Raphael didn’t know what to think or how to feel. He was dazed, numb, and a little queasy. This lasted for several long seconds as he watched the scene before him like he was watching a movie. Then, different emotions came one after the other. He felt confused first, then hurt, and then, of course, angry. Raph knew he had no right to feel any of that. Him and Leo were no longer together. They were free to go and be with whomever they wanted.
And yet, some sick part of Raph was really hoping that Leo would be suffering without him just as much as Raph was suffering without Leo. The fact that, that was not the case placed a very sour feeling in Raph’s gut. More than anything, he wanted to turn around right now and head back home. Or better yet, head to the nearest gas station or market and grab another carton of beer.
He didn’t though. Knowing that Arianna would just hunt him down and drug him again.
Raph opened his mouth to say something when an explosion next to him cut him off.
“What the hell is this?” Arianna shouted, surprising Raph by the capacity of her volume. He watched in awe as her cheeks bloomed with a rosy tint and her hands flung into the air. She stomped over to the couple and, taking the woman by her hair, she yanked her off of Leo.
The woman shrieked in a mixture of outrage and fright. She struggled against Arianna, trying to pry her hair from the girl’s fist.
Leo sat up, looking shocked. “Arianna? You’re back?”
“Obviously. Glad to know you were keeping busy.” Arianna grumbled and released the woman. She tumbled to the ground with an ‘off’ before scrambling back to her feet and taking off, not through the front door, but farther into the barracks. There was a slam of a door but the two didn’t seem to notice.
Raph wasn’t sure how but Leo didn’t seem to have noticed him yet as he glared at the girl. “Hey, this was your idea. You said I should get out more and I did. What more do you want? And where the hell have you been for the past three days, young lady? I was worried sick!”
“Didn’t Aunt Karai talk to you?”
Leo growled. “She told me she didn’t know where you were going or for how long, but she told me not to worry.”
“Well, apparently, you didn’t listen to her.” Arianna said, pouting.
“Answer my question, Arianna. Where have you been?”
“I will get to that in a second, Dad. Just calm down. I want you to meet someone first.”
Leo slowly rose from the couch. Giving Raph the perfect view to take in the older turtle. And he was much older now than the last time he saw him, and bigger. While still leaner than Raph, Leo had definitely gained some sick mass. He also collected a lot more battle scars than Raph remembered him having before, which just completed the rough and tough look Leo had going for him. Which, if he was honest with himself, fit perfectly with Leo. But he wasn’t being honest with himself because if he was, he would be saying crap like how Leo’s skin still looked as sexy and delicious as before albeit paler than usual. Which he couldn’t do.
Leo grabbed and slung over his shoulders, a black trench coat that had seen better days. His eyes narrowed on Arianna but for some reason, the way Leo did it, just seemed off to Raph.
“You brought someone with you?” Leo said. Raph was thoroughly confused. How did he not notice him yet?
Arianna bit her lip and wrung her hands nervously. “Yes, I believe you may already know him?”
Leo’s body stiffened and his head snapped to where Raph was standing, but something was so strange about it all. It was like Leo wasn’t looking at him but passed him, like Raph was transparent or something.
Leo’s nose lifted in the air and sniffed. Slowly, he began to walk over to him, still sniffing. His fingers clenching and unclenching, a cautious move. Raph was stumped. How could Leo not notice him? Unless . . . shit.
It seemed so obvious now! There was only one explanation but Raph hadn’t considered it even as its been slapping him in the face.
As Leo came closer, Raph could see the twin scars that crossed over Leo’s maskless face and both eyes in the shape of an ‘x’. Raph also noticed how much paler Leo’s beautiful sapphire eyes were now. Like a turquoise.
Leo was blind!
“Oh my god.” The two said in unison but neither acknowledged it. Raph was about to say something else when Leo quickly spun away from him.
“What is he doing here?” Leo demanded angrily to Arianna.
Raph was far too much in shock to be hurt by the remark.
“How did you know?” Arianna whined.
“I have other senses you know. Now answer me this time!”
“I brought him here, okay?”
“Actually, she kidnapped me.” Raph muttered but neither was listening to him.
“Why the hell would you do that?”
