Irreplaceable


Dear Michelangelo,

I haven't see you in ages, 'lil brother. I don't have much time, so I'll just cut to the chase. I hope you haven't changed. I hope you haven't changed a bit. Even though they might not act like it, Leo, Raph and Don wouldn't be able to live without your over enthusiastic ways. They might hate it at the moment, but fifty years from now when they're lookin' back on their lives, I promise you...they'll miss it. You're their little brother. You're my little brother. Without you in their lives, its like living on earth without the sun. No light. You're the light in their lives. I hope one day I'll be able to tell you that in person.

~A~

Date delivered: Twelve years ago.

Status: Disconnected [Message never received]


Chapter One - There's Turtles and Then There's Mikey...

Michelangelo was the youngest of four mutated turtles. Together as a family, they lived with their father, Master Splinter, in the unwelcoming tunnels of the sewer just beneath New York City. Mikey, as his older brothers called him, was well into his second piece of strawberry-chocolate pie; a famous recipe from their dear friend, formerly known as, April O'Neal. Mikey sighed and licked his fork clean from its juicy red substance. It was the last pie she had sent them since she had married their...special...friend, Casey Jones.

Casey and April Jones have been away for almost three years. They used to call the turtles every weekend, but up until a year ago, the phone calls had stopped. They never received anything in the mail either. To say the least, Mikey missed his human friends. Since none of them had heard from them, their worries continued to rise each day. Still, Mikey couldn't keep himself from eating the last bit of her homemade pie.

Feeling a deep rumble in his stomach, Mikey grasped his abs and cut his eyes across to the refrigerator. The shiny, white surface was calling his name; he could already feel the drool seeping down his chin at the thought of other hidden delicious food. Pushing himself up, Mikey strode towards the fridge and opened it, to reveal the contents inside. He was looking for something in particular, his stomach already welcoming the thought of cold pizza.

Mikey reached his hand inside to slide a few containers out of the way so he could see the back, but the only pizza box he could find was, in fact, empty. He began to panic, releasing squeals of fear as his and motions became more frantic. He threw the empty box onto the table and stared at it in disbelief. Crazily, Mikey waved his arms into the air in all possible directs screaming on the top of his lungs.

"Ok, this is getting ridiculous!" shouted Michelangelo, clasping his hands over his face, "who ate all the pizza!"

Rubbing the back of his head, Mikey looked at the empty pizza box, glittered with crumbs of old, tasty crust. He stood there dumbfounded as if a magnificent puzzle stood before him and it was impossible to figure out. With a keen eye, he smirked and directed his attention towards Don, who was busy with some device he had been fidgeting with for the past three hours, not letting out a single word except for a few frustrated groans.

"Doooonieeee!" Mikey shouted, drawing the name out in a very annoying kind of way.

Donnie didn't make any sort of recognition to Mikey shouting at the top of his lungs.

"Donnie."

"Donnie..."

"Donnie!"

"Don! Don! Don! Don! Do-"

"What! What? What do you want, Michelangelo?" Donnie finally asked, rolling his eyes, and tossing the device he had in his hands off to the side.

"Did you eat my pizza?" Was Mikey's quick explanation to his earlier annoyance.

Sighing, Don answered, "No, Mikey, I didn't eat your precious pizza."

"Ok, just askin'," Mikey shrugged and eyed the next turtle in the lair.

Raphael was next in line. He was busy in the corner, lifting one weight at a time; pumping each arm to its fullest. Grasping a clear and vibrant snicker across his face, Mikey approached Raph. Paying no attention to his brother, Raph continued to feel his muscles flex with intense strength. His eyes were closed, enveloped in a deep, crimson red headband, concealing his identity from unwanted eyes. As the tallest and strongest of the mutated brothers, nothing evey pleased Raph and everything basically made him mad; especially Mikey.

"Hey Raph, watcha up to?" Mikey asked, leaning against a stack of metal crates, batting his eyes. Raph looked up from his flexed muscles and glared at Mikey.

"Go. Away." Raphael growled.

"I just need to know if-"

"I said. Go away," Raph groaned, picking up a heavier weight.

"Come on, just one question?" Mikey continued, getting in Raph's personal space.

"I'm warning you, Mikey. If you don't leave me alone..."

"Did you eat my-" Mikey asked, a wide smile revealed his white bunch of teeth.

"Shut up and go away!" shouted Raphael, dropping his weights causing the ground to shake.

