Hello all, Dark here,

So this is a one-shot that was requested by the lovely and always wonderful and talented Amonraphoenix. The idea was hers the words are mine. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as she did.

Also a big thank you Amora for beta reading this chapter as well, you are beyond AMAZING!


Breathless

Surrounded by icy cold, lungs screaming in agony, he thrashed in desperation. This act did nothing but further deplete the precious oxygen that was not being replaced throughout his body. Despite knowing this he still kicked out, slamming his feet and hand against the metal door; but to no avail. He had no way to brace himself to make his repeated blows anything more than weak, insignificant taps against the locked door; limbs moving as if in slow motion.

Cracking open his eyes, the darkness that surrounded him did not dissipate. A small, narrow piece of glass had allowed a small amount of light to enter, but now, that sliver of light was gone, swallowed up by an inky blackness that was as unforgiving as it was indifferent to his frenzied and desperate plight.

Refusing to give up he slammed his fist against the cold, unforgiving metal, again and again, and unable to even shout for help as each frantic, powerful blow became weaker and weaker; hope fast dissipating like his reserves of oxygen in his abused lungs.

Pain assaulted him at each movement; his leg burned with agony, his arm crippled by a blinding white pain that nearly caused a different blackness to envelope all of his senses and thereby sparing him the torment he was currently enduring.

Needing to take a desperate breath but unable to, he tired to concentrate on his fist instead if the horrible burning fire that bloomed in his lungs and spread outward in a numbing flame that attempted to consume everything.

A few tiny bubbles escaped from the side of his mouth and nostrils as his movements became less and less frantic. A sound echoed around him, and he reached out, his movements slowing, accepting of the motionless, weightlessness of his body as he weakly hit the side of the truck once.

Eyes slipping closed he felt nothing more as the icy hand of death clutched at his heart, squeezing the trembling organ and mercilessly slowing it until it gave one last perfunctory beat before ceasing altogether.


1 hour earlier...

Leonardo scanned the rooftops, his heart pumping with adrenalin as he adjusted his grip on his beloved katanas. He looked below him as Raphael pressed in close, his hot-headed brother's shoulder rubbing against his own as he leaned even further over the edge, watching as the Purple Dragons unloaded crates of stolen weapons from an armoured truck.

Feeling his brother move he hissed his red masked brother's name under his breath. Raphael looked over at him in frustrated irritation.

"You gonna let them take those weapons into that warehouse where we're gonna have a hell of a time gettin' at them?" Raphael snarled angrily.

"Someone's in a bad mood today," Michelangelo murmured over Leonardo's left shoulder.

"Stuff it, Mikey," Raphael growled at their baby brother.

"Enough," Leonardo snapped in irritation, trying to control his own temper and decide on the best course of action that would allow them to destroy the weapons shipment as well as keeping all of his brothers safe. A near impossible task when it came to controlling his hot-headed brother, who was more apt to charge in and damn the consequences than listen to either reason or a plan.

"They're moving in the last crates," Donatello's calm voice interrupted his chaotic thoughts as he looked over at his younger genius brother whose eyes were obstructed by the night vision binoculars he held up to his eyes.

"Come on, Fearless," Raphael rumbled irritably.

"Just a minute, Raph," Leonardo snapped with exasperation as he straightened from his crouched position. But his brother was too impatient and too eager to give the Purple Dragons his version of swift and brutal justice.

With a battle cry that alerted the Dragons to their position Raphael leapt from the rooftop.

"Raph!" he shouted angrily as he gritted his teeth in fury at Raphael's actions.

Michelangelo gave Leonardo a quick look followed by a shrug and leapt from the building trailing their headstrong, temperamental brother into the fray.

He stomped the flame of rage down as best he could, knowing he would have no choice but to deal with his red masked brother after the battle.

Throwing a frustrated glance back at Donatello, Leonardo quickly followed his other two siblings. Donatello swiftly tucked his binoculars into the duffle bag that was slung over his shoulder, and followed him.

