Title: Changes and Chances Pairings: Don/Leo, Raph/Mikey Synopsis: (Post Turtles Forever). The boys find out that they’re not actually all related. Leo and Mikey are real brothers and so are Raph and Don, but what kind of implications will this mean for their makeshift family? Complications and chaos ensues.
Chapter 3 - Trouble in Paradise
The emerald green terrapin growled low in his throat, golden eyes blazing as he took a fighting stance in front of his opponent. He flipped the ends of his red bandana tails over a shoulder and raised his signature twin sais in warning. The creak of leather could be vaguely heard in the tensed silence as he gripped his weapons tight. Maybe a little too tight. He was impatient, that was for sure but he was also goddamned ticked off.
Sure, Raphael was a hothead and he was moody all the time, but he didn’t get angry for no apparent reason.
The red banded turtle glared at the form across from him, sizing up his adversary from head to toe. It was very unusual especially for him not to rush into battle, but experience told him it was different this time around. Though he could feel his leg muscles tensing slightly in impatience, he pushed the instinct to pounce and strike down the smartass punk. Something had changed since the last few times he’d squared off with this particular ninja. He seemed taller somehow, bigger even, but what changed the most was his technique. He was faster, stronger and didn’t seem to think twice before making well-executed moves to finish off the hot-headed turtle.
It’s been a week now and the transformation was still startling. The enemy – his enemy – was one smug bastard.
“What’s wrong, Raphael? Are you actually thinking before fighting me for once?” the ninja asked, obviously enjoying the chaos he was causing inside of Raph.
Raphael barked a short harsh laugh and started to slowly circle him like a predator would to prey. The emerald green terrapin squared his broad shoulders, showing off the bulging muscles of his upper body. He knew it was the hothead’s intimidation tactic - he didn’t care.
“Ya li’l ass… Just ‘cause ya were lucky enough these past few days ain’t mean I won’t pummel ya to the ground!” Raph snarled.
The ninja refused to move even when the red banded turtle was getting a little too close for comfort. His legs were evenly planted on the floor where his gravity was centered. He had a firm grip on his long, heavy weapon and a curled fist ready to counter his prowling assailant. His breathing was steady, muscles coiled in anticipation. Needless to say, the ninja was confident. And he was ready.
He gave Raph a taunting little smirk, “I’d like to see you try.”
Like a bomb going off, Raphael immediately leaped into action. He yelled angrily and thrust viciously at the enemy’s head, his movements wild and aggressive. The ninja expertly dodged the erratic jabs and spun his weapon so fast, it was only a dark blur as it came down on Raph’s right thigh. The red banded turtle cried out in both pain and surprise.
The ninja didn’t only stop there, he proceeded to make hard hits where he knew were the most crippling - the inside of his other thigh, his calves and his left shoulder. The effect was instantaneous, Raphael stumbled on his knees with a pained grunt, still clutching his weapons on either side of his body.
The red banded turtle panted harshly before trying to get up, but he knew his attempts were in vain when he felt the air being disturbed behind him. The ninja fluidly brought his weapon along Raph’s neck, effectively blocking his airway. The hothead choked a bit and raised his hands to grip at the offending weapon in reflex.
“Yame! That is enough Donatello. I think your brother would not need further humiliation after his swift defeat,” sighed their Sensei. He was proud of his genius son’s progress but Raphael has not been taking it very well.
Donatello immediately let go of his younger brother and smiled sheepishly at their father. He then gave Raph a concerned once-over, putting a gentle hand where his bo staff was pressed mere seconds ago on the hothead’s throat.
“You okay, bro? Did I put too much pressure on my bo?” Don asked worriedly. The euphoria from his victory made way for the huge guilt he was now feeling. The genius made sure his attacks were precise, none too hard to cause injury and he was pretty sure he didn’t choke the red banded turtle… but things do sometimes go unchecked when adrenaline and testosterone was involved.
The olive green terrapin flinched at the sideways glare Raphael gave. He slapped the purple banded turtle’s hand away and slowly stood up on his own legs.
“No, really Raph. I need to know if you’re hurt!”
Raphael, who was steadily walking away from Donatello, turned back to murder him with a sharp look. An ugly expression of rage twisted his features.
“Shut it, Brainiac! Ya don’t have to be so freakin’ smug all the time and now yer gonna rub it in, huh? Ya like pourin’ salt to my wounds now? Ya probably get off on it! Yer such a sicko, ain’t ya Donatel-“
Master Splinter’s enraged tone stopped all activity in the dojo. Even Michelangelo and Leonardo’s sparring concluded with an awkward ending of Mikey hopping and yelping on one foot while Leo was guiltily crouched in the middle of an attempt at a leg sweep. Obviously, things hadn’t gone very well on Don and Raph’s training session and they hastily scrambled up to where their other brothers and Sensei were currently arguing.
The voices grew louder as they approached and it didn’t take a genius to point out that their resident hothead was livid.
“-‘m sorry, Raph. I…” They heard Donnie murmur sadly.
“I know ya don’t mean it, ya asshole-!”
