close." He paused to fiddle uncomfortably with a rogue strand hanging from the couch's arm before continuing. "I guess I was just in this little ravine about how huge of a difference it all makes whether or not you aim right. Just having a gun doesn't make you a killing machine, but that guy was aiming to kill, and he almost did…"

"It ain't your fault," he cut it quickly. His brother looked up at him, humor lining his features once more.

"I know. But at that moment, I didn't want to spoil your life with resentment."

A silence stretched between them, one that he could truly call awkward since their wounds were now dressed. He lifted his good arm to scratch his snout wearily. "…Thanks."

"Sure." Suddenly his brother's eyes lit up with that strange, twisted humor again, and he felt a wave of anxiety slap him in the face. "But since I'm over the initial shock, I guess I wouldn't mind taking a moment to have a nice little talk with you."

Before he could even protest, Scrooge made reappearance, holding a bottle of painkillers that he just knew would knock them both out cold. Despite the fact that he was slightly worried the angered turtle would lop their heads off while they slept, he couldn't see him as anything else but a knight in shining armor at the moment.

Oh yes, he reasoned as he swallowed and lay back, he was so looking forward to waking up tomorrow.