A/N: Hello, everyone. This was primarily written to try to get rid of the VERY annoying case of writer's block that's affecting both 'Double Helix' and 'Creeping In My Soul' as well as an answer to a challenge on Sewer Sweet Sewer. Hope you enjoy!
Prompt: Your character sees a random person struck by lightning. How does this screw with their head? (It also answers LJ's prompt 68: Lightning)
Must include randomly generated sentence: "My insensitivity proceeds into rational truth."
Length: Less than 5 pages in Word.
Disclaimer: If I owned them, we'd have much better TV
Just another night of patrolling the city…. Another cold, rainy night that I would rather be spending in my lab than freezing my tail off, stuck out here with a pretending-to-not-be-cold Raphael. Not that I envy Leonardo, given that he's probably about ready to wring Mikey's neck right about now.
"Come on, Don, it's time ta head back," Raphael's first words in almost a half hour break through my brooding. Needless to say, I'm more than glad to follow as the course we are running starts to arc back around towards home.
Somewhere, disturbingly close by, thunder, well, thunders.
Raph leaps across onto the next rooftop and I have to twist suddenly so that my own leap will not run into him where he stands, sai drawn in an instant. As soon as my feet brush against the gravel, my bo is in my hand.
Foot ninja, about a dozen of them, ooze out of the shadows. They don't look too happy about being out in this weather either. Probably a trap set up by one of their superiors who would just happen to be staying home, dry and warm.
Not that I have time for jealousy. I spin and duck under a kick aimed for my head, catching the ninja's leg with my bo and sending them falling backwards. Another Foot quickly takes the first's place and I quickly counter the downwards swing of his staff with my own. While he is busy trying to overpower me in a way that would have any physics professor shaking their head, I adjust the angle of my bo, slide it down his, and slam the end into the Foot's gut. He crumples over and I knock him out with a swift jab of the elbow.
Somewhere off to my side, I can hear my brother and can practically feel the grin shining on his face.
Another Foot comes rushing towards me, this one with a katana. I leap back, the blade's tip missing my plastron by an inch. He raises the sword over his head just like the ninja before him. The only problem is that this weapon can slice right through my bo. My only chance is to be faster. I sidestep while simultaneously swinging my staff around to his unprotected side.
Milliseconds before impact, all hell breaks loose.
Light flashes, searing my corneas, as power slams into the raised sword and into the Foot holding it.
Too close! I'm too close!
Why is it so dark?
Somewhere off in the distance, I can hear Raphael calling my name. Maybe he knows why it's so dark. Rough hands shake me and I will my eyelids to lift. Spots dance, head spins, eyes close.
"Come on, brainiac, stay with me!"
I moan and, against my better judgment, urge my eyes to open again. How is there so much darkness and so much light at the same time?
Raphael helps me to sit up. I groan and, ignoring the tingling sensation roaring though my limbs, bring my hand up to cover my eyes. It hurts and my palm feels weird.
"Are you okay? Donatello, damnit, are you okay?" Raphael shakes me again, harder. I can almost feel him trembling.
I nod and let my hand fall away. "W-what happened?" Whatever it was must have scared Raph a lot for him to be using my full name.
"Thanks to that damned Foot goon, you almost got hit by lightning."
"Oh." Lightning…right. The flash.
I blink several times, letting my vision clear. As darkness wins out over the pounding light, the smoldering remains of my opponent, lying just a few feet away, come into view. Most of the man's clothes had been torn off as though they had exploded from the impact. But the worst is the eyes, eyes of the condemned, staring terrified out of unblinking sockets.
Raphael must have seen my look of horror and quickly moved between myself and the corpse. "The poor twist, all his buddies left when…well…" He sighs and heaves me onto my feet. "Come on, we've gotta get ya home so Master Splinter can get your hands all bandaged up."
I look down at the seared flesh covering my palms. No wonder they felt weird.
Unfortunately, standing let me take an even better look at the dead ninja, aided by, which in my opinion was lousy timing, a lightning strike caressing the underside of the thunderhead. I turn quickly and almost fall into my own, quickly-growing puddle of vomit.
For once, Raph has the good sense to not say anything but just rub my back as he keeps me from falling. Careful to avoid the open wounds, I wipe my mouth with the back of my wrist.
"T-that, that could've been me! Another foot over and I'd have been the one that…that…" I can't even finish the thought. Something very close to tears are brimming in my eyes.
"But you weren't and that's what's important." Raphael pulls me away from the vomit that is slowly being washed away by the rain. "Let's get you home."
Almost twenty minutes later, and I can barely even remember arriving home, much less entering into the sewers to get there. As Master Splinter wraps clean cloth around my hands, Raph is somewhere behind me, explaining what happened to Leo and Mikey. By the look on my master's face, I can tell that he is hearing every word. Not that it should surprise me.
I haven't said a word since we arrived and I can feel my brothers' anxious glances boring into my back.
"What are you thinking about, my son?" Sensei's gaze catches my own and I look down quickly. This was far from the first death I'd seen. Normally, death hardly fazes me. Normally, my insensitivity proceeds into rational truth. Normally…. I sigh.
"Donatello?" Master Splinter lays his hand on my arm and draws my gaze back into his. I can find nothing but concern and love in his eyes, none of this guilt that tears at my heart.
"When someone dies during battle," I start, "it's usually just because they aren't as skilled as their opponent or because their opponent usually has some form of tactical, logistical, or weapon-related advantage. But this, this just," I trail off, lacking the words to express myself.
"It's like setting your mp4 player to 'random' and one song is chosen out of all the others without rhyme or reason?" Mikey suggests.
"Something of the sort." I look down and flex the hand that Sensei has finished bandaging, wincing as the cloth scrapes along the burns. "It's like the gods or God or Nature or whatever decided that that man had to die and he couldn't even have a chance to the contrary but I somehow got to live even though I was right next to him." My hand becomes a fist, even as it screams at me. "Damnit! I shouldn't even be alive!"
"Donny, even if it doesn't mean much right now, we're all glad that you did live." Leo puts his hand on my shoulder and squeezes gently. "We'll help you get through this funk—"
"Survivor's Syndrome," I interrupt him. At least my brain is returning to some semblance of rationality.
"It's called Survivor's Syndrome."
He smiles slightly. "You went through some pretty scary stuff, Don."
"Like almost dying," Raph grumbles, almost immediately getting The Look from Leo.
"ANYway, we'll help you any way we can, just tell us what you need."
For the first time since the lightning struck, the corner of my mouth tugs upwards for a brief second.
"Besides, you don't need to worry about it, Donny," Mikey piped up. "The dude was practically asking to be hit by lightning."
Huh? "What do you mean?" I sure hope this isn't one of his lame jokes. I am so not in the mood.
Mikey strikes his I'm-Going-To-Say-Something-Important-So-Everyone-Look-At-Me pose, so, accordingly, we all look at him. "Eighty-four percent of lightning fatalities are men, often while holding a metal object in the air. And of all the states in America, New York is in the top ten of the most people hit by lightning. Since the Foot dude managed to do all three at the same time, it's like he wanted to be smacked down by three-hundred kilovolts, so there's no reason for you to blame yourself about it."
I think I just heard three jaws hit the floor.
Mikey shrugs and smirks smugly. "Discovery Channel."
I laugh out loud, feeling some of the guilt drain away. Maybe, just maybe, I'm glad to be alive.