Recovering quickly from the fierce attack Raphael leveled against them, word spread throughout the ranks of the Purple Dragons that they were under attack. Crates were hastily torn open and new, experimental laser rifles were pulled from their straw packing.

Shots were fired and it was all Leonardo could do to dodge the brief flashes of light that had the ability to burn through flesh, maim or kill within a matter of moments.

He tried to disarm as many of the Purple Dragons as he could, all the while destroying every rifle he could. But the seven, weapon wielding Purple Dragons quickly became twenty. He actually lost track of how many of the gang members now swarmed around his brothers and he lost sight of them.

Anxiety and trepidation filled him as he could only catch glimpses of his brothers every now and then as he fought for his life and the protection of the city they called home.

Raphael's excited, bloodthirsty grin had turned serious, and strained. Michelangelo's face was set into lines of concentration laced with growing worry; while Donatello's face was hidden in shadow. Leonardo was unable to read his genius brother's expression, but knew that it was probably worried bordering on panicked if his movements were anything to go by.

Loud shouts and grunts of surprise and pain echoed through the night as Leonardo and his brothers fought. He knew he and his brothers were outnumbered, but this didn't mean they were outmatched; far from it. The Purple Dragons were not great fighters like the Foot clan was. They relied heavily upon their weapons which -if disarmed- made them much less of a threat.

Slicing cleanly through another rifle with his katanas, Leonardo kicked the Dragon hard in the gut. The scrawny gang member let out a whoosh of air as he doubled over, clutching at his mid-section in pain. Leonardo's hand shot out punching him in the jaw, the Dragon collapsing into an unconscious heap.

His attention was suddenly caught by a pained yelp from one of his brothers. Leonardo's head swung around, searching for whichever brother was in trouble. Heart pounding uncomfortably in his chest he allowed himself to be distracted. A roar of rage echoed through the night from Raphael as a bolt of agony shot itself across Leonardo's shoulder; dragging his attention away from his brothers and back to the enemies that surrounded him.

Gritting his teeth against the pain he fought with an almost manic focus and ferocity. His blades flashed silver in the moonlight, his fists and feet connecting with soft flesh and breakable bones. Screams and grunts of both pain and triumph echoed in the darkened alley; some of them may even have been his own, added to the growing number of voices that rose into the night.

Michelangelo's voice was suddenly raised in a shout of, "Raph!"

Leonardo caught a blur of red, orange and green tumbling together in a sea of black rifles and dark clad human bodies which pulsated around them.

"Leo!" Michelangelo's voice -full of panic and terror- slid across Leonardo's shoulders and down his spine only to settle in his chest, like a venomous snake curling around his heart before patiently waiting to strike.

A blurred impression caught out of the corner of his eye was of Raphael stumbling back, blood spilling from a gash in his thigh before falling, vanishing again into the undulating press of human bodies that wished for their deaths.

"Leo!" This desperate cry for help plaintively echoed into the night, only to be swallowed up by the violence that surrounded it.

Another scream unwillingly dragged from Michelangelo's lips as Raphael's battle cry was suddenly and terrifyingly cut short.

"LEO!" Michelangelo again voice begging, pleading and holding just the right amount of overwhelming terror to make Leonardo's blood run cold.

Leonardo's world narrowed; suddenly bereft of oxygen. There was a stunning, brief, painfully short amount of time as everyone in the alley seemed to pause -either from astonishment, shock, or terror it was hard to tell- but their small world saw the occupants hold their collective breaths before the sudden brilliant cacophony of battle was renewed, the moment forgotten as if it had never existed.

Blind fear propelled Leonardo's blades as he struggled to reach his brother's sides. He needed to see for himself -with his own eyes- that they were okay, and that Raphael had not sustained a grievous injury because of a split second of hesitation or inattention that had somehow cost him his life.

"Leo!" Donatello's voice managed to make it above the brutal sounds of the battle that raged around him.

