A/N: It's Mikey's turn.
I think it's important to let you all know that this is the 'death' chapter. However, this takes place when all is said and done.
Michelangelo: smile, crushed.
She was radiantly beautiful, courageous and kind to a fault. The breathing personification of human compassion, and an example of the kind of people we fight to save.
That is how I will remember her.
When it comes down to it, I'd say I'm a pretty simple guy. I run off of pizza and chips and soda. I smile when I'm happy, which is most of the time. When I'm anything but, you'll know about it.
It doesn't take much to make me laugh, to keep me content. My family's a big part in this whole happiness scheme, because they are a piece of me. It's corny as hell to say it, but that's the way things are with us.
When we're together, there isn't much we can't do. It's pretty awesome, that knowledge. It's like a rush; if you know you can match impossible, beat it's boundaries, how could you not laugh as you peel away the fear?
There's a way, I guess. There are limits to mortals, and unfortunately we're not super heroes. Neither are our friends, our Casey and April. We found that out the hard way.
No matter how many times a law is made, or warnings are blasted over the media, humans still do dangerous things. They smoke till the cancer eats their lungs, they drink their liver to cheese. They use alcohol and drugs then jump in a van and push it to fifty past a grade school when the kids are just getting out. They kill themselves and others, and the rest of them only pause in their shock before they shrug and move on.
It's kindof one of those things where you don't expect it to happen to you or someone you care about. Don said the name of it, said it had something to do with someone thinking they're kindof invincible, though I think mostly teenagers are supposed to think that way. Whatever. Point is, shit happens.
Being who we are and where we were, we didn't know about it until hours after. We weren't in the habit of seeing April daily anyway; it was more like a once or twice-a-week kind of deals, where she'd bring some groceries or whatever.
I guess that if she had to go, this way was best. I mean, she's- she was- good at saving people too, she had a good heart. Her kindness saved us a bunch of times. The newspaper had a tiny article for it, mostly to recognize her for her actions… otherwise she'd just be shoved in the obituary, 'cause accidents like hers happen all the time in the city.
To get to the point, some drunk angry depressed asshole walks out of a bar. He then smacks the front-end of his vehicle in to the side of another sedan. He flew halfway through the windshield, was killed on impact. I guess April and some other eyewitnesses saw.
She was the first to react. She called emergency services, and she opened the door and started to pull the kids out of the back. She got the younger one away, but the older one was hurt bad, crushed in the accident. I guess his dad, the driver, was already dead, and April was trying to comfort the immobilized kid until an ambulance came.
Someone else rounded the corner, and didn't have time to stop. Going too fast, didn't think any better because of the hour of night… or maybe just thought he was some sort of professional. Anyway, eyewitnesses say she smashed her car in there too, and April was thrown backwards out of the sedan, hit her head either in the doorway of the cab or out on the cement and somehow got the whole vehicle shoved on top of her. That's when the other dumbasses mentioned in the article stopped gaping and came to help. They got her in the ambulance, and she bled a lot, and I guess that's reason why she didn't make it past the next day.
At first, we couldn't absorb the news. It was unbelievable, because we were so detached from the incident. I think everybody kindof expected the Shredder to come and take her away, to threaten us, to put her in that damsel-in-distressed situation we were accustomed to trying to control. But no, we had to find out after the fact, with her body cold and the funeral plans in progress. There was no chance to say goodbye, no closure, just a visit to a fresh grave while the numbed Casey Jones sat in the passenger seat of the Battleshell, too distraught to bring his eyes off the dash.
We wanted him to come to the lair with us; he was too out of it to be trusted on his own. He refused, and finally we set up a little thing where we would pair up and spend nights with him, cooking for him in the beginning, handling him when his grief turned to rage and he'd smash everything in sight. We packed the pictures for him, we packed her clothes, anything that could be distinguished as belonging to her and her alone, and we put it in the attic. We took all the stuff of our late friend, the first human to recognize us as something other than a monster, and we put it away so it wouldn't smart so much to look at.
Don was the one who began packing. I was with him that night. Silently, suddenly, he got up from under the covers on the couch and just started. It took me a while to figure out exactly what he was doing, why he dragged up all those boxes from the antique shop and started stuffing things inside. When Leo and Raph came the next night, I guess they did it too because more stuff was packed when I got back. But when everything was said and done, we couldn't get rid of everything.
Casey was prone to outbursts. He would be 'fine' for a small amount of time, then he'd just explode. He'd play with the ring on his finger, call it her ring. On the day that everything was finally put away, he noticed, and started finding her in the stuff that was harder to replace. He sat on the white sofa, gripping the pillows to himself as though it were a tangible representation of her spirit, and would moan: she picked this out. When we first moved in, we went shopping, and she saw it, and she knew it was perfect…
I smile so often, I didn't realize that not doing so could make me feel so… dirty. Clammy inside. I also didn't realize the amount of pain that had to be involved in order to put me there.
I sat next to Case, and from the corner of my eye saw Don slide to the floor. They both choked on air, both suffocated with the love they felt for this one woman. I sat between them, cold, frozen in the space because I had no idea what to do.
I had no idea what to say.
If I couldn't smile, how could I even attempt to will happiness on anyone else, on those who were probably hurting more than me? How do you make something happen when you have nothing to work with?
The couch. Memories flitted before my mind's eye, remembering how heavy the thing had been, how hard it was to walk all the way up the twisting staircase with something so blocky.
April, she sat down heavily on it, hair stringy and wet with sweat, grinning her victory, so happy she was finally moving in with Casey…
She was here. She was all around me, she had memories of this place too, as sure as she occupied mine. She used to be here, she used to feel, she used to sit here and think and speak and live with the rest of us.
She loved us all. Now she was dead, her brain shut off, and she was no more, because that's what makes a person. All the evidence I had… it was in my memories. Because now anybody who didn't know her could never bear witness to her presence.
The knowledge brought with it a sickening finality that I had somehow escaped until that point. It left me gasping right along with my companions, made me double over, curl into myself.
At that moment, I felt her loss. I missed her as much as I could ever miss her, one of the only friends I had ever had. I had never been to a place so devoid of the happiness, ever.
As the feeling crushed me, deadened a part of me and broke off an April-sized piece of my heart, I knew I could never take a smile for granted again. It was something used to express light-heartedness, but there is nothing more serious than the need for it.
I keep smiling. I keep it up for my brothers and I keep it up for her, because that's what she liked to see.
And because I don't want any of us to visit that dead place again. For a long time.
If Mikey seemed OOC…well, he's bitter. I was trying to get in to his mind to find something more than just the baby brother who sits around and cries all the time when there's a loss. Not like there's anything wrong with it, but I wanted to make him more mature… kindof. As mature as he can get!