Chapter 1: Dreams and Memories
Shouts, screamed orders, gunfire, lead, copper, red water…blood…smell of fear and death…agonized screams…terror…silence…a grave…a tree…two swords…blue…sorrow, calm, gentle…grief…loss of a brother…
Raph jerked upright in his bed and clutched his plastron over his heart. He shuttered and looked away, tears forming.
"If only it was a dream," he whispered, hastily wiping the tears away.
"Raphie?" Mike coaxed softly, "you ok?"
Raph looked toward the orange banded turtle and then away.
"I'm fine Mike…just go back to bed," Raph hissed.
"You know he doesn't hate you right?" Mike whispered.
"Who?" Raph muttered.
"Sensei…he misses you…" Mike murmured, pausing in the doorway.
"I'm the reason Leo's dead…of course he hates me," Raph snapped, rolling over and hunching tight, tears starting as Mike closed the door and left.
"Why do you always have to argue Raph?" Leo shouted, "I'm trying to help you!"
"I DON'T NEED YOUR HELP FEARLESS!" Raph shouted back, eyes blazing, "quit trying to be perfect for once and just shut up."
Leo stood very still and closed his eyes after a moment.
"Master Splinter worries about you being out so much," Leo whispered.
"So what?" Raph shorted, glaring at his brother.
"Come home…at least have dinner with us. We miss you. I miss having you around," Leo coaxed.
Raph raised an eye ridge.
"Why? Because you're tired of bossing Mike and Don around?" Raph growled.
"No…honestly it's boring without you around…plus Mike won't stop trying to pull a prank on me," Leo muttered, leaning against the brick wall as he sighed and crossed his arms over his plastron.
Raph remained still for a second and then started laughing, slowly sinking to the ground and shaking his head.
"You're a pathetic liar bro," Raph finally managed, "the boring part…the part with the pranks is probably true."
Leo snorted and shook his head.
"So are you coming home?" Leo chuckled, offering Raph a hand.
"Yeah I guess I can…" Raph chuckled, playfully shoving Leo when he stood.
Leo shoved back before taking off at a light sprint. Raph jogged after him.
"Come on you slow poke!" Leo teased.
Raph growled and with a laugh chased after Leo at a full sprint.
The two dodged and weaved, laughing as they played a game of tag back to the main manhole cover that would bring them close to home.
As they dropped into the alley without looking around they suddenly found themselves dodging bullets as gunfire erupted around them.
Raph engaged the punks and managed to take a few down before he found himself suddenly sprawling. He struggled to his feet and froze when he heard the click of the gun above him.
It happened too fast to gather, one second the gun was pointed at him the next he saw Leo crumple beside him.
"LEOOOOOOOO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Raph screamed.
Fighting like a mad man he felled the remaining punks and turned back to his coughing brother.
Leo half-sat, half-lay on the cement, struggling to sit up as he coughed and clutched his chest.
Raph tried to lift him and stopped as Leo shook his head.
"T-ta-take c-care of t-them," Leo coughed out, shuddering and growing still as Raph held him.
"NO LEO! NO!" Raph plead, sobbign as Leo's body sagged and began to cool.
Sobbing hysterically he had brought Leo home, laying the limp body in his bed, Leo's room…Leo's bed.
He deserved to die in his own bed…but he was already gone.
Mike's screams when he found them, Raph soaked, Leo still, Don's wails moments later and Master Splinter's heart wrenching sobs as he gathered his eldest and simply wept.
They had buried him underneath the great Oak tree out at the farmhouse…
Raph shook his head.
"It's been three years anyway," Raph whispered, suddenly realizing he was standing in front of his brother's room, Leo's old room.
It had been locked ever since, no one had touched it, moved anything, cleaned it, nothing. It had been closed up in an attempt not to remember the grief of that night.
For some reason though, it just felt like time to go in.
Raph nervously touched the door knob and then, with trembling fingers he pushed the door open and stared into the dark room before taking a deep breath and walking in.