His head whipped around but it was a new sound entering into the fray that had his sharpened senses narrowing in recognition.

"Retreat!" The shout came from near the truck that the Dragons had been unloading the weapons from.

Unfortunately it was not because of his brothers and their efforts that the Purple Dragons were abandoning their stolen cargo, but rather, the sharp, blaring sound of the police sirens that softly, but with ever increasing intensity and volume pierced the air.

Lightning quick the Purple Dragons had melted into the night. Squealing tires and the acrid smell of burning rubber assaulted his senses as the truck the Dragons had been unloading suddenly peeled off into the night; the heavy rumble of the diesel engine swiftly fading into the distance.

Letting the fleeing Dragons retreat Leonardo had the same thought; the police were coming and they needed to return to the shadows. But this thought only nudged at him from behind the almost complete and all-encompassing terror that filled him regarding his orange and red masked brothers.

Leonardo ran over to where Michelangelo was slumped against the rough brick wall of the alley. Panic filled him as Donatello crouched in front of their baby brother, obstructing Leonardo's view.

Rushing over Leonardo fell to his knees beside Michelangelo whose head was tucked towards his plastron, blood steadily flowing from a three inch gash in his shoulder that looked to have been made by a large knife.

Michelangelo slowly lifted his head, his eyes filled with pain and tears. "They've got him," he whispered wretchedly as Donatello applied pressure to the wound using a gauze pad from a first aid kit pulled from their purple masked brother's duffle bag.

Leonardo didn't need for his brother to clarify who 'him' was. He was one brother short and the way they had gotten Raphael out of the area was obvious as well.

"Will he be okay, Donny?" Leonardo asked anxiously as he tried to stomp down upon the sliver of cold dread that slipped into his heart and sat like heavy lead at the thought of his hot-headed brother in the hands of their enemies.

"I don't know..." Michelangelo spoke, obviously believing Leonardo was asking about Raphael instead of inquiring about Michelangelo's own health.

Michelangelo's eyes were wide, terrified and shimmering with unshed tear of worry and guilt. "They hit Raph with some kind of...something. I-it electrocuted him. He jumped in front of it, trying to protect me. I don't even know if...if...he's still a-alive," Michelangelo admitted with a choked sob that turned into a hiss of pain as Donatello peeled the gauze pad away from Michelangelo's shoulder.

"Go get Raph," Donatello quickly, sternly and pleadingly ordered him.

Leonardo gave a nod of understanding and stood.

Donatello helped Michelangelo to stand, the sound of the sirens coming ever closer as Leonardo quickly scaled a drain pipe to get to the roof. Donatello dragged Michelangelo into the shadows as Leonardo ran across the rooftops where a few blocks away they had parked their van.

Hitting street level -his heart hammering so quickly in his chest that he thought the poor abused organ was about to break through his ribcage- he made it to the van, throwing open the back door and hopping inside. Grabbing a helmet from a shelf Leonardo pulled it over his head as he flung his leg over the Shell Cycle, kick started it, popped the clutch and hit the gas.

Tire squealing the bike leapt from the back of the van and Leonardo headed in the direction where the armoured truck was last seen.

Speeding down the street he passed a few cop cars, their blue and red lights lighting up the darkened streets as Leonardo pursued the truck through the back alleys.

"Donny?" Leonardo questioned when he was unable to find any sign of the Purple Dragon's armoured truck.

"I'm here, Leo," Donatello's voice answered in his helmet, which meant that both of his younger siblings had made it back to the Battle Shell and Donatello had obviously turned on his communicator.

"How's Mikey?" Leonardo asked worriedly.

"He'll be fine. A few stitches and he will be good as new," Donatello easily told him.

Leonardo felt the tight knot that had formed in his stomach loosen a little at the assurance that Michelangelo was going to be fine. But the rest of the knot still remained because he had one brother who was in enemy hands. "Can you track Raph's location?" he quickly asked. "I can't find him," Leonardo informed his brother, doing his best to keep his growing panic from being heard in his voice.

