((Author's Note: The title translates as "Big Brother and Little Brother". I've always believed that, since Splinter was originally Japanese, his sons probably grew up in a bilingual household, switching easily between English and Japanese. True, they speak English most of the time as teens now, but I highly doubt any of those four forgot any large portions of the Japanese their sensei taught them. Just something to keep in mind for future reference...
Oh, and "~word~" means that someone's speaking in a tongue other than English. Thought it'd be best to clarify that.))
Leonardo liked the Sewer Slider. It was the one vehicle that had survived Karai's assault on the lair over a year ago--thank the Heavens above for that!. It helped them get around the parts of the sewers where the water was knee-high--or higher, in some parts. It's even more handy when they had to move a couple of time over the last few years.
What Leo didn't like, though...was Raph's driving--which could be summed up as "Fast and Furious".
~And Donny said that Mikey was a reckless driver,~ The blue-banned turtle thought as one hand gripped the door frame and the other tightened its grip on the handle of the medical kit. Raph was taking those turns a little too fast for the warrior's liking...
"Raph..." Leo managed to speak up.
"Relax, Leo! I think we're almost there," Raphael calmly replied, remaining surprisingly focused on the task at hand.
"It's not that."
"Then, what is it?"
"The Sewer Slider is technically a car. You're driving as if it's a motorcyle."
"Leo, do I complain about your driving skills?"
"No, I don't! Now, shuddap and lemme focus on getting to Mikey!"
Leo bit his lip. On one hand, it's the first time that Raph's bit his head off since that rooftop fight two months back--though he didn't know if that was good or bad. But on the other hand, he knew why Raph was so intent on getting there ASAP. As much as the hot-head would deny it...Raphael was probably as good being a big brother as Leo was. And right now, Raph was extremely worried about their baby brother.
That was the one thing about Raph that always earned Leo's respect--his family loyalty. No matter how rebellious Raph got, no matter how many times he tried to strike out on his own...when push came to shove, it always came down to family ties--and such ties usualy won over the turtle's rash impulsives. Usually, Raph's brotherly side showed up whenever something terrible happened to Mikey--who had always looked up to Raph more than he did to Don or Leo. Usually, that was how things worked out: Raph kept Mikey under his wing, while Leo kept an eye out on Don.
Such thoughts revived a memory in Leo's mind. It was shortly after they started running into the Foot, and there was one fight that turned out...bloody. A mix of Foot ninja and Purple Dragons had jumped them on their way back from April's old place one night, and they...
They were forced to actually kill people.
Leo closed his eyes, trying not to wince from the pain attached to such a memory. To this day, he still felt that they had all lost a piece of themselves--a form of innocence. Leo himself had tried to remain calm, though he was torn between throwing up, or breaking down and sobbing. He was the oldest, though; he had to be strong for his younger brothers.
Donatello, he remembered, was trying not to cry. He was the most gentle of the four; his weapon was meant to stun and knock opponents out, mostly. He was leaning against a wall, holding his arms as tears threatened to spill. His eyes met Leo's, and an understanding passed between them. Neither of them were truly ready to handle this kind of thing.
Nor was Michelangelo ready, either.
The poor turtle--always the one to crack jokes, always smiling and trying to have fun--handled the shock of delivering death the worst of the four. He immediately grew busy heaving up his dinner in the nearest trashcan. Such sounds alarmed his elder brothers.
"Mikey!" The turtle had cried, dropping his bloodied sais and rushing over to his baby brother's side. "Mikey, it's okay! It's okay, bro," he had kept saying over and over, holding their baby brother's head until the latter's stomach was empty.
"Oh, God, Raph!" "The Mikester" finally gasped, tears running down his cheeks. "That guy's head--it-it just split! Just cracked open like a w-w-watermellon and--and--and..." He then sank to his knees and began to sob.
Raphael--tough, harsh-tongued, cynical Raphael--gently held his little brother and let the latter sob on the former's shoulder. And then--for the first time since they were 11--Leo heard his red-banded brother speak in Japanese: "Daijoubu... Mou, Daijoubu, otouto..."
It's okay... It'll be okay, little brother...
"Iya, daijoubu ja nee da!" Mikey had replied, automatically speaking the second--though less-used now--family language. "Ore wa...ore wa...koroshita..."
No, it's not okay! I...I just killed...
"Mikey..." Raph looked his brother in the eye, and then continued speaking in Japanese, "~Life ain't always full of sunshine and rainbows, lil brother. Sometimes...sometimes it can be hell--like tonight. It can be downright shitty...and some jerks just won't give ya a break. There are times when...no one really has a choice in this kind of situation. It's either kill or be killed--eat, or be eaten. Believe me...I hate it, too. I'm hurtin' as well.~"
Leo saw the pain in Raph's eyes--all the pain and anguish from taking a life to save his own...
Mikey sniffed--such an awful sound to hear!--and asked, "~How...how are we gonna get through this,~ Aniki?"
Aniki...the most informal address for an older brother. For Mikey, it was always "Aniki" for Raph--just as it was "Nii-chan" for Don, and "Nii-san" for Leo.
Raph smiled--a sad, painful smile. "~Don't stop being Mikey. Don't quit yer search for the silver lining in those clouds, bro. Now, more than ever, we really need your kind of humor to help us get through this together.~" A surprising admission, since Raph was usually the most annoyed at Mikey's antics.
Mikey gave a weak smile, and then started singing in English, "The sun'll come out...tomorrow--"
Raph just broke down laughing, as did Leo and Don.
Leonardo was brought out of his "Memory Lane" moment when Raph had stopped the Sewer Slider and had shouted. "My God, Mikey! What the shell happened?!" The turtle was leaping out onto the walk area and towards their waiting baby brother.
"Long story, bro. Let's just say that they had a few archers--Ow!" Mikey yelped when Raph tried to pull out an arrow. The orange-banded turtle's shell was riddled with arrows--all with their shaft's broken...and one had struck enough enough to cause bleeding.
"s**t! We'd better get you home ASAP. Just what happened, anyway?!"
"We got attacked," A female voice spoke from the shadows. Leo, standing up and holding the med kit, moved forward to see the speaker--a young, blonde woman holding two skateboards--one was obviously Mikey's, the other looked like some kind of hoverboard. "Well, they were after me, but Mikey helped fight them off," she added. "Are you his brothers?"
"Yeah...I'm Raph--full name's Raphael--and the guy behind me's Leo--Leonardo DiCraprio," Raph joked dryly.
"Not funny, Raph!" Leo snapped back, leaping onto the walkway. "Are you Goldilocks Winters?" he inquired, remembering the Summer X Games--mainly because Mikey had managed to hog the TV during that time.
"Yes, I am. It's a pleasure to meet you both." Goldilocks looked over her shoulder--as if she was expecting a surprise attack. "Could we please hurry to your home? I really don't wanna meet any more of those guys anytime soon--especialy with Mikey being wounded and all..."
"Hey, I can take 'em all on!" Mikey bragged.
"And go down with 'em! C'mon, Mr. Overconfident!" Raph pulled Mikey towards the back seats. "Let's get these arrows out of ya... Hand me the med kit, bro."
Leo smiled a little as he did so. "You sure he'll be okay under your care?" he asked half-jokingly.
"Hey, believe it or not, bro, I care about him as much as you do."
~I believe you, brother,~ Leonardo thought. ~I believe you...~
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