Minor Edit Update 17/10/2010 - You know, I still really love this one. =) ~ Night


Stupid, stupid! Keep moving!

The armour was too heavy, dragging him down as he ran. It was hard to breathe, not enough oxygen in the helmet. Whose stupid idea was it to make helmets so freaking heavy anyway? Spandex was sounding good about now, superheroes had the right idea. Plenty of muscular bling to impress the ladies in spandex, even if their balls were always on display.

Shots fired behind him. Bricks ahead of him exploded in a shower of sharp fragments.

Oh shell, O shell, O shell ...

Sparks flew and an impact to his shoulder almost spun him around. Pain exploded down his arm.

Nightwatcher staggered, snapped the mankiri out and up. Somehow it caught against the fire escape and he leapt, using momentum and the chain to push off the wall, leaping high enough to catch the metal railing. He dragged himself up with gritted teeth as bullets ricocheted against the stairs in front of him.

This had seemed like such a good idea at the time. Stupid!

He glanced down at his shoulder, expecting to see a mangled mess and cheered inside. Good old Nightwatcher steel plating had saved the day. There was a nasty dent in the shoulder guard but it hadn't penetrated. He dodged up the stairs and skidded across the roof, gathering himself for a flying leap to the next building.

WHOA! He almost missed the edge, bashed every molecule of air from his lungs as he smacked into it and hung there struggling to breathe, the armour dragging him down little by little.

Ok, the Nightwatcher is way too cool to die like this and I'm too young and beautiful! His fingers slipped a little further as he gasped for breath.

Those two facts didn't seem to be helping him in any way. He struggled to hold on, gritting his teeth, trying to pull himself up and slipped.

'I've gottcha!'

Saved!

A hand shot out of the darkness and grabbed his wrist in a grip of steel. The armour scraped metallic as he was dragged up over the edge into a clanking, wheezing heap. He looked up to see who'd saved his sorry ass, and flinched.

I am so, sooo busted.

Storms brewed darkly behind Raphael's amber glare. His brother's arms were crossed as if he wanted to hit something, but was making a huge effort to suppress the urge.

'Mikey, I am gonna kick your ass so hard you'll have to unbutton your collar to shit!' he snarled.

Mike cringed. 'Um, are you gonna kill me bro? If so, do it now before the anticipation does.' Huh, dead either way.

'Just thank your lucky stars it's me an' not Leo.' Raph growled furiously.

Mike flinched. So true.

'Let's get out of here before those Dragons catch up.' He grabbed Mike by the back of the suit and yanked him to his feet. They ran together, crossing the next few blocks quickly before Mike had to stop. He leaned against the brickwork, panting and wheezing like an old man.

'Raph, this stuff weighs a freaking tonne! I can barely move. How did you fight, dude?' he demanded, yanking on the suits collar. As if it wasn't heavy enough, the damn thing was trying to choke him too!

His brother flexed a bulging arm. 'Where you think all this came from, chucklehead?' He frowned. 'You got hit?'

Mike winced as Raph tugged the helmet off and started lifting the harness pieces, searching for blood.

'I'm fine, bro. The armour took it for me.' If he admitted how much his shoulder hurt he might gain some sympathy points, but he'd also get into more trouble for being shot. Choices, choices.

'An inch to the right is a weak spot from the last time I got shot, Mikey. It mighta' punched straight through and then who'd have saved your sorry ass?' Raph demanded, glowering.

'Ummm, you?'

Raph snorted.

'Wait, you got shot? Since when?' Mike demanded. The suit didn't have any holes in it that he could see.

His brother scowled. 'It was shallow, the armour took the edge off. It was healed in a week.'

Mike didn't like that at all. It was the side to the Nightwatcher he'd never really thought about. Raph had been shot and he hadn't even noticed, never even realized. He'd cheered the Nightwatcher on the news, never knowing it was his own brother facing those enemies alone. When he first found out, it had been the coolest thing he'd ever heard, but not this... it was utterly wrong that one of his brother's could possibly be injured, maybe even killed and he'd never know about it. And he knew now, first hand, that a suit wouldn't protect you from everything.

'Mikey, why the shell would you do this? You know how Leo an' Splinter reacted when they found out I was the Nightwatcher.' Raph didn't seem so furious now, just ticked off.

Mike looked away. 'I dunno. I just wanted to know what it was like, I guess. To be the Nightwatcher. To patrol the streets and kick the snot out of criminals all superhero style.' He took the helmet from Raph's hand and stared at the glossy face of his hero.

'I thought it would be fun.' He added softly.

Raphael crossed his arms. 'Yeah. I get that. Sometimes it was fun.' His eyes flashed. 'But it's not a movie, Mikey, an it's not a comic. Most of the time, you're up against bad odds an there's a chance that this punk with a gun might be the last thing you ever see. There's no backup, no brother to save your ass at the last second.' He snorted. 'Well not usually.'

Mike stared at him, surprised.

'But Raph, you love this stuff! Don't pretend you don't miss it! If Sensei hadn't pitched a fit when he found out, you'd still be doing it!'

Raph frowned, looked away. 'Maybe.' The words were soft. 'But it don't matter. Leo's back and I'm not about to go running off looking for trouble as Nightwatcher when things are lookin' up again. And neither should you, bro.'

Mike flinched as Raph put a hand on his shoulder. Raph stared at him, his expression darkening.

'You said you weren't hurt.'

'Um ... I lied?'

'Mikey!'

'Ok, Ok, I'm sorry! It's not bad I don't think. It just hurts like the time I clipped the train and fell of my skateboard. Bruised an' all.'

Raph stared at him searchingly a moment and then sighed.

'Promise me you won't do this again, Mikey.'

Mike looked up, surprised. He had no desire to get chased down any more alleyways, being shot at and looking like a complete fool. But Raph was eyeballing him grimly.

'I'm serious, Mikey. Never again, you hear? If you wanna' come out with me an' Casey sometimes and blow some steam, that's cool, but never by yourself again.' He tugged at the loose harness. 'Specially not when you're too skinny to fit this shit right in the first place. You'll get yourself killed.'

Michelangelo considered the gruffness of his bro's voice. Raph was worried about him, real worried. It made the sting of his utter failure tonight as Nightwatcher less harsh. He didn't feel like such an idiot.

He looked up hopefully. 'You won't tell them how stupid I was?'

Raph suddenly grinned. 'We'll just tell em' I finally kicked your ass for all those 'ugly' jokes.'

'Really?' If Raph claimed ownage of the bruise, there would be some serious lectures coming from Leo and Splinter.

Raphael rolled his eyes and tugged his brother in for a quick hug. It would have been nice if his shoulder wasn't on fire.

'C'mon. It's gettin' late.'

Raph settled the helmet back over Mikey's head. 'Suits ya.' He muttered with a wry smile.

Mike grinned in appreciation. It wasn't true, but it made him feel good all the same.

'Oh, we forgot the bike!'

Raphael froze and stared at Mike in horror. 'Mikey, you better be kiddin' me?'.

'Uh ... Maybe.' Mike backed away slowly.

'If you laid one finger of my bike you little ..!'

Mike grinned and dodged Raph's flying tackle. He leapt down the side of the building shrieking, 'The Nightwatcher strikes again!'

Michelangelo sprinted home, Raph hot on his heels.

At the end of the day his hero was the same person it had always been ... the brother behind the mask.

Fin!


So yeah .. in this instance, the Nightwatcher's brother is actually Raphie. Did I fool you? =P Reviews appreciated!