"I'm tracking his Shell Cell now," Donatello said, voice calm; a soothing balm to Leonardo's frayed nerves.

"Raph is headed towards the east docks." Donatello's calm, even tone waivered slightly.

Leonardo revved his bike, twisting the throttle as the bike jumped to do his bidding.

An icy sweat prickled on the surface of his skin as he rode, his speed increasing until he flew through the winding streets, apartments and shops falling away as warehouses and dilapidated, rusting metal buildings took their place.


Raphael was slammed against the side of something hard and metallic. Yellow lights flashed through his eyelids burning his eyes as he groaned; the breath nearly knocked from his body as he slammed against metal again.

Opening his eyes he took a quick look around and clutched at his head; his mouth giving off the faint taste of something metallic, his mind filled with too many cotton balls to think about much of anything but the pain that laced his brutalized thigh and his throbbing left arm.

He closed his eyes again as he rolled, star bursts of lightning quick agony shooting through him as the smell of diesel and rubber filled his nostrils; an empty wooden crate smashed against his already injured arm.

He may have passed out for a few moments, he was pretty sure he had, but a heartbeat later he found himself gritting his teeth as he pulled himself up. He attempted to brace himself as he realized that he was in the back of the Purple Dragon's armoured truck, which was obviously driven by someone who apparently had no respect for the road or their own life.

Brakes were applied with a tearing squeal of tires as they suddenly turned left, throwing him against the right wall.

"Time to leave this rollercoaster ride," Raphael mumbled under his breath as he dragged himself shakily to his feet and tried to open the rear door. He pulled the handle down but it barely moved.

Frowning, Raphael looked out of the thin, rectangular window. Streetlights passed by quickly as the flashing strobes of police vehicles in pursuit nearly blinded him. Ignoring this minor problem he looked down and saw a keypad attached to the door on the outside of the vehicle. "Great," he growled to himself as he realized that he would be unable to get out unless someone let him out.

The armoured truck suddenly picked up speed throwing him against the back door. "Hey!" he shouted angrily, trying to bury the pain somewhere so that it didn't matter anymore. "Lemme outta here before I-" his threat remained unfinished as he was smashed against the door again as the truck hit something before his stomach rolled into his throat. He endured a queasy, churning, horrible feeling of being weightless for a moment before he was slammed against the roof in a jarring tumult of red, bursting agony before gravity took hold of him again as he fell to the floor in a heap. The air was forcefully pushed from his lungs as he struggled to take a breath and recover from the shock, disorientation and pain that exploded through him at his sudden, though not entirely unexpected stop.

Briefly wondering what the hell they had hit, and surprised that he was still in one piece and functioning, Raphael scrambled to his feet; sudden terror and horror filling him as frigid water suddenly flowed in over and around his feet.

Swirling and rushing in at an incredible rate the water quickly reached his knees and then his waist.

Every ounce of pain from injury was forgotten as he launched himself at the locked doors as the truck swiftly sank. His repeated attacks were ineffectual as he tried to control the terror that filled him as the water reached his chest, hindering his movements; limbs going numb with cold.

He thought about shouting for help, but knew there was no one who could help him. The police would not be able to free him, and the gang members had most likely freed themselves from the sinking vehicle and had probably told the police that there was no one in the truck to rescue, allowing for the truck to sink to the bottom.

Trying to keep his head above the water as it reached his neck he screamed for help anyway. He didn't want to die. The only ones who could save him were his brothers, and even then he didn't hold out much hope unless they could figure out the code to unlock the door.

Still he struggled against the iron that held him confined as death swirled circles around him, pulling at his flesh and stealing precious air from his lungs.


Leonardo's eyes scanned past the five police cars that were converged upon the pier. Three Purple Dragons in cuffs were led to two separate police cars while a chopper flew overhead, its white searchlight scanning over the area to include the wharf and the water that surrounded it.

Leonardo's eyes desperately searched the pier for the armoured truck and did not see the vehicle anywhere.

