Raph was laying on the bed, nervously waiting to be taken into the operating room. The doctors had deemed him strong enough to undergo the partial hysterectomy and were getting ready for the surgery.
“You make sure you hold Yoshi,” Raph said as he shifted his position on the bed. “I don’t want him feeling alone while I’m away.”
“I swear to you that there will not be a moment that passes where he thinks he is alone,” Leo promised, holding Raph’s hand. “Right now, father is holding him while he naps.”
Squeezing Leo’s hand, Raph let out a deep breath. “You’ll be there when I wake up?”
“You know I will.” Leo nodded. “Are you okay? You’re fidgeting.”
“I’m eager to get it done but, you know, a little worried about them cutting into me,” Raph admitted. Closing his eyes, he took another deep breath. “I wish they would get this started already.”
“It’s just a couple of small incisions along each side,” Leo said. “Nothing too invasive. You’ll be on your feet by dinner and back in our room tonight.”
“Maybe you and me can sleep in another room tonight,” Raph suggested. “We can give Mikey and Don some alone time.”
“I don’t think Mikey cares if we’re there or not,” Leo said with a laugh. “But, yeah. I think you and I are overdue for some alone time as well.”
“You can join Mikey and Don if you want,” Raph said, keeping his eyes down. “Alone time with me isn’t gonna consists of anything beyond sleeping.”
“We’ve talked about this,” Leo said and bent down to be in Raph’s line of sight. “I’m not going to do anything without you. I don’t care if all we do is sleep. I love you.”
“I don’t want you giving sex up for me,” Raph argued. “You don’t have to be celibate just because I… have hang-ups.”
“If I can’t be with you I don’t want to be with anyone,” Leo insisted.
“Don’t put that on me,” Raph pleaded as tears filled his eyes. Before anything else could be said, Raph clammed up and hastily wiped the tears from his eyes when he noticed that the doctor was approaching.
Leo leaned down and kissed his head. “I’ll see you in a few hours. I love you.”
“I love you too,” Raph whispered.
“Ready,” the doctor asked as he got closer.
“Let’s get this over with,” Raph replied.
“Then off we go,” the doctor said and pushed Raph down the hall, towards the operating room. “We’ll call you when he’s done.”
“Thank you.” Leo stood in the hall, watching Raph until he disappeared through the door. Taking a deep breath to steady his nerves, he turned and walked the other direction, towards the nursery.
When he entered the room, Leo saw Splinter dozing in the recliner with Yoshi on his chest, tucked under his kimono. Leo walked over and placed his hand on Yoshi’s back, satisfying the need to see that he was still breathing.
“He’s fine,” Splinter whispered, opening his eyes.
“You don’t have to be so quiet,” Leo said. “It’s not like he can hear you.”
“No,” Splinter said, keeping his voice low. “However, he can feel the vibrations of my voice.” He pointed to Yoshi’s hand which was up near his throat. “Look. He placed it there to feel my words as he fell asleep.”
“Wow,” Leo said under his breath. “That’s… kind of… amazing.”
“Helen Keller learned to speak by feeling the vibrations in her teacher’s throat while feeling the movements of her lips,” Splinter stated. “With the right training, Yoshi will also be able to overcome his handicaps.”
“Did you feed him,” Leo asked. He didn’t have to ask if Yoshi had willingly eaten. At the moment, he didn’t have a choice since he was fed through the tube in his nose.
“I gave him his three ounces,” Splinter said with a nod. “He didn’t have any troubles with it.”
“Good,” Leo said and continued to watch Yoshi sleep. “Before you know it, he’ll be eating on his own.”
“Indeed,” Splinter smiled. “He grows stronger with each passing day.”
“Do you need me to take him,” Leo offered.
Splinter shook his head and closed his eyes. “We’re fine. Go tend to your other children while he sleeps.”
“Thank you, father,” Leo said, bowing slightly before leaving the room.
Leo found the others watching television while they played. Donatello, who had appointed himself in charge of their education, made sure that whatever the children watched had some educational value to it. Their current favorite was a show called Team Umizoomi.
As soon as Nevio noticed Leo, he was on his feet and toddling over to him. “Da,” he squeaked past the pacifier with his arms raised.
The other two soon joined him in the rush to greet their father. Getting down on his knees, Leo embraced his children. All of his worries seemed to fade away whenever he held them.
“How’s Raph,” Mikey asked from the couch.
“Nervous,” Leo answered, “but eager to have the procedure done. The doctors will call me so I can be there when he wakes up.”
“Don and I will take care of the kids while you do,” Mikey stated and smiled.
“You guys have help me so much,” Leo said, ushering the kids back towards their toys. “I don’t know what I would do without you. I will make it up to you. Somehow.”
“I can think of a few ways you can make it up to me,” Mikey said in a suggestive tone.
“Mikey,” Donny chided and Mikey’s grin widened.
“Raph isn’t ready,” Leo said. “However, we have agreed to sleep in the other room so you and Don can have some time alone.”
“I guess that will do for now,” Mikey said, feigning a sigh. “It would be nice if we could all be together like we were meant to be.”
“Meant to be,” Leo asked, lifting an eye ridge.
“Yeah,” Mikey said with a nod of his head. “Don’t act like you don’t remember how we were as kids, before Don was able to connect us to the outside world through television. We all slept in the same bed and openly showed affection. Then we saw that it wasn’t ‘normal’ and you guys started pulling away.”
Leo chuckled, shaking his head, dismissing the notion, but then he paused for a moment to think back to those days in their early teens. Maybe Mikey was right. If they had remained secluded, never being influenced by human standards, things would have been different.
He remembered the way he felt for his brothers and how human media had changed his way of thinking.
