JUST ONE OF US

It was the only way. They wanted just one of us.

There was no other thing to do to save them.

Months of torture, nightmares, blood, tears and pain were about to end forever.

I was going to leave them but they would be fine. They would be free.

My brothers couldn't believe it, they didn't accept it but I had made my decision already and there was no turning back. They cried, begged me to reconsider it; offered to trade places.

They said they wouldn't be the same without me but I don't think that's true. They'll be fine. I know it.

I want to do this, I must do this!

It's for them.

It's my life for theirs. That was the deal.

Yes, it hurts. I won't see them again but I know my sacrifice won't be in vain.

Before my brothers are released, I still have the chance to say one last good bye to each one of them.

Sadly, I can't do it personally.

My brothers will leave taking a video, my last video, with them. And with it… my last words.

The camera is recording, my throat is tightening.

Words have abandoned me but I have to say something so they won't forget my voice… my face… so they won't forget me.

"Mikey, my baby brother. I'll miss your smile and cheerful spirit. Don't let your pure soul be corrupted by revenge and hate. Keep smiling and laughing. Keep being the light… keep being our light. Our shining star"

My eyes sting… this pain is unbearable.

I must continue.

"Donnie, my little genius. I'll miss our late night talks. Don't let your brilliant mind be clouded by the ghosts of the past and vengeful thoughts. Keep creating and please take care of Mikey. He'll need you now more than ever"

I can't, I can't keep talking. Tears are starting to make their way out; my voice breaks.

No, I can't cry! Last thing they need to see is their brother being weak. That's not how I want to be remembered.

"Raph… Raphie… Heh, it's been like forever since I've called you that way. I stopped doing it when you said you didn't like it but this might, no… this is the last time I'll call you like that. So don't be angry at me please…"

I can't hold my tears any longer.

Maybe we had more bad days than good days but still, it hurts a lot to say bye to him.

Against all the odds, we were best friends.

He understood me and listened to me and I did the same.

We knew so much about each other and during our time captive, our bond grew stronger. He told me he was scared, he didn't want to die in that place… he couldn't stand see Don and Mikey suffering like this.

Maybe that's why I took my final decision.

It wouldn't be fair for any of them to leave this world; they're too young and have a lot to learn.

"… take care of the others, Raph. I knew someday you'd be a great leader; now it's your time, Raphie. Lead with honor, dedication and compassion. Don't let the anger take the best of you. You have so much potential and so much to live and fight for"

More tears ran down my face. I'm unable to stop them.

This wasn't exactly how I pictured a last good bye.

I wanted to hold them for one last time.

I wanted to tell them personally how much I love them.

I wanted to hug them so tight they wouldn't forget his big brother's comforting hugs and remember them when they feel lonely.

I calm down a little and manage a weak smile.

"I love you guys… you don't have any idea how much. Don't cry over me too much, it's not healthy. I will always be with you, my brothers. Master Yoshi, Master Splinter and I will be watching. I love you guys, my little brothers. Farewell"

The camera went off and my captors took the tape.

Now I was alone… with my swords.

My time had come.

My eyes closed as I grabbed the sword and pressed the cold blade against my chest. One fast push and my world exploded in pain. It was in that moment when the door bursted open.

They were here.

But it was too late.

How could they do this to them? How could they do this to me! This wasn't part of the deal!

I didn't want them to see me suffer and yet they were here trying to stop the bleeding from a mortal wound.

Was this one last way to torture their souls?

Was this one last way to haunt their minds?

They pleaded me to stay, to not leave them; to resist, to fight…to not die. I could feel their trembling hands grabbing my body, their wet breath and faces on my skin.

One last "Love you guys" and my world went black.

Our captors needed one life, just one of us and the others would be free…

And that one had to be me.