When They're Alone
``Would you care to explain to me where you think you are going?'' Leo asked, firmly planted in front of the door with his arms crossed over his plastron.
Raph stopped quickly before he collided with his brother. He could have sworn Leo was in the dojo.
``Nope,'' Raph answered shortly, ``none of your business.''
Leo didn't budge. ``All right, let me rephrase the question. Where are you going?''
Raph's grin was humorless. ``Same answer, none of your fuckin' business. Now get bent.''
``When Master Splinter says we don't leave the lair, that means all of us,'' Leo said. Pointing at Raph, he added, ``That includes you.''
``And that makes you guardian of the gate, right Splinter Junior?'' Raph snarled. ``I'm tired of being cooped up in here. Ya' think Bishop's settin' up booby traps in the sewers? I say let's catch his men in the act and shove some of those traps up their asses. That'll make `em think twice about coming down here.''
``Donatello will find those traps; after they've been set and Bishop's people are gone. That is the most prudent way to respond to the current threat,'' Leo told him.
``I don't know about prudent,'' Raph said. ``The only thing I know is action. Sitting on my butt waiting for Bishop to finish monkeying around in my sewers ain't my way. So move before I move ya'.''
``You are certainly welcome to try,'' Leo said as his arms came down.
Raph leaped at him almost before the words left Leo's mouth. Together they toppled over into a heap; fists flying as they rolled and tumbled across the floor.
The noise drew Donatello and Michelangelo from their rooms. Looking down at the flashes of red and blue, Don and Mikey glanced at each other and grinned. Sitting so that their feet dangled over the second floor balcony, the pair watched their brothers tussle.
Raph was trying to hit Leo with a solid blow, but his brother managed to twist away from his fist with every attempt. Leo was working to avoid being crushed by Raph's massive muscles, fingers digging for pressure points as they continued to wrestle.
Despite Raph's best efforts to avoid Leo's traps, the blue banded leader finally froze his larger brother.
``Hold still you hot head,'' Leo hissed from between clenched teeth.
``Get offa me Fearless,'' Raph growled in return, refusing to concede defeat.
Mikey leaned in close to Don and whispered, ``I told you Leo tops when they're alone.''
Don's hand lifted to cover his laugh.
``We now return you to the regularly scheduled program, already in progress . . . .''
``No! I hate when they do that!'' Mikey's lamentation rang throughout the lair.
``It ain't like ya' haven't seen that show a dozen times,'' Raph muttered as he walked past the couch.
``That doesn't mean it doesn't spoil it for me,'' Mikey countered, switching from television viewing to game playing with a touch to the master controller.
The sounds of explosions, tires squealing and gun fire soon filled the air. Walking from the kitchen towards the dojo, Master Splinter and Leonardo raised their voices slightly in order to hear each other over the din.
``. . . and I think I've got the schedule worked out to suit Don's time frame for the next month. I know how important it is he get all of those security enhancements in place as quickly as possible,'' Leo said.
``Do not allow him to skip too many meals, Leonardo. He is beginning to look thin,'' Master Splinter murmured.
``I know,'' Leo acknowledged, running an agitated fingertip over his brow. ``Reminding him doesn't work; I have to bring the food to him and watch him eat it, or roll him in his chair out to the table.''
``If Donatello would show that type of concentration when learning a different weapon he would be quite formidable,'' Master Splinter said mildly, knowing the point was moot.
``I've also talked to Casey about giving me a map of the areas where he thinks Purple Dragon activity will be heaviest in the next few weeks. That way I'll have some idea of where Raphael might be when the two of them go out, since Raph's stock answer to any of my questions is `get bent','' Leo said with a chuckle.
``I am happy to see you've found a way to circumvent your brother's stubbornness,'' Master Splinter told him. ``I am also pleased that you have decided to treat his insubordination with humor.''
``Well, it's either that or a physical altercation, and I think he actually enjoys those,'' Leo admitted. ``Finding a work around and laughing at his temper tantrum seems to earn me a bit more respect than just my yelling at him.''
``Working with chaos,'' Master Splinter observed.
Leo's mouth curved upwards slightly. ``Exactly. Raphael is the unpredictable component of my team, but I think I'm getting a better handle on how to guide that to work in my favor. I need to make sure he never knows that though.''
