Donna flopped down on the bed with a grunt. Their first patrol had been a success. Mistakes had been made but they had managed to fight off petty criminals without needing the guys to help. But all that fighting had left her whole body aching. She had physically worked herself harder than she had ever worked before. Then again, she had never had to fight for her life before.
The more time that past the more she hurt. Now that the rush was starting to wear off, every blow the criminals had managed to land was starting to make their presence known. She hurt so much that, despite how exhausted she was, she doubted she was going to get any sleep.
Leah looked just as exhausted and she was sporting a sizable welt on her upper left arm where one of the criminals had managed to strike her with a bat. That was going to leave a nasty bruise. Slowly, Leah removed her gear as her body started to stiffen. “I have a feeling I am going to be hurting worse in the morning.”
“You and me both,” Donna moaned, shifting her position a little to make room for Leah.
When someone knocked on their door they looked at each other, neither willing to get up to answer it. “Come in,” Leah called out.
Tello poked his head in and smiled at the two of them. “Hi….” He held up a small bottle. “Donny asked me to give this to you. It’s ointment. It should help ease the pain and reduce the swelling.”
Leah held up her hands. “Toss it here. I don’t wanna get up.”
“You know,” Tello said as he opened the door a little wider and stepped in. “If you are in that bad of shape I could always come in and lend a hand.” With a chuckle he held up his hand and smiled. “It will take less than no time at all with hands like….”
His statement ended with a slight yelp as he was pulled back. He looked off to the side and Raph’s voice could be heard coming from just out of sight. “Now’s not the time to flirt with your new girlfriend.”
“Right. Sorry.” Tello shifted his attention back to Leah. “Sorry. I got a little carried away. Here.” He tossed the bottle and Leah expertly caught it.
“You’re forgiven,” Leah said with a smile. “Maybe in the morning I will let you put those hands to work.”
Tello flushed and started to mumble nervously and incoherently. Once again Raph’s hand came out and pulled Tello back. “Goodnight, ladies,” he said, staying out of sight as he closed the door.
Leah and Donna passed the bottle between each other as they worked to cover all of their sore spots. By the time they were done, the bottle was almost empty, spurting out its contents when they squeezed, but at least it seemed to be working. The pain Donna had been feeling was fading to a dull ache.
Closing her eyes, she let out a content sigh.
She must have fallen asleep because the next thing she knew was that she was being startled awake by a loud thud and Rachael screaming out, “Leo!”
Stiff muscles be damned, Donna and Leah were out of their bed in an instant. They opened their door in time to see Mikey rushing into Leo and Rachael’s shared room. Making their way over to the open door, Leah and Donna looked inside.
Rachael was sitting on the floor with Mikey looking her over. “I’m fine,” she insisted, shooing him away. “He didn’t hurt me. I was just surprised.”
Leo was on the bed with his head in his hands, slouched over in shame. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled over and over.
“What happened,” Mikey asked as the others soon joined them to see what was going on.
“Leo started moving,” Rachael explained. “I was asleep and had forgotten that I was next to him and not Michelle.” She sighed, looking more frustrated with herself than anything. “Michelle tends to fidget in her sleep so when Leo started moving, I pushed him like I usually did Michelle. That’s when he threw us both off the bed but I’m okay.”
“I tried to strangle you,” Leo stated, sounding angry with himself.
“You came to your senses before anything happened,” Rachael argued. She looked around at everyone gathered in the doorway. “I’m fine,” she insisted. “You all can stop gawking and go back to bed.”
“She’s right,” Sliver said from behind Donna. She placed her hand on Donna’s shoulder and coaxed her away from the door. A simple hand gesture was all that was needed to get Leah to move away.
“Rachael appears unharmed so there is no need for you all to stay,” Splinter agreed, stepping past the others to enter the room. “Mistress Yuri and I will handle this. The rest of you should return to your rooms.”
“Hai, Sensei,” they all said, overlapping one another as they made their way back to their rooms.
“Everything okay?” Raph asked Tello. He had stayed back by the stairs when everyone else had tried to press into the room to get a look.
“It seems like it,” Tello replied as they made their way back to their room. “Leo snapped out of it before he seriously hurt Rachael.”
“Good,” Raph said. “Hopefully she’ll learn fast. I’d hate to see Leo guilt ridden over hurting her like he was when he gave Mikey a black eye.”
Leah and Donna entered their room and made their way back to bed. “Can you imagine?” Leah asked as they settled into bed. Leah was on her back, looking up at the ceiling with her hands tucked under her head. “She needs to be on guard at all times now, even when she’s asleep.” She turned her head to look at Donna. “He could seriously hurt her if she does the wrong thing.” She looked back up at the ceiling and sighed. “I’m glad it’s not me.”
