Donatello’s heart pounded in his chest. He had no idea that simply telling his family about the new development in his relationship with Raph would be so terrifying. The fact that they all now sat in silence wasn’t helping.
Splinter had accepted the fact that they needed to mate in the spring but that didn’t mean he would accept this. In fact, he originally tried to stop them from mating.
It was when they were thirteen. He tried to have them suppress their urges. It didn’t end well. They all became overly aggressive to the point that they fought one another. It was how Raphael got the scar on his upper lip. So to keep them from hurting each other any further, they were allowed to mate.
There were rules they had to follow, of course. They were not allowed to be intimate around Splinter, and they had to control their urges for most of the day. Most of all, it couldn’t interfere with their training.
Splinter would leave the lair in the evening to give them privacy so that they could satisfy their needs. Even though they still tended to be a little more aggressive, mating once a day was enough to keep them from losing control.
The fact that they were able to sneak out of the lair on the night that they had first met April was because Splinter had left. It was at the end of mating season so they chose to go fight the Foot instead. They got into a great deal of trouble for betraying Splinter’s trust that night.
“What does this mean for your brothers?” Splinter finally asked, pulling Donnie from his thoughts.
Donnie glanced up at Leo and Mikey and then fixed his eyes back down on the floor. “Raph and I see no reason to change the relationship I already have with them.”
Splinter took a deep breath and then let it out slowly. “Keep your displays of affection to the confines of your bedrooms.”
“Yes, father,” Raph and Donnie said in unison.
“Is something troubling you, father?” Leonardo asked, causing Donnie to finally look up. Their father was usually hard to read but Don could see that there was something troubling him.
“It is nothing you need to worry yourselves over,” Splinter replied, standing up. He looked at each of them and then, once again, exhaled slowly. “This seems all too familiar,” he confessed.
Leonardo tilted his head to the side as he continued to study their father’s subtle body language. “What do you mean?”
“I have had this feeling only twice before,” Splinter explained. “The first time was when I had found the book on ninjutsu. When I started to study it and practice, it felt more like I was remembering something long forgotten instead of learning something new.” He looked away in a moment of thought. “The second time was when the Foot Clan attacked. It felt like I was reliving a nightmare and I was overrun with the fear of the four of you dying.”
He looked up at Raph and Donnie. “Now it feels as if I have had this conversation before.” He placed his hand on his forehead and closed his eyes as if he was trying to hold onto a memory.
Donatello and his brothers exchanged looks but none of them knew what to say.
“I am going to meditate on this,” Splinter stated, breaking the silence. “Maybe I will be able to find some answers.”
“Yes, father,” the Turtles said over one another as their father left them alone.
Once the door to Splinter’s room was closed, Leonardo turned his attention to Raph and Don. “So then…, you two are in a relationship?”
“Yeah,” Raph replied, crossing his arms over his plastron. “You got a problem with it?”
Holding up his hands, Leo shook his head. “Not at all. Just… a little surprised, that’s all.”
“How so?” Donnie wanted to know. His heart was racing. He never liked the truth about his physical gender to be brought up and he feared that Leo was going to make an issue over it
“All things considered, it’s just… unexpected.” Dropping his hands to his sides, Leo sighed. “I never would have pegged either of you for being gay. And then there’s the fact that the two of you can see each other as anything but brothers.” His hand came up to rub the back of his head. “It’s just a lot to take in.” He then glanced at Mikey as he let his arm drop back to his side. “Then again I never understood Mikey’s attraction to human women.”
“What’s to understand?” Mikey chimed in. “They’re hot. If you’re not attracted to women then what are you attracted to?”
Shrugging, Leo shook his head. “I’m not attracted to anyone. I don’t desire to be with anyone. The only time I have any kind of urge at all is during mating season. And, to be honest, I would rather that never happen.”
Surprised and in disbelief, Mikey looked at Leo. “You don’t like sex? How can you not like sex? Even when it’s not mating season, I wish I had a fine lady with me. Like April. I’m always thinking about sex.”
“I don’t desire to have it with anyone,” Leo replied. “The sensation is nice but I can manage that on my own.” Mikey made a face but otherwise kept his opinion to himself.
“Interesting,” Donnie stated.
“What is?” Leo asked, turning his attention to Donnie.
Donnie considered his brother. “So you have no desire for a partner of any kind?”
Leo nodded. “That’s right.”
“I can’t say this for certain,” Donnie said, making sure to choose his words carefully, “but, I believe that you could be… asexual.”
“He’s what now?” Mikey asked.
“Asexual,” Donnie repeated. “Given my situation, I have done quite a bit of research on sexual orientation and sexual identity. There are individuals out there who, instead of being sexually attracted to one gender or another, simply have no desire for a sexual partner at all.”
“I don’t understand,” Mikey said, looking blankly at Don.