The chopper did one more pass over the scene, banked and turned, heading back inland.

"Donny...where is Raph?" His voice shook even though he attempted to keep it steady as a horrifying scenario entered his head only to be confirmed a moment later by the removal of one of the police cars that had obstructed the broken guardrail.

Heart sinking into his gut he fought off the panic that threatened to over whelm him as he tore his helmet from his head. Carrying it with him he spoke into it, telling Donatello that Raphael was in the bay.

He dropped his helmet to the ground as he ran. Adrenalin pounded through him as he skirted the police cars, sliding from shadow to shadow before running off the next pier and diving into the freezing, darkened water.

Unable to see anything in the darkness that stretched in all directions around him he swam as fast as he was able towards where he believed to be the location of the sinking armoured truck.

Praying that Raphael hadn't been killed by the gun that had electrocuted him, he surfaced, checking his bearings before diving down again. He strongly believed his brother to be alive because the Purple Dragons had grabbed Raphael and thrown him into the back of the truck in the fist place. If Raphael were dead, there would be no reason to do this.

Leonardo's searching fingers found hard steel and he wished he had a light of some sort to make sure it was indeed the truck and not just sunken refuse.

Sliding his fingers across the surface he tried to picture the shape of the object in his mind. Quickly coming to the conclusion that he was touching the bumper of a vehicle he quickly tried to find the handle.

His searching fingers found the handle and he pulled but the door was locked. He felt his heart clench in fear as he heard a hollow bang come from within the confines of the enclosed steel.

He pounded the door with his fist trying to let Raphael know that he was coming. But there was not answering knock, only deathly silence. Heart skipping a beat he pounded his desperate fists against the metal, willing Raphael to answer his desperate pleas.

Hearing no response Leonardo's hands wrenched down on the handle but accomplished nothing. Fingers skimming across the surface he came across what he believed to be a key pad. His fingers pressed against a key and the numbers lit up the suffocating darkness.

Staring at the light with abject terror the horrifying truth of his brother's situation hit him; stunning him into immobility.

His mind screamed at him to do something as his lungs begged for air. He tried to ignore everything and concentrate on that lit keypad. Peering into the darkened interior he was just able to make out a hand, floating and unmoving within the darkened confines of the truck.

Desperate, blinding terror had him kicking his feet ineffectually against the locked doors. Numb fingers pounded against the keys. He put in numerous number combinations, all without success.

Lungs bursting he swam to the surface to take a desperate breath before diving back down to continue his frantic, futile attempts to release his trapped brother.

He realized that he should have let Donatello follow Raphael instead of himself. Right now he needed Donatello's smarts and he had no access to them. He had left Michelangelo in their genius brother's care, unaware that Raphael was trapped by a keypad lock which Leonardo had no chance of either solving or overriding to save his brother.

Holding back a choked sob to preserve his precious oxygen he did the only thing he could think of. Pulling a single beloved blade from its sheath he drove his sword into the keypad; twisting, tearing and rending the delicate wires and circuitry.

There was an echoing click and Leonardo pulled his sword out of the lock, quickly sheathing it before his searching fingers again found the handle and twisted it down; this time receiving no resistance.

He pulled the door open and was able to easily find Raphael's arm. He latched onto it, quickly pulling his unresisting brother to the surface.

Head breaking the surface of the water Leonardo took in a lungful or air trying to get his bearings; blinded by the salt water that stung and filled his eyes. He swam towards the shore, pulling Raphael with him.

Searching hands quickly pulled him and Raphael from the water.

Panic turned to relief when he saw that it was both Donatello and Michelangelo who had pulled them from the frigid, numbing grip of the dark water.

A white sling held Michelangelo's injured shoulder still as his baby brother tried to steady Leonardo's shaking form; holding him up as his knees nearly gave way beneath him at the sight of Raphael.

Their red banded brother lay still upon the concrete, eyes closed; skin tinged a frightening blue, and chest unmoving. Donatello placed his ear upon Raphael's plastron, face grim, eyes sliding closed in grief.

