Just a Shell

When Donatello hears his brothers talking about his weight, he misunderstands and thinks that they dislike him because he isn't as athletic as they are. To earn their respect, he starts a 'diet' that could seriously hurt him. Warnings: Anorxia/Bulimia

Donatello was embedded in the soft light of his computer screen as he tapped the keys in his lab. It was late afternoon, and his other brothers where training but Donnie had to work out some kinks he noticed in the security system the last time he had Raphael try to 'sneak in'. The rest of the room was dark, so the computer screen was the only source of light in the room. He kept tapping away at the keys, finding the smallest deficiencies and correcting them so nothing could possibly catch him and his brothers off-guard.

If he could contribute anything to his family, he was happy for it. He may not be the best fighter, but he wasn't really as interested in ninjutsu training as his brothers. He'd much rather be working in his lab. Besides the snide remarks from his more rebellious brother Raph, everyone was pretty much okay with that. He still attributed to the family, just in his own way.

He was so busy sealing up the small issues with security that he didn't notice that anyone was behind him until there was a clatter, then he turned around quickly.

"Mikey don't just run around in here without looking!" he said, but he was smiling. Michelangelo hadn't knocked over anything costly and it wasn't broken.

His three brothers had entered the lab without him noticing, and his eyes jumped to the clock. He'd been tapping at his keyboard nonstop for the last two hours while his brothers where in the dojo. He hadn't meant to miss the ENTIRE practice, just a bit of it.

"We missed you at practice." Leonardo said. He seemed a little bit angry, but not much. Donatello knew that ninjutsu meant much more to him then the rest of them, so he lowered his head a bit.

"Sorry, I was working on the security." he said, looking over to the screen. "The last time I had Raph try to get in, he was able to get pretty far without the sensors detecting him."

He didn't mention that most of the intruders, even members of the Foot Clan, were not as skilled as Raphael and there was only a small chance that these bugs would ever really put them in danger. But the fact that Donnie was working on something important seemed to sway Leo's mood a bit and he smiled.

"Well, if you get those worked out I'm sure Splinter will let you off the hook." he said. Donatello nodded and turned back to his computer.

"April and Casey are coming down tonight with pizza, you in?" Mikey asked, jumping over, more careful this time not to hit anything.

"Sure." Don said, still typing as he looked up at Michelangelo. He didn't want to seem antisocial, though he was sure he sometimes came off that way. "I'll be right out."

It was about twenty minutes later, after his brothers had already left the lab, that April and Casey arrived. He sighed, stretching and linking his fingers together to snap them Two and a half hours of non-stop work did the trick, he was aware of their approach about ten minutes before they were even near the lair. He smiled and sat up, stretching his legs as well. He sighed, looking down at his screen and shaking his head. Too much work, he needed a break anyway.

He walked out into the living room, and saw that Raphael and Michelangelo where fighting over the remote, which wasn't unusual. Leo was talking to Casey, and April to Splinter. Everyone had a slice of pizza in their hand already, except Splinter. He must have already eaten, Donnie thought as he sat down next to the two feuding brothers, not really caring what he watched, but secretly hoping Mikey would win and they'd watch some sci-fi.

"Hey Donatello!" Casey said, nodding over to him as Donnie helped himself to some pizza, starving because he'd missed lunch.

"What's up Casey?" He asked, just as Raph started making the fight for the remote more physical. He scooted away a bit to avoid the feud.

"Nothing much, did you fix what you wanted to with the security? Leo told us about it."

Don nodded and ate the pizza happily, watching some action show that Raph had picked out after threatening to burn all of his younger brother's comic books. The night went pretty much normally, after they ate they played video games for a bit, and then around eleven he realized how tired he really was. He hadn't gotten much sleep the night before since he was working on Raphael's motorbike, and now he was just wiped out.

"I'm gonna hit the hay guys." he said, standing up and yawning. "I'm beat."