Raph had to agree with Arianna, Leo did look scary when he was pissed. It had been so long since their last argument that he kind of forgotten.
Arianna glanced at him, then down to the ground awkwardly. “Are we going to talk about this now?”
“When else are we going to talk about it?” Leo growled.
Arianna knew that wasn’t a question for her to answer so she sighed and said, “Alright, alright. Just give me a second.”
The girl grabbed onto Leo’s arm and tugged him into the back room where that woman had disappeared in before moving over to him. She grabbed Raph the same way and dragged him over to the couch.
“Sit.” She commanded, trying to push him down.
Raph didn’t budge. “What am I? A dog?”
“Good enough to be one. Now sit down.” Arianna took out the tranq gun from her bag and pointed it at him.
With a snarl, Raph slowly sank down onto the couch.
“Now, I am going to have a word with Dad and if I come back to find you gone, I swear to God, I will . . .”
“Yeah, yeah. You’ll shoot me. Don’t worry, I won’t budge.”
“Good boy.” Arianna said with a smirk and patted Raph’s head before leaving. Raph waited a few minutes after she had went into the back room before he quickly and silently stood up and raced to the front door.
“You have a lot of explaining to do, young lady! I can’t even begin to describe the type of trouble you are in!” Leo shouted as he heard his daughter enter his bedroom. He was pacing back and forth, trying to ignore the thumping going on in his chest and the adrenaline that was running through his system. He should have seen this day coming. He knew keeping Arianna a secret from Raph for so long would eventually come back to bite him in the ass.
Now Raph was here. In his home. After all these years, the man he thought he would never see again, was here. And he hated the way that made him feel.
“I know, I know. And I’m sorry. I should have told you but you know I couldn’t have done that without you trying to stop me!” Arianna argued.
“And why do you think I would have tried to stop you, huh?”
“Because you like being lonely and depressed?” Arianna said dryly, her arms crossing over her chest.
Leo stopped his pacing and stared in the direction he knew Arianna was probably standing. “I am not depressed or lonely. Where did you even get that from?”
Arianna scoffed, agitated. “Uhm, who do you think, Dad? I’m not the one that’s blind here. You should see yourself! You look horrible!”
Leo glared. “You better watch that tone of yours.”
Arianna huffed and rolled her eyes. “At least I’m being honest here, unlike somebody. You’re hurting yourself Dad and you won’t admit it!”
Leo opened his mouth to continue the argument but quickly decided against it. He sighed heavily and massaged the place between his eyes. “Even if I did admit it, which I’m not, what good would bringing Raph here do other than reopening old wounds?”
“It would help because it would give you a purpose in your life.”
Leo laughed harshly and shook his head, resuming his pacing. “I got a purpose, Arianna. I have over nine hundred men to train daily. I don’t have time to be depressed.”
Arianna snorted. “And yet, just last week you had to pawn off your soldiers to somebody else because you were sick.”
Leo threw his hands in the air. “It was food poisoning!”
“Yeah, keep telling yourself that. You don’t eat enough to give you food poisoning.”
Leo huffed. “Oh my god, Arianna. You’re being ridiculous and overprotective.”
“Oh, that’s rich coming from you. You the king of overprotective fathers. . .”
“Oh my god.” A feminine voice gasped from Leo’s left. Arianna looked over to find the woman from before sitting in the bed with the sheets wrapped around her. “You’re gay?”
“Yes, he is.” Arianna answered for Leo. “Now, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll get out.”
The woman ignored Arianna and stared straight at Leo despite he could not see her. “Leo, is this true?”
Leo didn’t respond. He wasn’t even looking at her. He was just staring at Arianna with a stony expression on his face. Arianna watched as the woman slid off of the bed, pulling her straps that hung off her shoulders of her little black dress back up, and walk over to her father. Leo still didn’t look at her.
“Leo, please, talk to me.”
She would have had an easier time getting a response out of a statue. The woman placed her palm against Leo’s bicep. Finally, the turtle looked over at her. The same impassiveness on his face.
“Yes. I am.” He said. His tone matching his expression.
It took a moment for the woman to react but when she did, she was livid. “So, what, was I just your little play thing? A notch on your bedpost? Did I mean nothing to you?”