Leonardo was shaking his head in denial as Donatello straightened, adjusting Raphael's head before placing his hands upon Raphael's plastron and pumping.

"Come on, Raph," Donatello whispered fiercely as he paused, fingers flying to Raphael's throat to check his pulse point before gritting his teeth and continuing.

Michelangelo let out a sob as Leonardo found himself suddenly holding his baby brother up instead of the other way around.

"Don't you dare die on me, Raphael!" Donatello hissed fervently and Leonardo's knees gave way as Donatello continued his efforts to revive Raphael.

Hot, salty tears rolled down Leonardo's cold cheeks as he let go of Michelangelo and crawled over to Raphael's side. His shaking fingers found Raphael's cool hand and clutched it, as if he could bring his brother back to life through the sheer force of his focused, desperate will.

"Raph!" he shouted as if talking louder would somehow better get the attention of his hot headed, stubborn brother. "You are not allowed to die because I still have to lecture you on disobeying my orders." His voice broke and he knew his words were ridiculous but he wanted Raphael to turn his head, look at him with molten amber eyes and snarl at him to 'shove it', 'bite me' or any number of more colourful phrases that Raphael was famous for.

Grim silence was the only response he got as Donatello sat back on his haunches shaking his head miserably back and forth.

Leonardo stared at Donatello in disbelief; as if he couldn't believe that his genius brother had given up so soon and so easily. Leonardo shook his head back and forth again in denial and in refusal to give up so quickly.

Because then he would have failed.

Leonardo's sworn duty -his promise to his dying father and to himself- was the protection of their family. The city that surrounded them was important, but not as important as his brother's lives, and he had failed two brothers this night by not aiding them when they had needed help.

He knew he had tried, but trying wasn't good enough; could never be enough.

Failure was always a possibility, but it had never been an option. It had never even been a thought that had ever crossed his mind because he believed in himself and in his training, and because failure meant injury or death.

But failure -cold, bleak and dark- lay in front of him upon the damp concrete, and Leonardo felt as if his heart had been torn still beating from his chest, only to be crushed ever so slowly by the cruel hand of Fate or Chance or some other anthropomorphic personification to which mortals could blame for the unfortunate circumstances that befell them.

Tear obscuring his vision as he gathered up the last remnants of his tattered will and frayed heart and refused.

He refused to give up all hope, because if he accepted Raphael's death, then he accepted failure, and he could never live with that.

He placed his shaking, icy cold, numb hands upon Raphael's unmoving plastron and began his own series of chest compressions; punctuated by brief pauses to fill his brother's motionless lungs with air, before repeating the process again and again; refusing to stop until Raphael's heart began to beat again.

A hand clamped down suddenly and firmly upon his shoulder pulling him and his attention away from his desperate task. He looked across at Donatello whose chocolate brown eyes were filled with heart-wrenching grief, and concern.

"Leo…he's gone. Just…let him go," Donatello told him in a voice that was stilted and broken. Misery had carved deep lines into Donatello's face in a matter of moments, making Donatello appear ten years older.

"No!" he snarled vehemently. "I couldn't have been too late, Donny. I…We have to keep trying. Raph wouldn't give up on me on us. Raph would want…H-he…"His voice had become a rambling thing, made up more of sobs and swift intakes of shuddering breaths than actual words.

"Leo." The voice was a small, shaking whisper. It wasn't merely his name, but rather a pleading entreaty.

Leonardo slowly turned his head to look behind him and into the terrified, grief-stricken, brown eyes of their baby brother; the speaker of his name.

Closing his eyes and feeling his shoulders slump with defeat, he opened them and moved forward so that he could bury his face in the crook of Raphael's neck. "I'm sorry, Raph," he whispered miserably. "I am so, so sorry. I-I sh-should have tried harder, drove faster, found you b-before..." his voice hitched in unbearable agony as his soul and heart shattered into a thousand pieces of culpable misery. His brother was dead because he hadn't been fast enough or smart enough to save him before the water had flowed into his brother's lungs, suffocating and killing him.

