Disowner: I do not own TMNT.

"Since every death diminishes us a little, we grieve- not so much for the death as for ourselves." –Lynn Caine

Raphael, assuming it was late enough to sneak out of the lair, had finally left his room after spending hours alone, hiding from anymore lectures Leo can come up with. He left quickly and quietly shutting his door behind him and continued to walk towards the platform that led to the stairs.

As he was about to jump down, a small movement to his left caught his eye.

Damnit Mikey, why don't ya eva' go ta bed?

Surely the sai wielder's youngest brother would ask questions or even worse; ask to go with him. It's not that he didn't mind Mikey's company, in fact he likes his company the best…it's just one of those night where he needed to be alone.

Another thing that caught Raphael's attention was the look on Mikey's face. It was shadowed by the darkness of the room but the dim glowing of the television lit his face up just enough for Raph to tell something was bothering him.

The orange bandanna turtle had seemed fine the whole day. Pulling pranks, making pizza, giving out his jokes, making sarcastic remarks to the Purple Dragons on their nightly patrol…he was his usual goofy self just like every other day. But Raph knew he was great at acting and holding his emotions in as well.

Deciding to just watch the youngest turtle for a few more minutes, Raphael sat on the ledge of the platform, his arms and legs dangling through the railing bars.

Michelangelo was laid back on the couch with a glassy look to his eyes, and scowl that didn't really fit him. He didn't look mad…it just looked like he was thinking real hard about something. One of his favorite cartoons had started premiering and yet he still remained in the same position. Raph at this point was starting to get annoyed and more anxious about his brother's behavior but remained silent.

Half an hour passed when Mikey finally looked like his old self again. His eyes were back to that crystal blue color and he even smiled to himself. He sat up, rubbing his eyes, yawned, and then headed to the kitchen.

Screw going into town, at this point his hotheaded brother was determined to get some answers from him tonight. He headed downstairs and sat on the couch, awaiting Mikey's return. Raph could never stand the fact when his brothers tried to keep their problems to themselves. He was an expert on what those kinds of things could do to a persons mind.

"Oh hey Raphie! What are you doing up so late? Not planning to sneak out or anything right?" Michelangelo asked with a devious smile plastered on his face. He seemed totally different from just a few minutes ago.

"Don't call me that," Raphael half-heartily growled, "If I had wanted ta get outta the lair then I would've doofus."

Mikey decided to the empty space on the couch next to the right of Raph and held out a bag of chips towards him.

"Couldn't sleep then?" Michelangelo pestered, ignoring the insult.

"Somethin' like that."

Gee Raph, talk a little less why don't you

"Sooooo-" Mikey started before he was oh so rudely interrupted, but for a good reason.

"Cut tha' crap Mike, is somethin' botherin' ya?" Raph turned towards his little brother, keeping a fixed glare on him. His eyes narrowed a bit when Michelangelo's face showed nothing but shock and surprise, like he never looked as if his mind was about to explode or something a moment ago.

"No, nothing! Why?"

The second eldest just couldn't figure it out. Mikey actually seemed genuinely surprised.

"Ya looked real tense juss' a second ago, what were you thinkin' bout?" Raph kept his stare on Mikey, watching him squirm slightly out of discomfort. His brother kept that blank expression on his face for a minute before gasping slightly, eyes full of understanding.

He let out a chuckle. "How long you been watchin' me bro? It's not nice to stare you know."

"Well if ya went ta bed at a normal time then I wouldn't have had ta. So I'm askin' only once before I start threatenin ya. What's troublin' you?"

"Ohh, I actually get a warning this time? Gee willy Raphie, how nice of you to do that! Early Christmas present? Or wait! Early birthday present right?"

"Keep it up bro, I swear to g-"

"Just kidding, just kidding."

Mikey knew Raph was only worried. Under all that tough skin and tough turtle attitude, his brother actually had feelings. He was a bigger softie than Leo. The orange bandanna turtle decided to look down as he let a few more chuckles escape.

Raph only grew more impatient, a small growl irrupting from his throat.

"Seriously Raph, it's nothing. I was just thinking is all. No biggie, don't get your bandana in a knot. It's actually kinda stupid, and it's actually something I don't wanna tell anyone. It's just for me you know?"

And Raph did know, like him going topside was his thing…yet he still felt like whatever was on Mikey's mind, he didn't like it, and still wanted to know regardless if his brother wanted to tell him or not.

"I feel like whateva this…"thing" is you were thinkin, I'm not gonna like it." Raphael said, making Michelangelo look back at him. He smiled sadly, making his older brother feel a bit nervous and that rarely happens.

"You're not, but you don't have to."

After a moment's silence, the younger turtle stood up from the couch to head to his own bedroom. Before he could take his second step Raph grabbed him by the wrist and spun him around.