“Not everyone is on sexual overdrive like you,” Raph further explained a little tartly. He then shook his head as he considered Leo. “I can wrap my head around the sex part, but I will admit that I’m having a hard time understanding not wanting a partner. I like the idea of being able to be close to Donnie. Even if we only have sex during mating season, just being with him gives me a sense of completion. Don’t you want that?”
Donatello’s heart soared at Raph’s words and he couldn’t stop the big grin from spreading across his face. Knowing that Raph was in this for more than just sex, thrilled Donatello.
“I have a hard time understanding why you feel you need it,” Leo countered. “I have all the companionship I need with my family and our friends. I don’t want or need anything more.”
Donnie laughed. “It seems we all are vastly different when it comes to such things.”
Leo nodded and looked at Raph. “I don’t understand it but if it makes you and Donatello happy, I will not get in the way of it.”
“Thanks,” Raph smiled.
Donatello looked down at the six round white orbs and knew that this perfection was fleeting. It wouldn’t be long before they started to turn grey and collapse. He ran his hand along the smooth surface, feeling the warmth. It never lasted.
Pulling his hand back, Donnie shook his head. It wasn’t wise to get attached to them. He couldn’t bring himself to simply get rid of them. They had to collapse before he could do that. As long as they were round, he would keep them safe and warm.
He covered them with a blanket and wouldn’t look at them again for at least a week. He had work to do. He had all of his systems in place but his work was never done. Something was always in need of repair or an upgrade.
His work was important. He helped to keep his family safe. His security system was their first line of defense. And it was how he knew they had visitors before they announced themselves.
“We come bearing gifts,” Vern announced as he walked into the lair with April.
Donnie exited his lab in time to hear Mikey ask, “Are the gifts small?” Donnie watched from the entrance to his lab as Mikey moved in close to April and had to suppress a groan as he anticipated what Mikey was going to say next. “Or are you the gift?”
“Numb nuts,” Raph mumbled under his breath as he stood up from the couch.
April simply smiled at Mikey and shook her head. “No.”
“They’re street level,” Vern replied, unamused as he pointed up. “The station upgraded some of its equipment and I offered to take the outdated tech to the junk yard for recycling. I figured Donnie would like first dibs since he lost some of his equipment when the Foot attacked.”
“Really?” Donnie looked at the clock, it was already night time. It had taken almost all day to lay those eggs. An entire day of work, lost. At least it ended on a positive note. “Yeah, I can go up and have a look.”
“Donnie?” Leo’s eyes asked the question that he could not ask out loud.
“Everything’s fine,” Donnie assured him.
Leo knew that it was close to when Donatello usually laid his eggs. Donnie never announced when he did and his brothers never saw them. They knew that if they hatched, he would tell them. He took care of everything, alone, and his brothers knew better than to question him over it. The simple assurance was all Leo needed.
“At least take someone for a look out,” Leo said in an attempt to make their previous exchange not sound so suspicious. “You know Master Splinter doesn’t want any of us going out alone.”
“I’ll go,” Raph offered, leading the way.
“I could have been the look out,” Vern mumbled as he followed Raph and Donnie out. Raph responded with a laugh that echoed off the sewer walls.
It took the trio three trips to unload everything from the van. Donatello had decided to go ahead and take it all. He would be able to use everything in one way or another. Waste not, want not was what they were taught growing up.
They piled the equipment just outside Donnie’s lab. When they were done, Vern snuck a quick peek inside. “I didn’t see the last one but this one’s coming along nicely.” He pointed at one of the monitors. “Is that a video feed from outside my apartment?”
“Yes,” Donnie answered honestly. “I have surveillance on your place and on April’s. Just in case.”
“I feel a little safer knowing that,” Vern said, as he stepped into the lab. “This is a really awesome set up. I’m impressed.”
Donnie felt the heat rise in his cheeks. “I do what I can.” He knew he was smart and that he had accomplished a great deal with what little he had but it was nice to hear it from someone else. He considered Vern for a moment. The man had his flaws but Donnie knew he was someone that could be trusted. “Can I ask a favor of you?”
Vern shrugged and nodded his head. “Ask away.” Then he smiled an added, “I’m not promising anything though.”
“Do you think you could get me a commercial sonogram machine?” Donnie asked. “A new one.” He turned to his computer and pulled up a website that had the devices on sale. “They run for under a hundred dollars. I have no way of paying you back but it would be useful to have and I can’t find any in the junk yards.”
“For the guy who helped save the city,” Vern said with a smile, “consider it done. Let me know what it is you want and I will get it for you.”
“Really?” Donatello had to suppress the urge to pick Vern up and hug him. “Thank you.”
“Hey.” Vern spread his arms out wide. “We’re friends. Right?”
A sense of relief washed over Donnie as he heard Vern say those words. It meant a lot to him that Vern considered him a friend. Donatello liked the idea of having a friend outside of his family. And it seemed that Vern liked to hang out with Donnie more than he did the others.
“Yeah we are,” Donnie replied.