“If Leo’s that bad, imagine how bad Raph is,” Donna said tartly, turning on her side facing Leah and tucking one arm under her pillow for support.
Shaking her head, Leah looked at Donna again. “When I overheard Mikey warning Rachael about Leo after dinner I had asked Tello about Raph. He said that Raph was a deep sleeper and if he does have a nightmare he simply holds Tello closer. I don’t think you have to worry about him.”
Donna glared at Leah. “You’re assuming that I’m going to be sleeping next to him one day.”
“You’re the one who brought him up.” Leah turned on her side to face Donna. “You’re going to choose to be alone?”
Donna looked down and shrugged. “I don’t know yet.”
Leah brushed her fingers along Donna’s cheek and then leaned in to kiss her sister on the forehead. Nothing more was said as the two settled down to sleep.
The next morning, Donna headed to Donny’s lab with the latest file she had finished reading in hand. She was learning so much from Donatello’s notes and envied the life he had led. True his life had been in danger a good portion of the time but he had experienced so much. He had even traveled through space and time.
The door to the lab was open, indicating that she was free to enter. She rounded the shelving unit that served as a room divider and headed straight for Donny, who was sitting at his desk. She held the file out to him. “I’m ready for the next file.”
He reached down to pat the filing drawer without taking his eyes off of his computer. “Help yourself.”
Dropping to her knees, Donna opened the drawer and placed the read file away before searching for another one. She didn’t have to read the files in an order, they were by subject not by occurrence. So she looked for a subject that interested her and found the one on the guys’ mystic training.
As she pulled the file out, she noticed an envelope with her name on it next to one with the name Joi on it. Curiosity getting the better of her, Donna grabbed the envelope with her name on it and tucked it against the file in her hand to hide it.
“I’m gonna start in on these right away,” she said as she got to her feet.
“We’re good on work load for now,” Donny said, without looking up and waved her away. “You can do whatever you want for now. But I will need your help later with some things so don’t tuck yourself away somewhere where I can’t find you.”
“Alright,” Donna agreed as she made a hasty exit.
She headed straight for her room and closed the door behind her. Sitting on the bed, she tossed the file aside and looked down at the envelope in her hands. Why would Donny have this? She was going to find out.
Carefully breaking the seal, Donna opened the envelope and pulled out the folded papers inside. It was a hand written note, three pages long front and back, written in black ink. After scanning over the first few lines, she was able to deduce that it was written by Raphael.
Part of her wanted to simply fold it back up and seal it back in the envelope but the other part wanted to know what it said. So she read it. What harm could there be in it?
The first part explained how it was Donny’s idea that he write the letter. It was therapeutic. Write the letter, say what you wanted to say, seal it in an envelope and never send it to them. It was a way of working it out of your system without actually confronting the other person. He had done it years before when a woman named Joi had broken his heart. That explained the other one Donna had seen.
Then he went on to explain how when he had first seen her that she was like an answer to his prayers. He was closest to his brother Donny and he had hoped to have the same connection to her. He had forgotten about the animosity that Donny had towards him when they were younger. That it was only after they went out into the world and had to fight alongside each other that their relationship started to grow.
He understood that, since Donna and her sisters lacked the same life experiences that she did not get the chance to build that same kind of relationship with Rachael. And, just like he had done with her and Donny, Donna had projected the image Rachael on to him.
She had to take a moment to stop reading as she let that sink in. He was right. Everything she thought about him was based on Rachael. She had never taken the time to get to know him. She knew that she wasn’t exactly like Donny. It wasn’t fair to assume that Raphael was exactly like Rachael.
She continued to read about the things he would have shared with her. About how he had already started to modify some of the dresses he had to fit her. He promised that he would never hurt her. He couldn’t guarantee that he would not yell from time to time or lose his temper, but he would not physically harm her.
Tear stains smudged the ink on the page as his words turned to acceptance of her not wanting him. He said she deserved better than him and that all he wanted was for her to be happy. He would respect whatever decision she made.
She read how he felt that the attack had left him weak, damaged. It robbed him of his ability to have children. His confidence was gone. He was doing things he never would have done before it had happened.
What she read next she had to read again to make sure she had read it right. Sitting up in bed she felt her heart sink as she read it yet again. He confessed that he was addicted to pain pills and that no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t stop taking them. She could see the change in his handwriting that signified how emotional he was at the moment he had written the words. Donna’s heart sank. What was she going to do now that she knew this secret?