"Please?" He begged through his eyes. Normally he never cared what his younger brother was thinking about him but that look scared him. And for the second time tonight Mikey was surprised.

He took awhile before sitting down again. If Raph was using the word please, then the end of the world must be near.

"I was just thinking about death…and life…but mostly death," he said uncomfortably, looking at his hands.

That definitely caught Raph off-guard but he was quick to cover it. His lil bro thinking about death? Should he be worried?

"Mikey! What the hell-"

"Lemme finish dude!"

Michelangelo waited for his older Raphael's approval before continuing.

"I was thinking…what life would be like if one of us were to…uhm go away." He peeked up at Raph to watch his reaction which he immediately regretted.

"Go away? As in being dead." Raph confirmed. Mikey nodded. "We ain't ever 'going away' for a very very long time Mike. Why are ya thinkin' bout this stuff anyways?"

The hothead started to get a little bit more annoyed every passing second the other turtle didn't answer. He didn't like talking about death, and he especially didn't like Mikey thinking about it. He's supposed to protect his little brother from thinking about these kinds of things.

"It…was just after Donnie's little adventure, it got me thinking. We obviously couldn't get along without him. He's the glue that keeps us together and levels us all out. He's an extremely hard worker and an awesome life saver. Don's the most gentle and caring. He can get us out of any kind of sticky situation and we all turn to him when we run out of ideas or when we feel hopeless. He's always putting himself before us… of course we couldn't get along without him-"

"That's beca-"

"And Leo," Mikey continued, ignoring Raph's small comments, "is like a second dad. He's always there for us too but even though he annoys the hell outta us most the time, he's only looking after our best interests. He keeps us strong and together, making sure we don't lose our ways. We follow him because we can't trust ourselves. He's a shoulder to cry on, a buddy to fight with, and brother to rely on. He took up the leader responsibility not because he doesn't think we can do it…but because we didn't want it. I'm sure he'd let anyone of us have a go at it if we asked. Being leader isn't as fun as it seems Raph, always feeling blamed if another gets hurt or screws up. He's a hard worker and tries his act at perfection so he can feel more confident about taking care of us. It tears him in two when we leave without telling him where we're going or yell at him to stop being a suck up or not just listen to him for once. He's sincere, honest, loyal, caring…we give him too much trouble if you ask me, not that I should be saying anything."

Raph remained silent this time, taking it all in. It was all true, sure Raph knew that but what was his brother getting at? There was still something wrong.

"And you Raph, haha where do I even begin. You're my best buddy bro. What would I do without you?"

At this, Raph couldn't help but smile.

"You're my…hero. Even though I'm pretty sure you gave me brain damage, you always protect us the best. You're our strength, we put all of our trust in you to keep us safe. You take care of all of our problems, like nightmares, invisible monsters," Mikey chuckled, "the bad guys…you're the strongest outta all of us and even Leo would hate to admit it. You're always there in a middle of a fight, in the center of all of us so you'd be able to reach anyone of us the fastest before disaster strikes. You never let us keep our problems to ourselves, always wanting to help us out. If you were…gone…we'd be a mess. Our comfort, our shield, would be gone. We would always remain vulnerable.

Man, do I sound like one of those people on the soap opera shows that Master Splinter watches!" Again he laughed.

Mikey stole another glance at a very astonished Raph. He couldn't believe how his brother thought sometimes, how he looked at all of his brothers as superheroes or gods or something. Since Raphael chose to keep his mouth shut, Mikey continued.

"And sure I make all the jokes, keep the smiles up, make the best food you guys will ever eat and stuff but…"

And here it was. The one part Raph had been waiting for. Why he didn't interrupt his brother sooner. This was the part that he'd tell Mikey not to be an idiot of his life, pat his head, then go back to bed staying awake for hours, thinking about their conversation. He let go a breath he didn't know he had been holding and waited again.

The orange banana turtle kept the pause in their conversation, until he was ready to talk again. Raph was going to kill him, bring him back to life then kill him again.

"Raphie, please don't get mad and just let me finish everything okay? You're the one who wanted to listen okay?…promise?"

His older brother cleared his throat a bit before speaking.

"That bad huh?"

"No…just promise?" Mikey hopefully begged. His gigantic crystal clear blue eyes stared into the core of Raphael's deep dark brown one's until he nodded the tiniest bit. He kept his composure, his lips forming a straight line.

Mikey took a glance at the top of the stairs and then looked back at the turtle waiting.

"I think…if it had to be…"

No Mikey don't…don't do this…

"…anyone of us to go first…"

Damnit…don't think like this lil bro

"…I'd say me. I think you guys…..could live without me the best."

The younger turtle stopped talking once he saw Raph's reaction change into a petrifying tortured look. He looked hurt, replaying the words over and over in his head.


"You promised."

