A/N: Hey everyone! So sorry about the delay on this. I'm writing two new fics and got swamped with work, so I haven't been able to do much of anything. However, wanted to say sorry and then give you the conclusion to this. Tons of thanks to my reviewers and people who've put me on their alerts. Again, I've got two fics in the works, so I hope you'll join me for those as well.
DISCLAIMER: TMNT and its characters are property of Eastman, Laird, and Mirage Studios. This fiction is based on events from Star Trek Voyager "Latent Image" and is property of CBS studios and Gene Roddenberry. The poem at the end was written by Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) and can be found in its entirty on Samurai Archives .com under 'death poems'.
He came back from his trip, confused and saddened. He looked at the others – April seemed quiet, but not so surprised, where Casey was shocked. Mikey looked sad, but confused. After all, he didn't remember any of that.
"We started giving you tea," Leo replied, once he saw everyone coming out of their trances. "You remember the stuff Master Splinter used to give us to help us sleep when we got sick? Once we knew you were asleep, we started the meditation. After a while, Master Splinter didn't need us to be there. But then you came across the pictures you took from her party and you asked who she was. That's when Raph and I decided that your memories needed to be purged, so did anything that would remind you of that time.
"We got lucky that you were distracted with this; you left your desktop open, so we didn't need to worry about your password. We had to be careful; you'd know immediately if someone was on your computer, so we had to erase everything we could think of."
"You left your little computer in the lab," Raph added. "After…after Lindsey died, you'd be in there, trying to discover what had happened, why it had happened…Before, you had been telling Leo that you were putting all our medical files on your computer. We had to find those and delete them, burn your handwritten notes to make sure you didn't come across them."
"Do you understand, Donnie?" Leo asked, shakily. "Do…do you understand now why we had to do what we did?"
Donnie sighed. "Yeah," he whispered. "I understand that I murdered a perfectly healthy young woman. No wonder you had to go so far, after what I did." He stood quickly, pacing the floor, clearly agitated. "I'm a scientist," he said. "An engineer. I'm supposed to keep my objectivity in all areas, especially if I'm going to be the resident doctor around here, but I couldn't do that, could I? I had two patients with an equal chance of survival and I choose the one I'm closest to? My brother!? No matter the circumstances, I had the opportunity to save the lives of two people and I made a decision to only save one! No wonder you had my memory erased. After what I did!
"You were right. It was a good idea; erase my memories! Hell, I'll help you! I'll start erasing today, starting with this very moment, this very day, this…"
Donnie felt the pinch right before his lost consciousness in his brother's arm. Leo hugged his brother from behind, laying him gently to the mats below. Don had been in such a rant, he hadn't seen his older brother come behind him to touch one of his pressure points.
"Here we go again," Raph muttered. "For a fourth time!"
"What do we do?" Mikey asked, timidly. He was staring at Donnie with such a heartbroken expression on his face. He couldn't say he wasn't upset at knowing he was being drugged, but he didn't remember any of what he saw. And that saddened him, too. There was this girl whom he liked and who clearly liked him, who had been snatched away before her time, before their time together. And worst, they had no idea who her killer was and where to find them. But Donnie, Donnie remembered everything, endured so much cause of him and it was tearing him up from the inside out. It was just all so sad.
"Taking his memories didn't work," Leo whispered. "Letting him handle it didn't work…will nothing we come up with work?"
"My children," Splinter replied, addressing everyone in the dojo. "Now is the time we stop running away from this pain we have inflicted on ourselves. Perhaps it is better to let Donatello explore his thoughts and feelings on this matter. The difference this time is that we will all help him come to grips with this and perhaps in time, come to grips with this ourselves."
We've been here, at the farm for a week now, and only two weeks since a mystery surrounding Mikey and Donnie was revealed. Mikey is coming to grips with what's happened, but he's having an easier time as his head injury has allowed him the advantage of forgetting.
Donatello on the other hand…I'm so worried for him. He is the most gentlest and nicest person I have ever met, forget that he's a five foot talking, walking turtle. It crushes me to see him now, to see how tormented he is over the whole thing. We've taken to watching him now, around the clock. Sometimes he sits in quiet contemplation; other times he rants and raves over the decision he had to make.
The decision made by Master Splinter and followed through by Leo and Raph seems a good one, even in hindsight. Though I was furious at not being told, at not knowing what was happening with my family, I now see the merits of it. As I said, seeing Donnie so torn up, so despondent kills me a little every day.
