S e r i o u s

"Raph, we can't take the risk. We could be reveled and you know what would happen then!" Leonardo said, his voice tense and impatient.

"What's life without risks?" answered Raph. Turning to Donnie he added, "Come on, Donnie, whose side are you on?"

"Leave Don out of this, it's between you and me." Leo snarled "You're too impatient. If we tried to take them all on, we'd be killed! Don't you get that?"

"Do you honestly think I have to do what you say? News flash, Leo! I do what I want, when I want. Deal with it!" Raph's hands gripped his sai hilts a little firmer than necessary, his knuckles turning white.

"Raphael…" Leo's voice was hard

"Just Shut up Leo!" Raph shouted, "You never let us do anything other than that training crap. What the hell is wrong with you!

When Leonardo answered it was with forced calm "I do what I must to protect this family. I am the leader, remember?"

"And I don't do my best to protect you guys, is that what you're saying Leo?" Raph's voice was dangerously quiet "You might think you're leader but you don't have what it takes. I'm done taking orders."

"Why don't you just leave then? I'm not stopping you."

Raph clenched his teeth. "Fine"

"Fine, then we have nothing more to say to each other. Go, Leave if you want, I don't care!" Leo shouted. He took a deep breath, his eyes cold and hard, "Because I hate you."

Raphael sneered, "We agree then."

Turning round Raph added harshly, "I quit. I quit from the team, and I quit from being your brother." he added quietly. He was angry, but his feelings had been hurt. Before any of them could stop him Raph ran out of the lair and down, into the sewers. Leo left the room, and went to his room without another word. Don and Mikey shared a look.

"Go talk to Leo, Don. I'll handle Raph." Mikey stated quietly.

Donatello nodded, knowing that out of all of them, Mikey was probably the only one that could get through to Raphael when he was in a mood like this. Besides, Leo needed him.

He made his way to Leo's room and silently opened the door.


Getting no response he walked further into the room.

"Leo are you ok?" he asked gently.

"I didn't mean any of it." Leo's voice whispered, "I lost my temper..."

Finally Don was able to make out the silhouette of his older brother, sitting on his bed, in the dim light.

"I know bro. and He'll see that too. He knows you well enough. Raph will come back." Leo's only response was a small hiccough. Don smiled slightly. He sat next to him and gave him a hug to try and comfort him.

Leo buried his head in his hands, what had he said?


Raph ran over the roof tops as fast as he could. The city was dark and the moon was hidden behind the clouds so all you could see of the turtle was his dark outline.

His hands balled into fists and he let out a low growl of anger. Who did Leo think he was? He acted like he ruled the friggin' world and Raph was sick of it. He landed and the next roof and paused to catch his breath. Breathing heavily, anger clawing it's way up his throat, he punched the nearest wall.

He felt the wall graze his skin, damaging his knuckles and flesh. That would hurt tomorrow, but he was too angry to care. He pulled back about to punch again when someone grabbed his hand.

Raph spun around, ready to face his attacker only to see his orange clad brother standing there, free hand raised in surrender.

"Whoa, chill bro!" he said, grinning, "What did the wall ever do to you?"

Raph jerked his fist out of his brother's grip. He turned from him and walked to the edge of the roof. He stared out at the night, watching the lights blinking. He clenched his fists, still angry, but he felt another emotion present as well. Guilt.

Mikey walked over and stood next to him silently, considering his older brother.

"Raph. It's not your fault."

Raphael's breath caught.

How did Mikey do that? All his outward signs were showing blame at Leo, at the world, everyone but himself. How did Mikey know? How did he know how much Raphael was blaming himself for the augment, for his inability to follow rules? For always putting his family in danger?

He turned to his younger brother, "What?"

Mikey wasn't looking at him anymore but was staring out at the city. Sensing his brother's eyes on him, he turned and met his gaze.

"I said," he answered calmly, "It's not your fault. None of it."

They merely stared at one another; Raph didn't know what to say.

Finally Mikey broke the silence. "Look bro, You get mad sometimes. And Leo gets mad too, so it's inevitable you're gonna end up fighting." He shrugged, "It's been that way ever since we were kids."

"It's not that simple…" Raphael sighed, he didn't know why he was even considering talking to Mikey, about this.


Raphael was caught of guard. Why? That little word said so many things, asked so many questions…

"Because I…because I screwed up, okay?" Raph snarled.

"Raph, stop beating yourself up over one little mistake." Mikey said, "Sometimes… you need mistakes. How else are you ever going to learn from them?"

"It's not just one mistake." He muttered

"Maybe not, but you learn from them and you do regret them, right?"

"Yeah, but so what? Look Mikey… you don't get it."

There was a long moment of silence.

"I know what its like, you know." Michelangelo remarked. "Leo's the leader, and you're second-rate. Donnie's the smart one and me… heck, I don't even make it onto the list. I'm nobody special…" There was a miniscule amount of bitterness in Mikey's voice that Raph didn't quite miss.

"No matter what anyone says or does, you always do your own thing. Just because it doesn't always go according to plan doesn't make you a bad person, Raph…" He put a hand on his brother's shoulder, and for once Raph didn't shrug him away.

Raphael sighed and sat down on the edge of the roof. He shut his eyes

"I get it, bro." Mikey murmured quietly.

A few moment's later, Raph straightened slowly. No one spoke for a few moments.

He reflected on how unusual it was for Michelangelo to act like this. He was usually messing around and joking, never taking anything seriously. This was a side of his blue-eyed brother that he had never seen before.

Putting a hand on Michelangelo's shoulder, Raphael waited for him to meet his eye. When Michelangelo finally did, Raphael stared at him for a moment, "Thanks Mikey…" he admitted, and "I needed that."

"No prob Raph. What are bro's for?" Mikey said quietly

As they were standing, a question suddenly came to the red clad ninja.

"Mikey? I didn't know you could be so…"

"Insightful?" asked Mikey, grinning slightly. "Well bro, I guess there's a lot of things you don't know about me."

Raph nodded slowly, "Well why now?"

Mikey looked at him, plan, unabashed and earnest. Then he uttered the simplest truth, "You needed me too."

Raphael said nothing.

What else was I suppose to do? You're my bro and I love you. Helping each other's what we're supposed to do."

Raph stared for a moment before finding his tongue, "Thanks…"

Michelangelo smiled and put his arm round his older brother's shoulders, "You know what else?"


"…Ten bucks says I can get home first…"


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