Leo raised a brow and said softly, “You were good while it lasted.”
Arianna had to cover her mouth to stifle a laugh as the woman gasped in outrage, her body literally trembling with her anger. Immediately, she lifted up her hand and smacked it across Leo’s cheek. The turtle was barely fazed.
“I think it’s best if you leave now.” Leo muttered.
“Yes, I think so.” The woman said, her voice wobbling.
“I couldn’t agree more.” Arianna said as she held open the door for the woman to walk through. “I trust you can find your own way out?”
The woman lifted up her chin and stomped angrily away, flipping Arianna off as she passed.
“Bitch.” She whispered.
“Arianna.” Leo snapped. “Language.”
“Fine.” Arianna slammed the door shut. “Slut. How’s that? Better?”
Leo sighed irritably and shook his head before sitting down on his bed. Arianna sat down next to him. “Seriously though, you have the weirdest taste in lovers, Dad. I mean, how do you go from Raph to Aunt Karai, to this chick?”
“I guess I have a thing for hotheaded people.” Leo said with annoyance.
Arianna chuckled. “Obviously.”
“I should not have told you all those stories.” Leo said regretfully as he laid back onto the mattress and stared upwards into the perpetual darkness that engulfed him.
Arianna followed, resting her head on his shoulder. “Those stories prove my point, Dad. I don’t know if you noticed or not, you talk a lot about my Uncles and Grandpa Splinter but you tend to tell more stories that involve Raph. Tell me honestly that you don’t miss him.”
Leo wrapped his arm around his daughter’s shoulders and gave her a gentle squeeze. He knew what she was trying to do and he couldn’t fault her for it. She was only trying to help him after all.
“I miss him, Arianna. I do. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.” Leo sighed heavily. His chest suddenly aching. “However, that doesn’t mean I want him back in my life again. I love him. I will always love him. But our relationship is meant to remain a fond memory. We’re no good for each other, Ari. We can’t keep each other happy.”
Leo explained as best as he could, hoping that his daughter would understand. Hoping that she wouldn’t continue to argue with him. He was exhausted already and his heart couldn’t continue to deny how much he wanted Raph back in his life. If she didn’t give up now, he doubted he would continue to resist, and that scared him the most.
There was a long, tense, moment of silence. Arianna’s fingers were playing with the button on his coat, a habit she had from day one, when finally, she said, “I understand, Dad.”
Leo sighed with relief.
“I’m sorry that I did this. I know it must be hard for the both of you to be reminded of the past.” She spoke softly. Leo pulled his daughter close enough so he could kiss the top her head. He was unhappy with the situation to say the least, but he knew this was for the best.
“But, I can’t let you go on feeling this way. You both need each other whether you like it or not and I intend to prove it.” A moment later, Leo felt something sharp stick him in the side of his neck.
“What that hell? What did you do?” Arianna quickly got off him as Leo sat up and tugged out the object. He rolled it around in his hand, trying to figure out what it was. It was long and solid, like a tube, with a fuzzy end to it. Leo’s brain was quickly slowing and he found it hard to keep track of his thoughts. Then, it all came together. He had just gotten drugged! His own daughter had drugged him!
“I’m so sorry, Dad. Please, please, don’t ground me for this.”
“Arianna!” Leo yelled furiously. He tried to stand up but he felt disoriented. He didn’t know where he was at anymore. Where his daughter stood. What direction he faced. He felt completely lost and sick to his stomach.
Leo couldn’t even feel the bed as he collapsed against it and slowly slid down to the floor. He could hear his daughters voice talking to him but it sounded distant. Then, there was silence.
Arianna stared guilty at her father’s unconscious form on the bedroom floor. She knew this wasn’t the most reasonable way of handling this situation, but it was the easiest. She knew, for a fact, just how stubborn these two can be and if she didn’t take care of this situation now, she was going to lose her one golden opportunity. The answer was simple now: she was going to have to force them to see reason. And she was not going to be sorry for how she was planning on doing that.
Arianna took the dart from Leo’s hand and tossed it back into her bag before she grabbed out her tranq gun, checking it to make sure it was loaded.