Mikey still had a finger up in the air and his mouth was still open to finish his sentence. A disappointed and hurt frown was formed as he straightened out his posture and took a step away from his angry brother. Raphael just looked away, not interested, and continued to lift the heavy pieces of metal. Sighing, Mikey let his shoulders fall in sudden boredom. His eyes shifted from one turtle to the other and back. They had turned their gazes to him and Raph during his outburst, but swiftly turned away when Mikey caught them looking.

Everyone had changed.

Everyone was different.

Mikey exited the room and jumped to the level of the lair that his room was on. The others had already forgotten about his presence. Sighing, Mikey ventured into his room. Jumping to his top bunk he shared with Don, Mikey pulled open one of his favorite comics, but he couldn't concentrate. So many thoughts were running through his head and bombarding his emotions. The humorous nature he'd once gained a master's degree in had slowly depleted over the years.

It's been two years since the turtles have returned to the New York City's sewers after the real Shredder's defeat. They've been through thick and thin. They've fought multiple shredders: the impostors and the real ones. Ever since then almost all of the cities in the world have been trying to rebuild; even the hobos on the streets have displayed an unusual amount of fear directs towards streets and alleyways; to say the least, they have readied themselves for society, gotten a job and a place to stay in the city. Thugs have learned their lesson; none of them would be coming around anytime soon, either. The streets and alleyways have been abandoned as of lately.

Leonardo, curse his unfaltering motivation, spends most of his time being the father figure to the other three turtles. Master Splinter was getting older and weaker; he spent most of his time meditating, resting, or watching his long run-out soap operas. Leonardo took full charge of taking care of his brothers. He made sure they ate every night. He made sure they had a place to sleep. Sometimes, he would even stay up all night just to make sure his younger brothers were safe.

Mikey remembers a time, almost two years ago, when the turtles first returned to the sewers; their home. Mikey couldn't believe how many of his friends were gone. That night, Mikey had a relapse of the past in his dreams. He was tossing and turning; lashing out at the empty air around him. He would cry out in agony; sheer agony, as if in pain or fear. The blood-curdling cries were frightening. Raphael was the first to awake, but he just threw a pillow over at his restless brother and turned over on the other side of his bed. Don was busy with a new project. Leonardo, Mikey discovered when he woke up, was there the entire time, shaking his brother so that he would wake up.

"Mikey! Mikey! Mikey wake up! Michelangelo wake up!" had shouted Leo while violently reaching for his brothers hand to restrain them at his sides. Mikey was relentless. He began to scream again, this time causing Donnie and Raph to come up to them.

"Don't- don't! Don't do it! Don't let him take them! Don't go! Don't leave me here!" Mikey had screamed. His brothers had never seen him like this before.

This time, Leo had bent down on his knees and wrapped his arms around the youngest of his brothers, squeezing him tightly until he was unable to move and lash out at them. Slowly, Mikey's breaths had become more steady and his screams faded. Before the hour was up, Leo had released his little brother and watched him return to a peaceful-like state of slumber. One by one, the minutes ticked away, but Leo was frozen, staring at the uneasy breaths of his brother. He was afraid, he was scared that if he turned away for one second, Mikey would stop breathing. It was a sickly feeling that he wanted to wish away almost immediately.

Exhaling a deep breath, Leo relaxed his shoulders and felt his eyelids sway with heaviness. His muscles were giving way and the sweet sound of rattling pipes was almost like a lullaby: a perfect recipe for him to fall asleep to. Sighing, Leo rubbed the back of his neck and turned around to exit the way he came.

Suddenly, he was grabbed by the wrist.

Whirling around, startled out of his wits, Leo traced the grab to its source. He followed the green hand, up the arm, and to the face of its owner. Mikey, eyes have open, still drowsy from lack of sleep, was staring up at him. His death-grip wouldn't release Leo's arm for a second and Leo knew better than to try to pry it off.

With a shaky and hesitant whisper, Mikey said, "...Stay..."

Leo didn't refuse. How could he?

"Fine," chuckled Leo, "Just for one night, bro."

Mikey was jerked back into reality, a flimsy comic book hanging in his face. He had drifted off into his own world. Sighing, Mikey rolled over onto his side and let his arm hang off the side of the bunk bed.

"Nothing is ever going to be the same, is it?" Mikey asked himself.

Of course, no one was there to answer. He had become a ghost. He only hoped that he wasn't wrong; that everything would change...