Donny dozed next to Leatherhead, curled up in his lover’s arms. He hated to admit it but he did sleep much easier with all of the equipment out of their room. Or was it because he got to sleep next to Leatherhead each night?
The two of them spent all of their time together. They would work together in their lab, take an occasional break, and then head back to the lair for dinner and rest. Mikey had even started to refer to them as the married couple.
Donny was floating in the realm, somewhere between sleep and wakefulness when he was jerked awake by the sound of Leo barging into his room. Leo’s voice was full of panic, “Donny, something’s happened! There are reports out saying that the Nightwatcher is dead. Father has seen it and he’s beside himself right now.”
Jumping to his feet, Donny rushed over to his computer and connected to the agency’s systems. “Someone talk to me,” he breathed, staring at the screen. “Please pick up.”
His heart pounded in his chest as he waited for someone to answer his communications request. Leatherhead stood behind him with a reassuring hand on his shoulder and coaxed him to sit down.
When someone finally picked up, the person on the other end looked surprised to see Donny. “Um… Can I help you with something?”
Dumbfounded for a moment, Donny managed to stammer out, “You just announced that my brother is dead on the news and you’re surprised that I called?”
Donny didn’t think that the agent could look any more confused but he looked like he was just slapped in the face with a fish by a goat. “He isn’t there with you?”
“No!” Donny said with more force than he had intended. “What’s going on?”
The agent leaned forward after looking around and whispered, “I’m not sure what’s going on. Only a few hours ago, I was sitting here talking to Agent Raphael, keeping him calm while we watched Agent Bishop fight Hun. Agent Raphael was trapped under some rubble and Bishop was there to save him. Agent Bishop was hurt bad enough that we had to do a clone transfer but Agent Raphael wasn’t hurt too badly. Next thing I know, Agent Raphael has quit….” The agent looked to the side and his face dropped, “And now he just dumped his bike into the Hudson. That is a sophisticated piece of equipment and he has dumped it into the Hudson.”
“Was he on the bike?” Donny yelled as he leaned forward.
The agent shook his head, “He jumped from the bike before it went into the water. I know this because he is wearing the helmet… and now that is in the water too. We’re still receiving a signal; he’s not in the water.”
Leatherhead left their room to tell the others the news and Donny sat back in his chair to think. “I wonder if he going to come home now or go to Casey and April’s apartment.” He heard the phone ringing in the distance but didn’t get up. He knew that if it was information he needed, someone would tell him.
“Yeah, he already went there,” the agent chimed in. “He visited with them before he dumped the bike. I heard more than I should have but he had the helmet with him and my job is to watch the feed coming in from the helmet. They offered for him to stay with them but he declined and left, saying that he had somewhere else to go and that wasn’t back to the lair.”
“Do you have any clue where he might be going?” Donny asked, leaning forward again as pain and frustration started to build in Donny’s gut.
Mikey poked his head through the door, “April’s on the phone. She said Raph was there but left. He has an injured ankle but is still alive.”
Donny turned to him and nodded, “Thank you, Mikey.”
As Mikey disappeared back around the door the agent cleared his throat. “There is a chance that I may know where he is.”
Donny stayed quiet and watched the agent, waiting for him to continue.
“There is this old woman who he likes to go visit from time to time.” The agent looked back behind him again then leaned in. “He gives her most of his paychecks, loves her like a grandmother. I can send you her address and you can check there.”
“Yes, thank you,” Donny sighed while he nodded, feeling relieved as he memorized the address. “Thank you.”
“Good luck,” the agent smiled, ending the transmission.
Donny didn’t even bother to dress. He stepped out of his room and called out as he walked out of the lair, “I got a lead on Raph. I’ll be back.”
“Do you want us to come with you?” Leo called after him.
“No,” Donny answered as he rounded the corner and his voice echoed back into the lair as the door started to close. “It might be better if it’s just me, for now.”
He ran through the sewer tunnels, eager to get to Raph.
Raph felt that someone was in the room with him and he waited. He was patient enough; the right time to attack will present itself. The intruder was almost silent as he stalked into the apartment. If Raph was anyone else, the intruder would have gone undetected but he was a trained ninja.
Raph smirked, he kind of felt sorry for the intruder because he was about to get a beating fueled by his pain. When the intruder got close enough, Raph reached out and grabbed him. “You’re gonna regret breaking in here, punk.” His eyes went wide and his anger faded when he looked into the chocolate eyes of his brother. “Donny?”
“Hi, Raph,” Donny grinned.
