Raph kept Bishop awake, talking through what they planned to do next, until Donny said that it was okay for him to sleep. Even though Bishop insisted that he was fine, Raph wouldn’t let him get up until he at least tried to get a few hours of sleep. He stayed with Bishop until after he had fallen asleep then decided to go on a walk to clear his head.
He came across Leo and Mikey, walking together by the forest’s edge. By the size of Mikey’s grin and the musk the pair gave off, it was no secret what they had just finished doing.
Before Raph could excuse himself from them, Mikey pointed back into the trees, drawing attention to Donny and Leatherhead. He whooped and hollered at the couple, telling them that they were in clear view of everyone then teased, “Get a room.”
The pair looked unamused at Mikey’s antics. Donny moved to say something but Leatherhead pulled him back into the river and they disappeared under the water. After sharing a good laugh with his brothers, Raph made his way to the barn.
He needed time alone to process all the new information. His mind raced with everything that had happened and the possibilities of the future. He decided to run through a few katas, making sure to take it easy on his wounded ankle and tried to focus his thoughts.
He was still a little mad at Bishop and at the same time relieved that it was a simple issue of miscommunication. Part of him was embarrassed that Bishop walked up on him about to kiss Don, though Bishop had assured him that he wasn’t upset by it. Raph hated being so emotional and how complicated things had become.
Sitting against the wall, Raph watched as the sun’s rays made their way across the room until it was almost too dark to see. As he stood, the door to the barn opened and Casey walked in. Another rush of guilt came over Raph as he realized that he had been neglecting his best friend.
“Hey,” Raph mumbled with a slight nod of the head.
“Hey,” Casey replied then gestured over his shoulder. “Dinner’s almost ready and the women are getting worried about you.”
“I was actually heading back to the house now,” Raph wrung his hands together. He hadn’t been neglecting his friend, he was avoiding him. He was afraid how his only friend would react to him being gay.
It was easier to let the friendship fade than to have it fall apart. He watched Casey for any indication of what he was thinking but it was hard to see anything in the orange light of the setting sun.
“Alright,” Casey turned to leave but stopped in the doorway and turned back Raph. “You’re a really shitty friend. You know that?”
“Yeah,” Raph let his head drop. “Sorry about that.” He wasn’t even going to argue. Casey was right.
“You didn’t think you could’ve come to me with any of this?” There was pain in his voice as he gestured to himself. Stepping forward as he spoke, Casey approached Raph. “You vanish and no one would tell us why, then I see the Nightwatcher on the news and find out you’re working for Bishop, Donny’s hurt in an explosion and nearly dies, and the only time I see you is when you come over to drop a bomb in April’s lap about Bishop being her grandfather, and then you disappear again.
“On top of all that, you haven’t really said anything to her since we got here,” Casey’s pain was turning into anger as the volume of his voice increased. “She’s under so much stress right now and that can’t be good for the baby. I get that you’re upset but we’re your friends and we want you to talk to us.”
“Casey, I’m gay,” Raph took a step back, trying to keep himself under control but he couldn’t hide the fear in his voice.
“Yeah, I figured as much when I found out that you were fucking Bishop,” Casey snapped back. “Something I learned from Mikey, by the way.”
“I was afraid.”
“Afraid of what?”
“Of you hating me,” Raph yelled. “There’s a reason Donny didn’t tell anyone about his relationship with Leatherhead,” Raph held up two fingers, “for two years. Mikey and Leo hid theirs for a while too but Leo has too much honor to keep something from Splinter for too long.”
Casey stood slack jawed for a moment before saying, “You really thought I would hate you for being gay? Have you ever really known me?”
“I never got the chance to see you around a gay man before.” Raph shrugged, “I didn’t know what you would think. Things happened and time got away from me and the more time that passed the harder it was to call you.”
“You’re my best friend, Raph,” Casey said, leaving no room for doubt. “If you’re happy then I’m happy for you. I don’t care who you’re with, so long as it’s… well, legal.”
Raph couldn’t help but laugh, “Thanks.” His word was choked off as he was pulled into a tight hug.
“I love you like a brother, man.” Casey pounded on Raph’s carapace. “Don’t you forget that.”
Raph returned the embrace, “Yeah, me too.”
By the time they pulled apart, the sun was down. The dim light of the half moon was all the light they had to make their way out of the barn and back to the house. The front porch light had a swarm of bugs swirling around it, making a slight ticking sound each time one of them collided with the glass cover.
Raph paused at the foot of the steps and Casey teased Raph over his fear of bugs. Raph came back with a snarky response and the pair laughed as hurried through the front door to avoid as many bugs as possible. For the first time since coming out to the farm, Raph headed for the kitchen to eat dinner with his family.