Master Splinter nodded, breaking into a smile. ``He will never hear it from me. The mantle of leadership sits well on you, my son.''
``There is so much more I need to do,'' Leo told him. ``I have no solution to the increased Foot patrols or for getting Bishop off of our shells. It seems that Don's lists grow longer and acquiring the needed materials from nearby junkyards grows more difficult.''
They stopped near the television array and watched as Mikey battled his way through another level of the game he was playing.
At a momentary lull in the action, Master Splinter said, ``You do not need to solve the mysteries of the world Leonardo.''
Leo sighed. ``I'd settle for solving the mystery of how to get Mikey off of these games and into the dojo.''
Master Splinter lifted a finger to indicate he was about to make a point. ``That is simple, my son.''
With a flourish, the turtle's sensei reached down and yanked the main power cord out of its electrical socket. The entire television array went black.
``My game!'' Mikey shrieked, bounding off of the couch and staring with horror at the empty viewing screens.
Leo's grin was huge as he looked from his enraged youngest sibling back to his Father.
Master Splinter said, ``The straight forward approach usually works best.''
``Shell, there . . . right . . . ahh, oh shit . . . mmm, okay . . . yes! More . . . just like that. Oh Donny!'' Raph groaned.
Don leaned over Raph's prone form, hands squeezing with just the right amount of pressure.
``Is that the spot, Raph?'' Don asked.
``Damn! That's perfect, Donny. Ahh!'' Raph moaned in ecstasy, burying his face in a pillow on Don's bed.
Don shook his head, his face wearing an indulgent look. ``Why is it you always come home to me either needing a repair job, or to have the kinks worked out?''
``Ya' make me sound like a machine,'' Raph murmured, totally relaxed as Don eased the knot out of his calf muscle. ``Be happy I come home.''
``That isn't funny,'' Don said, pinching the skin behind Raph's knee in retribution.
``Ow!'' Raph started laughing. ``Okay, sor~ry. Afraid I don't know how to take it easy Donatello. Seems like I only got one setting and that's balls-to-the-wall.''
``You and Casey,'' Don noted with a grin. ``Does he get this beat up? I don't recall hearing April say anything about putting him back together after the two of you have hit the town. And I do mean that literally.''
``Shit, he's usually worse off `cause he's a big, clumsy oaf,'' Raph said good-naturedly. ``April patched him up once and she chewed his ass out the whole time, so he don't go to her anymore. He either fixes himself, or goes to see a friend of his at the free clinic.''
``Hmm. Maybe I should adopt the ass chewing strategy. Do you think that would make you be a little more careful?'' Don asked.
``Ya' stay exactly the way ya' are,'' Raph said strongly. ``Sometimes just knowing you're here is all that keeps me going.''
Don leaned down to catch Raph's eye. ``As flattering as that is, I sincerely wish you wouldn't let it get to that point.''
``Ya' know I don't mean to,'' Raph told him, staring into the warmth that emanated from his brother's dark eyes. ``Me and Case just wanna hang out most nights, but somehow we end up being someplace where shit happens.''
``Destiny,'' Don murmured, straightening back up and beginning to work on the muscles in Raph's thighs.
``Ahh . . . ahh . . . damn that feels good,'' Raph moaned. ``Yeah, what ya' said. Destiny. Like me always managing to drag my shell home to your magic hands.''
``My what?'' Don asked him as his fingertips stroked lightly over the point where Raph's thighs met another part of his anatomy.
This time Raph's groan was for an entirely different reason. ``Your m . . . magic hands,'' he repeated. ``They can do all kinds of stuff, like dance over a keyboard, or repair broken motorcycles, take ten or twenty stitches in a guy to reconnect all of his pieces and hardly leave a scar. Or this, when ya' get my muscles feeling like jelly and then touch me in just the right way to light a fire in the pit of my stomach.''
``That's my way of reminding you it's in your best interest to always come home entirely intact,'' Don said smugly, this time brazenly cupping Raph's rear end.
``Oh trust me Donny boy,'' Raph said, squirming further into Don's talented hands, ``I always plan on doing exactly that.''