With a stern look, he continued. "Look Raph, I know you all love me as much as I love you but I hope to think that if I'm…gone…first…you know that I wouldn't want you guys dwelling and mourning over it right? I mean, if I'm gone, you guys would have to make up for my absence of laughter with your own. You'd know that I want you guys to continue to live on as normally as you can. It'll take time, sure…but you can learn to laugh again, and when you do you'll remember that…that would be what I wanted. You'd find a new way to lift your spirits…because you'd know that's what I would've wanted. Got that bro? I don't see you taking notes, and I know you're gonna forget all of it!" Mikey ended with a smile, trying to lighten up the mood a bit.

Raphael was speechless. What the hell was his little younger brother thinking? Talking about himself as if he barely brings anything to this family! As if they could actually live on "normally" without him!

Michelangelo could see the other turtle's rigid body shake in trembles. With his fists clenched, and his face scrunched up in fury, Raph let out a shaky breath…before yelling that is.

Raph jumped up off the couch and jabbed a pointed finger in front of his brother's face.

Through clenched teeth he said, "Michelangelo. If I eva', eva' hear ya talkin' bout' all that kind of nonsense again, I'll kill ya my self." Raph was the one who was suppose go first. He was the only one who was allowed to think like this. Not his innocent happy go lucky baby brother.

At first Michelangelo was scared shitless. After through all the fights his older brother had been in, no matter how pissed he got at himself or his family…the younger turtle has NEVER heard or seen this kind of anger from Raphael. It was a whole new level of danger. Mikey questioned himself if Raph really would kill him before trying to reason with him again.

"But Raph-"

"Don't but Raph me nuthin'! How could ya possibly think like dat? Huh? Like yer the most worthless or sumthin! Yer the heart of us Mikey, WE COULDN'T LIVE WITHOUT YA!"

Raph only saw red. He needed to get out of there, get away from his brother's crappy "logical" thinking about death.

If Mikey were tha first ta go….no. It won't happen.

As Raph was about to leave this time around, Mikey jumped up and stood in his way before he could take a step.

"Get outta my way."

"You promised bro! Just hear me out okay?" Mikey yelled, putting his hand on Raph's shoulder who shook it off immediately but stayed put.

"I'd rather be the one dead than the one who has to watch one of you die! It hurts more to be the family and friends of the deceased than the person themselves… I wouldn't be strong enough to deal with it…it's just easier to be the first one gone. If one of you were to go…I'd take responsibility just like you would or Don or Leo. We'd all feel guilty about something that we should have done differently or said something sooner. If I'm the first gone…you wouldn't have to feel that way because I'm telling you now that it's okay. Don't feel guilty, don't take responsibility, because you would remember this conversation and know what I would've wanted. Okay bro? You see what I'm sayin' now?"

Raph softened his glare a little bit and relaxed a little bit more. "Mikey, you aint goin' first and that's final. You mean too much to us…it would hurt to lose you or Donnie first. It's suppose to go in ordah. Oldest to youngest."

"But you see big brother of mine, I already made a promise to myself." Mikey said, crossing his arms.

Raph raised his eyebrow. "Which is what?"

"I promised myself that when the time comes, whether its saving one of your shell's or a risky rescue or whatever, I'll be the first to go whether you like it or not." Mikey challenged with a stern stare.

Catching his little brother by surprise, in a quick motion, Raphael side kicked Mikey's legs making the turtle hit the ground hard on his shell. Then as soon as his victim was down, the red bandana turtle took out his sais and pinned them into the ground on both sides of Mikey's head who remained speechless, scared, and shocked at the same time.

As he opened his mouth to protest Raph started to speak.

"First of all, shell fer brains, if ya eva' put yourself in harms danger because of me, I ain't eva' gonna forgive you. Secondly, I already made that promise to myself long time ago. Now that ya shared yer lil secret with me, I promise you that I'll be the one ta break yer promise, whether you like it or not."

Raph mocked. His snarling beak was about two inches from his brother's face, as he leaned over Mikey's unmoving body.

As Mikey always liked to pester his brother beyond all levels of annoyance he said with a small smile, "And I promise you that I'll break your promise Rahpie."

Raph, seeing there was no end to this conversation, chuckled at the irony and lifted himself, taking his brother with him. His anger vanished quickly, as it usually did when it came to Mikey. He patted his brother on the head, shaking his head.

"It ain't happenin'. Night Mikey." The red bandana turtle turned away and started his way to his room.

"Hey bro?" Michelangelo called out.

"Yeah?" His brother paused on the stairs, turning back around to look at him.

"When the time comes…may the best turtle die."

"Well then Mike, maybe I won't have ta worry bout you afta' all. You'll be livin' foreva."

The youngest got the joke and laughed as Raph went inside his room then thought,

No Raph, I promise to die first.

Just a oneshot about Mikey and Raph. Read and review pleaaase? Yes I am still working on my other story, I just needed a little filler before then.