April sent Casey out to get Raph for dinner, knowing that there were things that the pair needed to talk about. She hoped it would give them the opportunity to work out whatever had come between them.
Knowing she would have some time before they returned, April made up a plate of food and decided that she had her own issues to work through. She made her way upstairs and knocked gently on the door, looking in to see if Bishop was awake.
His eyes opened as he turned his head to face the door. His smile was crooked due to the swelling on his jaw but it looked to be genuine, “Hello, April.”
“Oh so, you’re addressing me by my first name now,” April placed the plate of food on the bed side table. She didn’t mean to snap or for the words to come out as harsh as they did but she was under a lot of stress and it was getting to her. Trying her best to soften her tone she added, “I brought you some dinner.”
Without another word, she turned to leave but paused when Bishop spoke. “Your baby will be fine,” he rasped out as he sat up in bed. She turned in time to see him grab the plate of food and set it in his lap. “This smells wonderful. Did you make it or is this Mrs. Morrison’s work?”
“You can’t do that,” April spun around to face him, arms rising up then falling back to her sides. “You can’t say that the baby’s gonna be fine then change the subject to food.”
“What more do you want me to say?” Bishop kept his eyes down as he cut himself a piece of the smothered steak. “Jason’s genetic illness was passed down from his father. You and your sister are not carriers and neither is Mr. Jones. So as far as that particular illness goes, your child will not have it.” As he finished speaking, he brought the morsel to his mouth and took the bite. He savored it for a moment before tucking it in his cheek to speak. “This is delicious.”
“Thank you,” April said so softly that she wasn’t sure if Bishop had heard her.
“So you made this,” Bishop looked up at her and April sighed in mild frustration.
“No! Mrs. Morrison made it. You know good and well what I was saying thank you for.” Her slight burst of anger faded and she rested her hands on her stomach. “I was so worried and I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
“I know. I saw the footage from Raphael’s helmet,” he stated flatly and April felt her temper rise again but she managed to keep it in check.
She glared down at him, crossing her arms over her chest. “You are a pompous jerk.”
“So I’ve been told,” he stated before taking another bite. He hummed in delight as he chewed his food. “I really need to hire better cooks. Do you think Mrs. Morrison will come and work in my kitchen?”
“You’ll have to ask her,” April waved it off. Taking a deep breath, she sat on the foot of the bed and wrung her hands a little before asking, “Is there nothing you can do for Jason?”
Bishop placed his utensils down on his plate and looked her in the eyes. “His illness is part of his genetic makeup. I can enhance the genetics of a clone but if I were to remove anything, like the illness, his soul would not recognize the new body and would be lost. If it did manage to take hold, he would end up like Stockman, back when he tried to clone himself.”
“I understand,” April nodded and stifled a sob. “Thank you again, for setting my mind at ease.”
Bishop nodded his head, “I wish there was more I could do.”
April couldn’t believe it but she swore that she heard some genuine emotion in his voice. Based on what she saw of that scrap book, Bishop kept close tabs on her family. So even though he wasn’t part of their lives, he was invested in them. “Maybe you’re not as cold hearted as you appear to be.”
“He’s not,” Raph said as he entered the room. “You just have to get past the Agent to get to know the man. Though, the man can royally fuck up sometimes.” He gestured over his shoulder, “Everyone is waiting for you so they can start eating. If you don’t hurry Mikey’s gonna start and there won’t be anything left.”
April giggled as she stood and walked over to Raph. “Everything okay between you and Casey?”
“Yeah,” Raph nodded with a slight smile. “We worked things out.”
“Good,” April nodded, hating how awkward things had become but glad that they were getting better. “I better get back downstairs then.”
“I’ll be down in a minute,” Raph said, sliding his fingers down her arm as she passed.
“Okay,” she smiled back at him before heading down the hall.
Raph didn’t linger long with Bishop and by the time April had washed up for dinner, Raph was heading down the stairs to join the others at the table. He had a satisfied smile on his face that led April to wonder what he had done with Bishop in that short period of time.
After giving everyone time to eat, April told the others what Bishop had told her and the look of relief on Casey’s face made her heart melt. Tears filled his eyes and he was so overwhelmed he had to rest his head on his hand. April had no idea how worried Casey had been until that moment. The big lug had done such a good job of hiding his worry from her. Either that, or April had been so wrapped up in her own worry that she didn’t see his.
Either way, it was done. At least the worst of it was over and she was sure they would be able to find other things to worry about. They leaned into each other and touched their foreheads together. A weight had been lifted from them and they were finally able to be happy about the life they had created.