“One down and one to go.” She murmured to herself as she opened the bedroom door and walked out into the living room. She wasn’t surprised to find it empty.
“Damn it.” Arianna growled and took off out the open door. Raph was nowhere in sight. She ran over to the nearest group of men.
“Hey!” She shouted to them, grabbing their attention. “Did any of you see a guy running through here? He was dressed in sweat pants and a blue hoodie?”
They nodded. One of them pointed towards the woods. “He ran that way. Do you need us to go get him for you?”
Arianna smiled gratefully. “No, but if one of you would like to help I would appreciate it.”
Needless to say, all three didn’t seem to have much to do at the moment and they followed her into the woods. Arianna spotted footprints beneath the brush. They ran for what felt like forever but Arianna already knew where Raph was heading, to the dock where Aunt Karai’s boat sat. How he was planning on starting it up without the keys, she didn’t know, but she wasn’t about to underestimate the older turtle.
Finally, they had reached the dock. Bursting through the palms, Arianna spotted Aunt Karai’s boat still tied to the dock, but Raph wasn’t in it.
Frowning, Arianna raised her gun and silently walked over to it, the other two still close behind her.
Suddenly the boat roared to life much to Arianna’s surprise and Raph popped up from the boats floor. His eyes widened when he saw her. She pulled the trigger but Raph smoothly dodged her dart and pressed onto the throttle. The boat began to speed away, ripping a piece of the dock off from where the rope had been tied.
Arianna immediately leapt for it without a second thought. Her feet narrowly missing the stern so she grabbed onto the cleat. The water stung as the boat dragged her through it but her shell mostly kept her protected. She had no plan from here, she didn’t have the strength to pull herself up, so it was just her hanging on for dear life. She cried out, her fingers slowly slipping from the wet handle and her muscles aching. She could hardly breathe as salt water splashed into her nose and mouth, burning her sinuses and throat. She was beginning to panic with the thought of drowning and was about to let go when the boat slowed down.
“Dear god, lady!” Raph said from above her.
Arianna panted for air, her head resting against the boats stern. She was exhausted. If Raph wished to run away from her now, she wouldn’t be able to do a damn thing about it.
Arianna felt hands grab her from under he arms and pull her out of the water. She leaned heavily against Raph as he guided her over to the seats and sat her down.
“F-F-Freeze.” She stuttered.
Raph smirked. “You know you don’t have your gun anymore, right?”
Arianna weakly smiled. “I know. But I’m not going to let you go anywhere.”
“I gathered as much.” Raph said as he dug around the drawers from under the benches seats till he finally found a towel. He wrapped it around her shoulders. “But I’m not sure how you’re going to manage it.”
“I will hunt you down. I’m a good tracker.” Arianna whispered as she pulled the towel tightly around her. Her body shivering from the wind that blew against her wet skin.
Raph scoffed and shook his head. “God, you’re stubborn.”
Arianna chuckled. “I get it honest.”
They remained silent for several minutes with nothing but the sloshing of the waves against the boats hull and the seagulls cawing above them.
Eventually, Raph sighed and placed his forehead into his hands. “I can’t go back, Arianna. I just can’t. I’m not emotionally strong enough to handle this shit.”
Arianna reached between her towel to squeeze Raph’s knee. “I know. Don’t worry. You don’t have to go back.”
Raph raised his head and looked confusingly at her. She smiled. “I’ll take you back myself.” Before Raph could do anything, Arianna lunged for him. A dart clutched in her opposite hand and she stabbed the side of his neck with it.
Raph winced and shoved her away. “Ah, fuck!” Raph snarled as he yanked out the dart and threw it far into the water.
The two glared at one another for a long period of time before Raph huffed and sat back down on the bench, seeing no point in fighting it when he had already lost. He leaned his head against the neck rest and stared up into the blue sky that was quickly changing color as the sun started setting. He could feel the drugs spreading through him and his head drifting away. He felt like he was flying now that he just sat there and took it all in. It was a peaceful feeling, and he allowed his eyes to drift shut.
“I’m sorry, Raph.” He heard Arianna’s voice slowly fading away.
With the little strength Raph had left, he lifted up his hand and flipped her off.