“What the fuck?” Raph whispered harshly as he pushed Donny away and looked towards Mrs. Morrison’s room.
“The all-encompassing question,” Donny quipped, sitting down as Raph sat up. “The news said you were dead and when I called the agency, I was told that you might be here. I got here before you did and watched you limp your way here then I waited until the old woman went to sleep.”
“April was supposed to call you and let you know that I was okay.” Raph leaned forward and rested his arms on his lap. “I don’t want to talk about anything.”
“I’m not gonna make you,” Donny assured him. “I just wanted to see if you were alright.”
“I’m fine,” Raph grumbled, keeping his head down. “You can go.”
An awkward silence fell between them and Donny shifted in his seat. “This is a nice apartment.”
Raph scoffed, “It’s plain because Mrs. M is blind.”
“Oh,” Donny’s voice was just above a whisper. “That explains it. Still seems cozy though.” He looked over and placed his hand on Raph’s carapace. “I’m glad you have this place and that you have her.”
Looking away and burying his face in his arm, Raph mumbled, “I don’t wanna go home.”
“You don’t have to,” Donny soothed. “I just came here to make sure you were okay and to let you know that I’m here for you.”
“I wish I didn’t know,” Raph choked out. Donny was a bit taken aback for a moment and was about to say something when Raph continued. “I’m right back where I started, only in more pain. Why did he tell me? It would have been better if I had never known. I was happy. Why can’t I be happy?”
Anything Donny was going to say fell away and he sat, unsure how to respond.
“This is only a moment in time, it will pass. Who’s to say that you won’t find happiness?” Raph and Donny looked up to see Mrs. Morrison standing just outside of her bedroom. She walked over and extended her hand towards Donny. “I am Mrs. Morrison.”
“Donatello,” Don responded accepting her hand.
Her face lit up, “It’s so nice to finally meet one of Raphael’s brothers. I’ve heard so much about you.”
With a light chuckle, Donny said. “I know this will sound cliché but I’ve heard nothing about you. I learned about you though the agency.”
“Of course Raphael hasn’t said anything about me to you,” she said with a sweep of her hand as she headed into the kitchen. “How else would he see this place as his sanctuary?”
“She seems nice,” Donny grinned as he whispered, leaning towards Raph.
Raph nodded, his eyes never leaving Mrs. Morrison. “She is.”
Mrs. Morrison returned with some cookies and milk then handed them to Donny. “You must have heard about Nightwatcher’s death on the news.”
Donny nodded then remembered that she was blind and said, “I did.” He took a bite of cookie and his enjoyment showed on his face. “These are really good.”
“Thank you,” Mrs. Morrison smiled then turned to Raph. “I know you’re hurting and that you don’t like to show your softer side but keeping it bottled in will only hurt you more. You can get past this and find happiness again.”
“He’s my soul mate,” Raph rubbed his hands over his face. “How am I supposed to get past that?”
“It’s okay to continue to love him, even if you can’t have him.” She said, “I never stopped loving my late husband.”
“There is a difference between death and rejection,” Raph replied, his voice thick with emotion.
Donny hesitated for a moment then said, “He was just transferred to a new clone, right? I guess, in a way, the Bishop you loved did die.”
Leaning back on the sofa, Raph couldn’t hold back the choking sob that broke through. “Why’d you have to put it like that?”
“Maybe seeing it as a death will help you get over him,” Mrs. Morrison offered. “Mourn him like he had died.”
“That’s not fair,” Raph rasped and punched the sofa. “I’m gonna see him again. It’s bound to happen.”
“I know,” Mrs. Morrison soothed. “But you can’t view him as the same man.”
“I’m thinking that we should go out to the farm,” Donny offered. “The weather is getting warmer and the time away from the city will do us all good.”
“That sounds like a wonderful idea,” Mrs. Morrison said. “It will help to take your mind off of things.”
“Will you come too,” Raph asked, taking her hand. “I want you there.” He shook his head and corrected himself, bringing her hand up to rest his forehead on the back of it. “I need someone there to who is strong willed and willing to step between me and my family when they start to get too stifling.”
“I would love to finally meet you family and spend some time in the country.” She pulled her hand free from Raph’s and ran her hand along his face to pat his cheek. “But that will have to wait until the morning. I’m going back to bed. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” Raph replied then looked at Don. “I’m gonna stay here tonight. You go home and tell the others and arrange everything. Make sure they know that I don’t want to talk about it with anyone.”
“Alright,” Donny agreed and stood. He planted a kiss on Raph’s head, “I love you.”
“Love you too,” Raph mumbled as Donny turned and left the way he came in.