“I think he gets it now,” Donny said, pulling Leo from his thoughts. “How do you think Mikey convinced me? He reminded me of those days, how natural it felt to be together.”
Leo walked over to Mikey and kissed the top of his head. “When Raph is ready….”
“Okay,” Mikey agreed.
Leo spent the rest of his time playing with his children. When he got the call from the doctors, he once again left them in the care of Mikey and Don. Before he left, he checked in once more on Yoshi and Splinter, smiling to himself when he saw them both sound asleep.
He was in the hall when they wheeled Raphael out of the operating room and he followed them into the recovery room. Raph was already starting to wake. After the doctors finished situating the bed, Leo took a seat and grabbed Raph’s hand.
Raph’s eyes were glazed over as he looked up at Leo. “Is it done?”
“You’re all done now, Raph,” Leo said softly, nodding his head.
“How many more babies,” Raph asked, his words slurring.
Taken by surprise, Leo chuckled. He had heard that people tend to ramble about nonsensical things when coming out of surgery. He couldn’t pass on the opportunity. “Twenty.”
“That’s a lot,” Raph mumbled. “We’re fucked.” His eyes went wide as something occurred to him. “Do they all have fingers?”
Leo had to stifle a laugh and wondered what was going through Raph drug addled mind, and wished he had a camera to record it. “Everything’s fine,” Leo reassured him.
“I love you,” Raph said. “You’re too good for me. I don’t deserve someone as good as you.”
“I love you too,” Leo said.
With a serious look, Raph grabbed Leo’s face. “I want you to know that it wasn’t just the sex. But, it was good sex. You did good. Real good.”
“Thank you,” Leo chuckled. “I tried. It wasn’t just sex for me either. I love you. So much.”
Raph’s hand dropped and he closed his eyes. “The eggs are purple. Maybe I ate too many grapes.”
Leo decided that, instead of waking him back up, it would be best to allow him to doze off the rest of the anesthetics and simply watched him sleep.
Raph’s brow would occasionally furrow, most likely due to absurd dreams but, for the most part, he rested peacefully. When he did wake again, Leo could see in his eyes that he was more aware.
Raph took a few deep breaths and looked around the room before setting his eyes on Leo. “I guess I’m done?”
Leo nodded. “How do you feel?”
Raph licked his lips. “My mouth is dry.”
“I’ll see if it’s okay for you to drink something,” Leo said as he got to his feet.
Raph grabbed his hand before he was able to leave. “I love you.”
Leo smiled and bent over to kiss Raph’s lips. “I love you. I’ll be right back.”
Raph released his hand and Leo took a few steps back before turning to leave the room.
Raph would have preferred to stay in bed for a while longer. The thought of walking around so soon after surgery was not something he wanted to do, but the doctors insisted that he was well enough to get up and return to his family.
Leo had spent a few hours with Raph after the surgery but then left when Splinter called to tell him Yoshi was awake. He was supposed to return so that he could walk with Raph back to their room but he was running late.
It wasn’t like Leo to say he was going to be somewhere and then not show up. Not unless something unforeseeable had come up. Raph decided not to wait and walked back to their room by himself.
He passed the main bedroom they shared and stopped in his tracks when he heard a churr. His heart sank to his stomach as he leaned in closer to the door. He could hear the unmistakable sounds of sex.
Was that what distracted Leo? Raph had insisted that he join them.
Tears filled his eyes as he thought of Leo with them. Closing his eyes, he tried to rid his mind of the image. It hurt more than he could ever imagine. He didn’t want to be abandoned.
His eyes snapped open at the sound of Leo’s voice. Seeing his brother standing in the hall with Yoshi in his arms, brought on an overwhelming sense of relief and it was all he could do to not break down.
“You okay,” Leo asked, rushing towards Raph.
“Yeah,” Raph answered, his voice cracking a little. “Just a little tired.”
“Why didn’t you wait,” Leo asked and did his best to offer Raph some support. “You shouldn’t be walking by yourself so soon after surgery.”
“You were late,” Raph said. “I figured you were indisposed. It’s not that far.”
“I was late because Yoshi had a blowout,” Leo said and looked down at the slumbering baby in his arms. “I had to clean it out from under his shell. He didn’t like that. Then it took me a while to get him calm again. I didn’t want to come and get you with a screaming baby.”
He looked up at Raph. “But, you looked more than tired. You seemed upset.”
“I thought you were in there with them,” Raph admitted.
“I already told you that I wasn’t going to do that without you,” Leo stated as a matter of fact. They made it to the spare room and Leo opened the door. “If you’re not comfortable in that kind of relationship, then we won’t do it.”
“I might have been all for it before I messed everything up,” Raph said as he entered the room. “Now, I’m not sure I want anyone touching me.”
“You’ve got time to work it out,” Leo said. He walked over to the bed and placed Yoshi down in the bassinette and then indicated the spot next to it. “You can sleep here, next to Yoshi. I’ll sleep on the other side of you, if that’s okay.”
“That’s fine,” Raph said with a nod. “Even though I’ve slept most of the day away but I’m still tired.”
“The healing process takes a lot of energy,” Leo said as they positioned themselves on the tatami. “You should feel better in the morning.”
Raph stayed sitting for a moment so he could watch Yoshi sleep. “The pain killers only add to the grogginess,” he chuckled and reached down to run his finger along Yoshi’s carapace. “I love you.”
Leo pressed up against Raph to look at Yoshi. The physical contact didn’t bother Raph like he thought it would. In fact, it eased his stress.
Leaning back, Raph nuzzled Leo, beak to beak, grateful for Leo’s presence. Leo returned the gesture of love. They lay down together, staying locked in an embrace with Leo curled protectively around Raph.
Feeling relaxed, Raph closed his eyes and allowed exhaustion to take over.