"Why did you always have to go off all half-cocked?" he asked voice bitter and frustrated. "Why did you never listen to me?" he wondered, but knew that his brother's spirit had been a vast and unbreakable beast. But in the end, it was Raphael's defence of Michelangelo, and his need to protect his brothers that had ultimately led to his demise. And Leonardo had to acknowledge -even to himself- that Raphael had died an honourable death and wouldn't be upset that he had saved their baby brother's life, even at the cost of his own. Raphael had never made any promises or vows -except maybe to himself- that no one, NO ONE would ever harm his family; no matter the consequences.

Like the brief flash of lightning during a storm, realization burst through Leonardo like a thousand tiny pin pricks of awareness. Raphael was always the first in and the last out, not because he loved to fight –this was only part of the reason- but because he wanted to make sure that he took the brunt of the attacks, sprung any trap that had been laid, and took up the rear to make sure they all got out safe.

Raphael never thought about himself during battle; his only thoughts were to protect everyone he loved. The ones that Raphael held dear were not many -a small and almost insignificant handful compared to the millions that inhabited the city- but it was because they were so few that Raphael held onto those he loved with a fierce, blinding protectiveness, determination and a steadfast refusal to lose anyone else.

Leonardo felt both rocked and humbled by the realization; which only made his guilt filled misery palpable; a visceral agony that was dark, black and all consuming.

What had his brother's last terrified thoughts been before he died?

The thought tore through his mind, fierce and brutal before another thought -that also had the ability to rend and tear- burst through him. Did he hate me for not saving him; for being so close, and yet so far?

Taking in a shuddering breath he pulled away, resisting the urge to yell at Raphael; to rant and rail and tell his brother that he should have held on for just a few more moments. But he couldn't because Raphael's last, weakened knock against the interior of his watery tomb had not been to let him know that he was still alive and to hurry, but rather it was a last goodbye before Raphael had no choice but to let go of his breath and his life.

Donatello's hand was upon his shoulder again, eyes full of sympathy, as if he had heard each and every single confession that he had whispered to Raphael that had been for his dead brother's ears only.

Leonardo gave a nod, knowing that they would have to take their brother home and prepare him to be buried next to their father on Casey's farm.

With a heavy heart that he could not believe was still beating within a chest that was too tight -his lungs not even able to pull in enough oxygen- he gave his dead brother one final goodbye.

He leaned over and pulled Raphael up to his chest, giving him a hug and squeezing him tightly.

"I love you, Raph," he whispered too softly for anyone to hear.

Giving one final squeeze he prepared to let go, only Raphael's body gave an almost imperceptible twitch before great hacking, wet coughs wracked his brother's body; water streaming from his mouth.

Leonardo held Raphael tightly as Donatello pounded on their brother's carapace.

Raphael's eyes slowly opened revealing thin golden slits clouded over with pain, his face pulling into a disgusted frown. "Nobody better've kissed me," he growled hoarsely, voice weak and shaking as he gasped for breath.

Leonardo couldn't stop the smile of unrivalled joy that spread across his features as he pulled his red masked brother in close, squeezing him tightly as Donatello and Michelangelo –letting out sighs and cries of relief- added their exuberant embraces to Leonardo's own.

"Okay, okay, get off you're crushing me. Ow, Ow my arm!" Raphael hissed in protest, which only made them clutch at him more tightly, because Raphael was alive and complaining, and complaining meant he was going to be just fine.

Raphael gave a long suffering sigh in response but didn't object again, content for the time being to be held by his siblings and revelling in the fact that he was alive.

The End


So, the inspiration for this fic came from the episode of the Y2K series where Raphael gets trapped in the back of the Purple Dragon's armoured truck. A sort of 'what if' scenario if you will. I hope everyone enjoyed it and feel free to leave any thoughts and opinions you may have:)