Thankfully, before another one of Raph’s cursing could continue, he was cut off by their equally disappointed and tired-looking Sensei. Dealing with four teenage sons was taxing enough, dealing with four ninjas was making the grandmaster of Ninjutsu consider an early retirement to Japan. Hopefully, he could somehow talk Raphael into meditation and let go of his grudge on his poor brother Donatello.
Splinter sighed, “Raphael. Come with me… now.”
The other three ninjas mutely watched as their father and their brother enter their Sensei’s shoji. Raph gave them one last dirty look before roughly sliding the delicate paper screen door with finality. No one spoke for a minute before the awkward silence got the best of the orange banded turtle.
Mikey looked to Don, “So… what happened, bruh? A little too early for family drama, don’tcha think?”
Donatello shook his head and covered his face with his hands. He sighed loudly.
“I don’t know. We were sparring, I won, I asked him if he was hurt, he exploded.”
Leo rose a browridge at that, “Seems like usual Raph reaction to me. What I don’t get it is why he was so mad about it. It’s not like he’s never lost to any of us before.”
“Uh, dude. You serious? Am I the only one who’s got eyes here? But hey, I do have the prettiest eyes in the family-“ the sea green terrapin babbled and grinned.
“Your point, Mikey?” their leader asked in a tone that clearly said Cut to the chase, Michelangelo.
The orange banded turtle made a tsk, tsk sound, “You guys are so dense! Raphie’s probably feeling like the butt end of a joke right now. Wanna guess why?” Mike asked despite continuing, “first - he’s a hothead, second - he’s a hothead with huge muscles, third - he benches like crazy, and fourth - he’s built like Arnold Schwarzenegger on steroids! But the worst of it all is that Raph doesn’t know how to act in front of us anymore. I mean, we all just realized three weeks ago that Donnie’s older than him and big bro Don’s been kicking his shell since Week 4, Day 1!”
The purple banded turtle’s head spun a bit from Mikey’s onslaught. Damn, his little brother’s shrill voice was really starting to hurt his eardrums, but more than that, Donatello finally realized why his red banded brother reacted the way he did. He tried to gulp down the tightening ball of additional guilt down his throat. So it was all his fault, wasn’t it?
A warm and firm grip on his wrist tugged his hand away from his face and he found himself looking down at his elder brother. Leonardo shot him a concerned look and patted his arm.
“It’s not your fault, Don.”
His theory of Leo being psychic was probably true because it seemed like he always knew what to say whenever Donnie was down in the dumps.
The leaf green terrapin continued to pat his bicep in an almost hypnotic rhythm, “I know what you’re thinking right now, Donnie…”
See? He is psychic.
“You think our extra training and the DNA tests was a mistake, but I need you to understand that it wasn’t. Our ages don’t matter, and Raph’s going to realize that sooner or later. He’ll get over it. You on the other hand, you’ve been improving so much that you’re much stronger and faster now. Those are qualities that will never be a mistake when practicing Ninjutsu and especially when we put our lives on the line. I’m proud of you, Don. I always knew you had so much potential. Like all of us.”
Leo looked him straight in the eye as he said all this and the olive green terrapin found himself unable to look away. The compliments pouring out of his leader was enough to make him blush but the steady patting of Leonardo’s hand on his arm was making his skin tingle in a good way. He was actually torn on which part of his elder brother he needed to concentrate on.
Almost reluctantly, the blue banded turtle withdrew his hand from his younger brother’s bicep and forced himself to look away from him. He was starting to feel kind of funny and his two younger brothers didn’t have to see how red his cheeks must be.
He cleared his throat, “Anyway, Raph clearly doesn’t understand that it’s a good thing you keep beating him in training,” I would gladly let myself be beaten up if it’s you… What? Bad Leo! Again with the weird thoughts, Leonardo paused, he was creeping himself out.
“Don’t worry, Donnie. Whatever Raphael said to you earlier was his temper talking. You know how he is.”
The purple banded turtle nodded, finally mustering a real smile. Leo’s big brother talk never failed to ease his worries. What would he do without his mother hen of an older brother?
“Thanks, Leo. For everything… I- I won’t be here kicking Raph’s ass everyday if it weren’t for your Spartan training. I can’t feel my legs half the time and my brain cells are probably scrambled to the point of no return, but it was all worth it!” Donnie grinned cheekily at the leaf grin terrapin.
Leonardo laughed heartily and reached up to throw an arm over Donnie’s shoulders, bending him down to his level. It was kind of hard with the four inches Don had over Leo, but that didn’t stop him from giving his younger brother a playful noogie. They enjoyed the roughhousing for a bit before eventually separating.
“You get any taller and I can’t give you anymore ‘headrubs’ in the future, Don,” the blue banded turtle quipped at Donatello’s retreating back.
His genius brother had more work to do and until then, the Fearless Leader would wait until their afternoon training. He always did look forward spending time with the purple banded turtle.
Don snickered, “I don’t think I’ll get any taller than this, Leo. Besides, maybe it’s you who’s getting shorter.”
Leo chuckled and yelled at him good-naturedly, “Smartass!”
