A/N: I had a bout of insomnia and an urge to challenge my 'no angst' barrier. So I ended up writing this on notebook paper and then transferring it to computer a few days later. I might not ever write angst again, but at least I can say 'been there, done that!'

I don't own anyone, and I don't claim to. Reviews are appreciated for this strange little venture.

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Respect

There is always something you cannot control

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Respect.

Master Splinter always taught us to give all things their due - everything from creatures to objects. In retrospect I was a bit too flippant about the whole respect thing.

I wanted to do what I thought was best. Not what Leo or Mike or Don thought was best. Occasionally I didn't even listen to what Master Splinter thought was best.

In retrospect I was selfish.

I remember the lessons. But I didn't really want to listen to archaic drivel about what some dead guy said about the place of an ant versus the place of a wise man. Bunk. That's what I thought then. Hell, nowhere in any of that shit did they mention the place of a mutant turtle. As far as I was concerned there was no predefined place for me, and unlike my brothers I wasn't satisfied with the place I had been stuck in. Perhaps I shouldn't be so sure of their complacency, but I know I wanted to test boundaries and challenge the walls that kept me underground. Far more than my brothers ever challenged it.

Respect? Yeah, it isn't that I didn't have it, but more that I didn't automatically gift it to anyone.

If I press my mind, I find thoughts there that I haven't yet let out. I will most likely never let them out. After eighteen years with the same people you start to respect them. Either that or you want to kill them. That's a tough choice some days, but in the end I find I have untold respect for all of them.

Respect for Master Splinter, whose council and words mean far more than any of us can ever express. Respect for Michelangelo who could never fail to smile in the face of adversity. Respect for Donatello who bore our burdens with so much patience. Respect even for Leonardo who, ironically, held the same concerns and worries we did despite his nagging attitude. I find in reflection that we are very much alike.

I suppose in retrospect there are many things I did not respect enough. The Foot Clan could be one of them. How many times have they hurt my brothers when I could do nothing about it? And yet again I find they hurt my brothers.

Respect. I should have shown it to the sooner. All of them.

And yet I sit here and everything is curiously painless. Numb and foggy. I have no further recourse but to sit here and watch my family grieve.

I did not think about them when I set out on my mission, and now I cannot escape them. Now they all give me the respect I do not deserve.

Respect. There are some things Splinter taught us that I failed to hear. Like the lesson on patience, and waiting for the right moment. Or how you can dodge a kick or parry a sword, but you cannot deflect a bullet. I see that now as the come to gather me up, loving hands that carry away the honored lost. They show me everything that they, too, hid away. I find it ironic; only in separation do we feel the barriers open to share our innermost thoughts. The world has played a mean trick on us, perhaps to me most of all.

Respect?

There is no time left to argue, nor any left to express all the words that anger kept at bay. Nor is there any point in holding on to regrets or worrying about what was said and done. It is over now, and all I can do is wait While it may be selfish, part of me hopes that I do not have to wait too long. I have so much to tell them, so much that was left unsaid.

And in this wait, I hope that when my family follows in my stead and passes to this great beyond, they will linger here awhile and speak with me.

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A/N: Since the question came up; yes, this is Raphael's POV, and in my mind he is dead. As if his spirit is sitting watching his family come and pick up his mangled body. But it's short and ephemeral; please read into it a different ending if you like.

Peace,

PSG