The rest of the guys nodded and he headed towards his room. He took off his bandana and put it on the nightstand before collapsing onto his bed. He felt like his arms and legs were made of iron. He sighed, closing his eyes tightly before finding a nice comfortable position and slipping to sleep.

He woke up a few hours later with his tongue completely dry. He didn't want to leave the sanctity of his room, but he was so thirsty that it really couldn't be helped. Donatello flipped back on the lights and started towards the kitchen when he heard voices.

"He skipped practice just so he could sit on his butt for two hours doing nothing." He heard from Raph, and he instantly knew that they'd been talking about him.

He didn't turn the corner, he wanted to hear what they had to say. He could tell his father was already asleep, he wouldn't have let Raphael talk that way. Casey and April had probably left a few hours ago, as well.

"That's not fair." Mikey said, and Donatello smiled. He could always rely on Mikey to stand up for him. "He was fixing the security, you heard him. He was protecting us."

"Yeah, and the second we mentioned food he was done." Raphael said. "Sounds fishy to me, like he just wanted to get outa training."

"I know what you mean, but I'm sure that he didn't mean it like that." Leo said.

"He's lazy." Raph said simply, and crossly. "All he does is sit around on that computer all day and eat. You guys must have noticed how much he just ate. He acted like a pig. Startin' to look like one, too."

There was a long period of silence. Donatello still hadn't moved, but he leaned against a wall. He knew what the silence meant. It meant his brothers agreed, but didn't want to say anything. Donnie looked down at himself. He didn't feel like a pig, and he didn't eat any more then his brothers had…

"I'll talk to him tomorrow, make sure he knows that skipping training isn't okay." Leo said sternly. "But don't talk to him about the other thing, it might upset him."

'The other thing', he said. Donatello bit his lip. 'The other thing'. The fact that he "looked like a pig". Suddenly no longer thirsty, he walked silently back to his bedroom. He didn't want any of his brothers to hear him and know that he had been listening to everything they'd just said. He went back into his room, almost stunned, and sat on the bed.

'I'm not really fat, am I?' he asked in his head. He knew that he wasn't as active as his brothers, but… What Raph said, it was so cruel. Raph had probably eaten even more then him! He had just eaten fast then his brothers because he'd missed lunch… 'But… I don't exercise as much as they do, so… I really shouldn't eat as much as they do, either.'

He looked down at his floor and lowered his head. He didn't know what to think, except if his brothers really agreed that he was what Raphael had said, how could he argue? Leo and Mikey didn't stand up for him when Raphael said he was like a pig, and if he wasn't like a pig, they would have, he knew that… He sighed again, not wanting to actually believe what he'd just heard.

'It's simple, really… I just have to lose some weight. There's nothing hard about that.' he thought smiling a bit. 'I just have to train more, use the computer less, and eat a lot less to make up for it. Then my bros will forgive me for this.'

Donatello smiled at his reasoning just as he heard his brothers heading to bed. It was nearly two in the morning, but he stood up. While they were asleep, he'd train for three hours. Two hours for the training he missed, and an extra hour to work off dinner.

'This will work.' he told himself, sneaking down to the dojo. 'It has too.'

A/N: Hey guys! I hope you liked this story! I hope chapter two will be up sometime by the end of the week, because I'm really liking this! But hey, if you like this, you'll really like the story that inspired me to do it! It's called "Skeleton Appetite" by Puldoh, and it's on fan fiction! Since it sparked the idea, it's kind of similar but I really hope that it has a lot of really distinct differences since it's two different characters who will carry the situation differently. ANYWAY, all of Puldoh's stuff is awesome and I suggest it to anyone who likes this kind of TMNT story!

Now, as far as the story goes, I like it. I took another shot at Puldoh's style and decided that short, frequent chapters are better then long chapters because it seems that I never get around to updating my stories when I set the bar too high, so lets hope this works! R&R please!