Donatello only waved back in response and finally rounded a corner, disappearing from their field of view. Speaking of people in the room, Mikey was uncharacteristically silent the whole time Don and Leo were interacting with each other. The blue banded turtle had a very suspicious feeling in his gut and he dreaded what he would find when he turned his back to look at his youngest brother.
Leonardo didn’t have to wait for much longer when he heard the tale tell snickering of the sea green terrapin. He turned around and was dismayed to note the mischievous glint in Mikey’s baby blue eyes.
“You owe me ten dollars, bro. I was totally right and you’re so totally whipped!” guffawed the orange banded turtle.
Leo was confused but he was also starting to get really annoyed at his baby brother, “No I don’t, Mike and what are you talking about?”
“Aw crap, should’ve known you’d never fall for that one,” Michelangelo pouted then shrugged, “dude, do you have amnesia or something? Remember what we were talking about at the kitchen this morning? Y’know, doing the d- er… possibilities, pairing off, you’re undying love for tall, smart and handsome Donatello?”
“Mikey!” the leaf green terrapin hissed between his teeth, steel grey eyes narrowing threateningly.
He would have looked scary if it wasn’t for the obvious red tint on his cheeks. Mike leered at his eldest brother and swiftly threw an arm over Leo to bring the blue banded turtle closer.
“You were groping Donnie’s biceps earlier, big bro. Don’t deny it, I have eyes,” the sea green terrapin whispered slyly. Like I keep telling you.
If Leonardo wasn’t flustered yet, he was now.
“No I wasn’t! I was patting his arm,” Leo heatedly whispered back.
His orange banded brother acted as if he didn’t hear him and continued to prattle on, “I really can’t blame you though… I mean, it’s been like what, three? Four months? Of extra training with you every day and Donnie-boy is bound to get jacked with extra muscles! Man, if I wasn’t interested in Raphie, I’d be jumping Don right about now.”
Mikey didn’t have to look at Leo to know the leader had the most horrified facial expression he could muster after hearing those words. Mike smirked, Leo is so easy sometimes.
A beat later and Leonardo was gripping both of his baby brother’s shoulders, turning him so they could face each other. He made sure to look absolutely menacing, complete with white slits for eyes. Mikey knew it was only their third eyelid but it was still creepy enough when someone uses them outside battles and fighting. He shivered despite himself.
“No one’s jumping anyone. Especially, not Donatello. Am I clear, Michelangelo?” the leader’s tone was final.
The prankster gulped, “Yeah, sure, of course bro. I’m a loyal turtle and Raphie’s still my main man.”
Just like that, Leo changed back to his usual self and shyly scratched the back of his head.
“I don’t know what to think right now, Mike. I think it’s too soon especially after knowing we’re not all genetically related, but ever since I can remember, I’ve always had a soft spot for Don,” he muttered.
The sea green terrapin released a relieved breath and briefly hugged his elder brother, “Finally! I thought you were never going past the brooding stage. Dude, nothing has to change if you don’t want it to. I’m just here to remind you and tease you a lot like any good ‘ol little brother in the world. Besides, I think we deserve a li’l loving after saving the universe a couple of times, right?”
Leonardo had to laugh at that, “Yes, I think we do,” then, he remembered, “but what about Raphael? Clearly, he hasn’t been taking things too well. Will you be okay, Mikey?”
Mike had been making the whole situation almost all about Donnie and him but his baby brother hasn’t said a peep about his presumed crush. He still couldn’t comprehend why, of all turtles, Michelangelo was fixated on their hot tempered brother but he chalked it up to the same thing on why he’s so fixated on Don. But Raph’s rashness and Mikey’s mischievousness will surely be an explosive mix. The Fearless Leader did not want to be present in the fallout. Nope, no thank you.
“That hothead? Leave him to me, big bro. You should focus on your priorities than your baby brother’s,” the orange banded turtle winked.
The leaf green terrapin was having second thoughts about leaving it to Mikey but maybe it was time for all of them to grow up.
“You sure, Mike?”
“Yep, totally. He’ll come around in no time.”
A short comfortable silence followed the end of their conversation, each one simmering in their own thoughts. The lull was broken a few minutes later, by the sound of a shoji door sliding out, and they looked up to see a much mellowed down Raphael leaving their Sensei’s room. The red banded turtle noticed them and only gave a short nod before stomping out of the dojo and probably going up to his room.
“Yep, I totally think he’ll come around really soon,” Mikey’s tone was giddy as he looked at his eldest brother.
Leonardo patted his head and chuckled, “Don’t get too excited, baby bro or you’ll freak him out.”
“Yeah, yeah,” The orange banded turtle waved a hand dismissively as he started to walk towards the entrance the room. He paused near the door and turned to Leo.
“Hey Leo? How did it feel when you grop- sorry, patted his arm?”
Again, the leader was a little confused and turned red at the question when he realized they were talking about Donatello again, “I-it was nice, why?”
Mikey grinned widely and replied, “We’re brothers, Leo. It’s no mystery why we liked the turtles we like – we’ve got a thing for muscles bro!”
The sea green terrapin cackled madly as he exited the dojo, leaving a heavily flustered Leonardo facepalming and groaning out a muffled, "Mikey…"