It's been hardest on Leo and Raph, who's decision to keep the memories away and then for letting Donnie deal have hurt them the most. They are most likely to take the longer watches, even though we have all offered to let them rest when need be. It's so strange to see these two, the strongest people I know, seem to crumble under the weight of these troubled times.
Donatello sat in a chair by the corner of the attic. This was the usual place the guys slept while staying at Casey' farmhouse, but circumstances had let Donnie take the room by himself, while the others split into the second bedroom or the living room. Usually he had a roommate with him, whoever decided to watch over him during the day and night. He lost track at who he saw; he was losing sleep he knew, but he just couldn't make himself care.
He had killed someone.
He had never killed anyone before.
Sure in their fights with the Foot or the Purple Dragons, he fought back, but it was to disarm and subdue. Even when they had gone up against the Shredder, it had been Leo who engaged their enemy and Leo who had destroyed him. He had tried for so long not to hurt anyone. He was a murderer.
It wasn't as if he purposely had killed her. He hadn't stabbed her in the heart or beat her to death. He only had so much time to do what he needed to and unfortunately, he could save only one person. And it did hurt, that this nice young woman had to die so young, but Mikey was his brother. He'd known the guy all his life; he had just met this girl. And it wasn't as if he had abandoned her in that alley. He did everything he could!
"When I think about it," he said a loud. "There wasn't anything I could've done."
"What do you mean?" asked a voice, sleep hinging on weariness.
"The primordial atom... burst," Donnie continued. "Sending out its radiation, setting everything in motion. One particle collides with another, gases expand, planets contract, and before you know it we've got nature and technology and chicken soup. In fact, you can't help but have nature and technology and chicken soup because it was all determined twenty billion years ago!"
Leonardo rubbed his eyes with one hand, gripping the book tighter in his other. Donnie had been like this for days, either calmly sitting in that chair in the corner or making scientific observations and proclamations. Leo had listened to it many times, had heard the others say as much too. He heard the sound of someone coming up the stairs and he nodded when his saw Raphael in his vision.
"I don't think he's even aware what he's saying anymore," he muttered, once his brother was in earshot.
"Let me watch him," the red clad turtle whispered. "You've been up here for seven hours already."
"I'm alright," Leo replied, though Raph could clearly see his brother's exhaustion. "Give me another two hours and I'll go to bed. Promise." He could tell his brother was reluctant, but Raph didn't say anything. Just gave Leo a quick nod before heading back downstairs. The elder turtle sat back down and began reading again.
"How can you possibly be reading at a time like this?"
"Helps me think," Leo responded.
"And what exactly do you need to be thinking about?" Donnie demanded.
"You," Leo replied, glancing up. "This book has a lot to do with you."
"What're you reading?"
"Japanese poetry," he answered. "About life and death."
"Oh," Donnie said, sarcastically. "How quaint." He was quiet for a time before saying, "I killed her countless times over."
Leo sighed. "How so?"
"Causality," Donnie replied. "Probability. For every action, there is a reaction. That's science! It's undisputed! For every action, there are infinite numbers of reactions that could occur and in all of those, I am responsible for killing Lindsey Ballard!" He stopped himself, his face looking confused. "Or did I? There are so many possibilities, paths that could have led me to her once again or that could have led without us ever meeting her."
He paused, wondering what his older brother would ask next, only to find the turtle asleep on the cot he lay on. "Leo?" he asked, touching his brother's shoulder and startling him. "You're exhausted!"
"'m kay, Donnie," the turtle slurred. Donnie put his hand on Leo's forehead before pulling back in alarm.
"You're burning up!"
"Nothing!?" the brainy turtle exclaimed. "You could be suffering from something horrible and not even know it! You need to seek help!"
"I'm busy, Donnie."
"Busy!?" he shrieked. "Doing what?"
"Taking care of my little brother!"
Donnie bit back a gasp, one that surprisingly nearly brought him to tears. "I…" he struggled. "I'll be alright, Leo. You should have April or Master Splinter take a look at you. You need to rest."
"Are you sure?"
Donnie nodded, quickly. "I'll…I'll be here in the morning," he whispered. "I don't want to be the cause of any more suffering." Leo took one last look, before patting his brother on the shoulder and heading downstairs. The scientist watched him go, his gaze dropping to the ground and then settling on the book that Leo had dropped.
He opened it at a random page, before reading the poem that was there. "Whether one passes on or remains is all the same," he read. "That you can take no one with you is the only difference. Two awakenings and one sleep, this dream of a fleeing world, the roseate hues of early dawn."
Donnie pondered the poem for a moment, before sitting and starting from the beginning.