Disclaimer: I do not own the TMNT
A/N: Well, I literally had hell the last couple of months but finally things are calming down and the writing bug won't leave me alone. Hopefully my leave of absence hasn't caused me to lose too many readers and you'll enjoy this last chapter. Special thanks to Raphfreak and Damgel to help me hammer things out and for inspiration.
The sight before my eyes looked somehow intimately familiar, yet at the moment I didn't recognize a fragment of it. The lines, the color, the texture...I slowly blinked and stared hard at it, not sure what exactly I was looking for. It was almost as if it was a speck, as if I were a speck and I was floating in... Stretching, my limbs twitched yet they didn't move. I looked for them but somehow they weren't there. Like they didn't exist. Something warm was behing me, spreading healthy soothing light upon my shell. It was so inviting, so beckoning...I slowly turned my head...which wasn't my head?...but something about that speck, about that familiarity...
Fleeting memories danced in my head. I grasped at them, but they slipped from my grip. What was I doing here? I could still feel the light on my shell. Immediately I knew exactly what it would bring...warmth, peace, tranquility. Wasn't that what I wanted? Squinting, I stared at the speck once more. What was it about that...that thing? I could sense the pain, the betrayal, the agony, sadness, anger...yet something else was mixed in with it. That easy comfort, the kindness, joy, laughter...love? Some of the memories brushed the inside of my head, jolting me stiff yet I still could not...
Without realizing what I was doing I began to swim towards it, seeking something that I didn't know, that I didn't remember yet I do. I touched the speck tentatively and immediately emotions flashed through me like a torrent. I felt the anger, rage, sadness, despondency, joy, frustration, laughter, pain, love... I only hesitated for an instant before I plunged full bodied into it.
My eyes, my actual eyes, opened with a jolt and almost immediately I noticed the throbbing, pulsating pain that emanated from my body and shot to every inch of my core. Gritting my teeth and stiffling a groan, I stared blankly ahead at the ceiling before trying to move. The pain fired throughout my body with renewed energy at my movements, but for some reason I welcomed the feeling while cringing before it. It was the feeling of familiarity, the pain. Without thinking about it I mentally reached out for a connection but was temporarily startled to grasp onto nothing. My heart going cold, I reached again before I remembered.
He was gone.
I shook my head, bringing forth waves of dizziness. Memories continued to dance before my eyes, this time revealing themselves to me fully piece by piece. Al, Bishop, my family... blood ... That I would have to get used to that emptiness, the lonliness... Instinctively at the thought of it I flexed my wrists only to find that they wouldn't move. They felt...tight. My hands suddenly feeling heavy, I lifted them up to see my wrists wrapped tightly in multiple layers of pristine white guaze. My fingers stuck out of the ends of the bandage, slightly discolored from the tightness of the wrapping but still getting plenty of circulation. Then I saw the slender IV catheter inserted into my forearm, taped firmly in place, with clear plastic tubing leading to a bag tied to a pole by my bed dripping a clear solution into it. I temporarily thought about pulling it out, but for some reason decided to leave it where it was. Trying to get up, I immediately found out that the slight pressure on my wrists made my arms buckle with, leaving me lying on the mattress once more, trembling in pain. Taking a deep, shaky breath I rolled to my side, using my elbow to push up my body wieght. Sitting upright brought a new wave of dizziness and discoloration to my vision. Blinking hard, I waited until it cleared and looked around the room.
It was my room. Lying on a side table by my bed was a strip of orange cloth with two eyeholes cut into it. Slowly I reached over to it and picked it up, feeling the loose, worn fabric run through my rough calloused fingers. I stared at it in my hand for a moment, knowing that it was technically a part of me, yet not feeling completely at ease with the thought of it. As if it read my mind, the soft fabric caught on one of the sharper callouses in my fingers. Releasing it from my hand I stared at it. Something else tied around my body just like so many bondings. Though I felt that surely I would return to this, perhaps pick it up agan, for now I gently laid it back down on the side table, smoothing it out with my fingers before looking away.
Comics stacked the corners and crisp new superhero posters decorated the walls. I scrunched my eyes at them, somehow distinctly remembering tearing them apart when I first arrived... Getting up, trembling on my weak, sore and battered legs, I stood and after grabbing the IV pole and leaning on it for support I made a slow walk over to them. Standing over them I looked at a brightly colored comic book cover featuring a masked and caped superhero with a cleft chin and a fantastic hairdo delivering a solid punch to a slightly frumpled, ugly villian. My finger touched the smooth cover, an odd feeling coming over me. I surprised myself by almost smiling before turning slowly on my stiff legs to see a familiar form in the corner.
In an uncomfortable looking wooden chair was my red-banded brother. One sai was clattered on the floor, both hands limp in his lap, feet splayed out and head hanging off the back of the chair with mouth agape and a trail of drool dribbling down his cheek. I smiled at the sight of him, hardly noticing the pain from my battered body for a moment. Approaching him closer I spontaneously reached out and slightly touched his cheek. Grumbling grumpily, he shifted in the opposite direction and smacked his lips together noisily before slowly starting a rumbing snore. I smiled again, slowly shuffling past him to the door, careful to avoid his splayed feet.
Pushing past the door, I carefully made my way to the living room. The TV screens were showing the salt and pepper channel with two figures passed out on the couch before it. Peering over I saw Leonardo sitting as though he were awake, perfect posture, ramrod straight, save for the closed eyes and slight snore. The second figure took longer to recognize, maybe because of the empty popcorn bag on his head, but the cast encasing one arm brought back a stark reminder of my hand in it. Hearing a clatter I turned away from Leonardo and Casey to see Donatello half hanging off his desk, arm dangling to the floor, face buried in his other arm. April was curled up neatly in a small ratty armchair in the lab.
All was quiet.
Both inside and out.
I slowly sat down in a recliner next to the couch, staring off into space. It felt so odd to not have his presence within me. It was different than when I thought that he was gone the first time, this time he was truly gone for good. Yet already my entire being felt different, more placid...more at peace somehow. The emptiness that I felt before, it didn't seem so empty anymore. I looked around at my family sprawled in different rooms about me. Already I could feel them, and I smiled when I realized that it wasn't emptiness that I was feeling, it was more like potential. Space to be filled with what it was filled with originally. Them. My family.
Slowly I took a deep, shuddering breath and let it out slowly with my eyes closed. Despite the realization I still felt apprehensive about the whole idea, and I knew that it would be difficult at best trying to change what I felt I was always like but was not. So many memories...would I ever remember them? Would I ever be myself again?
Suddenly feeling restless, I heaved myself off the chair and with a slow, pained dragging pace made my way across the living room until I spied an area that caught my eyes. With the same stiff gait I stepped into the kitchen, immediately feeling a little more comforted despite the knife rack and glistening cups of forks and other utensils. In fact if anything I should feel better, all this arsenal at my disposal if need be. But for some reason I didn't feel that compulsion, it was as though I wanted the things in here for a different purpose.
A pan was left out on the stove, ready for something but still unused. Surprisingly I felt a tinge of annoyance that it was left out of place, and somehow knew in my mind where it was supposed to be. Slowly I reached out and touched the handle. The worn metal seemed to fit in my hand even with the clumsy bandage binding my wrists and palms. Smiling slightly I picked it up, my imagination suddenly whirling as I saw something sizzling, hot and tasty flying through the air only to be deftly caught on the flat surface of the pan for another round. I must have stood there for several minutes, flipping an imaginary food item of some sorts when a voice from behind startled me.
"You used to love cooking, Michelangelo. I would love to see you enjoy it again, my son."
Immediately startled, I let the pan fall from my fingers with a large clattering sound that seemed to echo through the Lair. Whipping around the dizziness immediately came over me and I fell backwards, hitting the linoleum floor like a bag of rocks. My body then reminded me of it's battered state by sending fresh waves of pain shooting through my body. Clenching my teeth instinctively to keep from making a sound I looked up to see Splinter rushing towards me with concern and worry etched in his face. Gently he grabbed my arm which was soon followed by another set on my other arm. With the utmost care they hoisted me back to my feet. I was suddenly aware of the noise caused by the uproar of concerned voices. The onslaught at first made me nervous, but as I struggled to relax I found it strangely working as my muscles slowly loosened from their stiff posture and the flushed heat slowly ebbed from my skin.
Still somewhat stiff both from pain and other things I looked around at the gathering of faces before me, all close yet obviously being careful to keep some distance as they waited for me to do something. Realizing that my hands were in an instinctive defensive position, I let them fall slowly and with some effort managed a slight smile.
The reaction was instantaneous. Warm, firm, gentle embraces enveloped me with a shower of reassuring words. Instead of feeling claustrophobic and defensive, it felt soothing and safe, as though they were covering me in a blanket of protection and love.
It was then that I knew, that even though I couldn't forsee it at the moment, I couldn't remember everything from my life with them or even my former self, and that I still felt out of place in my own skin that things would work themselves out. Eventually, with some time and perhaps some luck I would be alright. So long as they were there to support me.
So long as I had them to love me.
A/N: Just in case some of you were wondering, if you cut an artery across like you would cut a rope it can be stitched together surgically. If it's deep enough some of the tendons/ligaments can be severed or cut, but those can be repaired too although they're painful and require some physical therapy. It's only when an artery is cut down like you would cut a hot dog bun that the patient is in serious trouble; in cases like those simetimes the limb is lost to save the life. This isn't accounting for blood loss, of course.
On another note, Raphfreak has helped inspire the idea of a Prequel to this story, since not much was explained about Mikey's capture, confinement and downward spiral. I would like some feedback if possible to see if anyone would actually READ the thing, though, since it would be VERY angsty and would end on the 'lowest of low' note that this story began on.
Last note is that if some of you think that a sequel would be nice I would let you know two things: 1. I'm not sure I could pull it off since it would be a very much 'Mikey healing' story and off of that note, 2.I would be more than happy to allow someone else to write it if they felt so inclined, the writer getting full credit of course (i.e. it being under the other writer's name) so let me know on that note if anyone's interested.
Other than that, I really hope that you enjoyed my first turtle-torture fic. Please leave the 'final' review for this story to let me know what you think. Thank you for sticking with me through all of this!