Mikey rolled over and wrapped his arms around Leo. It felt nice to wake up next to him. Mikey breathed in deeply, taking in Leo’s scent. He wouldn’t have minded staying where he was for the rest of the day.
Leo stirred, taking in a deep breath as he entered wakefulness then tensed. Mikey’s eyes snapped open and before he could say anything, he was thrown from the bed. He landed hard on his butt and was grateful that he had the forethought to tuck his tail.
Leo bolted upright and his muscles were taut, he looked ready to strike as he looked around the room in confusion.
“Leo?” Mikey said softly, drawing his brother’s attention away from whatever nightmare he was in.
“Mikey,” Leo threw the covers off and dropped out of the bed, onto the floor next to Mikey. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” Mikey flashed him his best smile. “Now I know to get up first…, if we ever do this again. I’m not assuming that we will.”
Leo chuckled, “You get up first? Now that’s something I have to see.”
Mikey joined in the laughter, “Yeah. Nothing motivates more than the threat of being thrown out of bed, onto your ass.”
When their laughter faded, Leo ran his hand down Mikey’s arm. “I have to get used to it, Mikey. It will take some time but I’m sure that, one day, I’ll find a great deal of comfort in having you there.”
Mikey felt his heart sip with joy, “Does that mean that we will be doing it again?”
“Yeah,” Leo smiled then leaned forward to place a soft kiss on Mikey’s lips. “I would like to.”
Mikey jumped up and ran out the door, leaving Leo confused on the floor. He ran to his room and grabbed the box containing his art then rushed back to Leo’s room. When he returned, he saw Leo pulling himself off the floor, looking defeated.
Leo looked up at Mikey then back down at the floor, “Did I do something wrong?”
“No. Sorry,” Mikey walked up to Leo and thrust the box at him. “I was just excited. I decided that I want you to have these so that they can continue to help you get better.”
“Thank you,” Leo accepted the box and placed it next to his bed. “Maybe we can go through them together a little later. We have the day off from practice so we might as well do something productive with it.”
“I’m way ahead of you,” Mikey smiled and shot forward for a quick kiss. “I’m gonna go make us breakfast but first I wanna visit Donny. I’ll see you in a few.”
“Okay,” Leo nodded, still a little confused. “I’m gonna shower then.”
“Kay,” Mikey waved as he left the room.
He skipped down the stairs and made a bee line straight for Donny’s lab. After a soft knock on the door, Mikey pulled it open and peeked inside. “Donny?”
“Come in,” Donny answered.
Mikey stepped in to the lab and saw Raph peeling the duct tape from around his shell. “How you doing?” Mikey asked, walking up to Raph.
“I’m fine,” Raph mumbled his response. “I’m not looking forward to my meeting with Splinter.”
“You’re in so much trouble,” Mikey said with a hint of humor.
“Yeah, I know,” Raph glared at him, balling the tape in his hand and then throwing it at Mikey.
Mikey caught the tape then tossed it into the trash before turning to Donny. “I actually came in here to talk to you about something. Leo and I are getting closer and I was wondering….”
“Say no more,” Donny cut Mikey off then rushed over to his cabinet and pulled out a small box. “I made this kit up for you a while back. Back when we decided to tell them how we felt.” He handed it to Mikey, “That should get you started.”
“Uh… okay?” Mikey opened the box to look inside then closed it again. He could feel his face heating and he whispered to Donny, “This has sex toys in it.”
Donny nodded, “And lube. Make sure you use it. That’s very important. And don’t use yours or Leo’s finger the first time either. Use the butt plug. Our fingers are a little thick but the plug is tapered so it will be easier to insert.”
Mikey’s eyes went wide as his hand shot up to cover Donny’s mouth. “I didn’t come here for a sex talk!” he squeaked out. “I came here to ask you if you could find me some info on Leo’s condition. I wanna help him get better and I don’t want to do anything that would screw it up.”
It was Donny’s turn to blush. “I’m sorry,” he mumbled into Mikey’s hand. He reached out for the box but Mikey pulled it back.
“I’ll still keep this though.” Mikey glanced over at Raph and saw him try to stifle a smile. This only made Mikey blush harder and he dropped his hand from Donny’s mouth. “It’s bound to happen eventually, I hope, and it’s good to be prepared.”
A soft smile turned up the edges of Donny’s mouth. “I’ll do that research for you and have a printout ready in time for breakfast.”
“Thank you,” Mikey said then checked the contents of the box again. “And, thank you for this.”
“I hope you get to use it soon,” Raph grunted as he stood. “Sex is great.”
“Um… thank you?” Mikey didn’t know what else to say to something like that.
“Stop it,” Donny hurried over to Raph and slapped his arm before doing a quick exam to make sure the shell was secure. When Raph got the okay, he left the lab and headed for his talk with Splinter. He looked like he was heading to his own execution.
Mikey thanked Donny again and after placing the box in his room, went to the kitchen to start on breakfast.
Raph knelt on the floor and kept his eyes down cast as his father approached. His heart hammered in his chest, and he was expecting a severe tongue lashing.
Splinter sat across from him. “Are you alright?”
“Yes,” Raph continued to look at the ground. “I still have a slight headache and my left leg is a little numb but it was completely numb earlier so I think I’ll be okay.”
“Do not hide it if your leg does not continue to improve.”
“I won’t,” Raph nodded.
“When did you get that tattoo?”
Raph knew that Splinter wouldn’t waste any time getting to the point, as soon as he was sure that Raph okay. “About a year ago,” Raph answered.
“A small tattoo shop on the other side of town.” He looked up at Splinter, desperate for him to understand. “The guy worked on all kids of strange people. He had a client who was in the process to look like a lizard. Split his tongue and everything. So this guy thought that I was one of them. Just some extreme turtle fan, nothing more.”
Splinter closed his eyes as he considered Raphael’s words. His ears were flat against his head, a sure sign that he was agitated. All Raphael could do was wait for his father to respond.
“Do you think it was worth it? Putting your family and yourself in danger like that?”
“I wasn’t thinking about that at the time,” Raph admitted, looking down again. “Leo was gone and I was in a bad place.”
“Were you sober?”
Raphael cringed, his father knew him too well. His throat closed up on him and he could only manage a slight head shake. Truth be told, he spent most of his time drunk back then.
Splinter sighed and Raph could hear the disappointment. “You can go.”
Raph felt his heart sink. “Please. It was over a year ago. I wouldn’t do something like that now.”
What more would you like me to do?” Splinter asked, his eyes never leaving Raph. “My concern was for the safety of the family. It has been over a year, if there has been no backlash from it by now, then it is safe to assume that there won’t be any.
“I don’t know,” Raph admitted, fighting to keep his emotions in check. “I just….”
“I know that you have been through many changes since that time and that you are not the same as you were back then. Though I am disappointed in what you have done, too much time has passed and there is no need for discipline now.” Splinter kept his tone level as he spoke. “I do not believe that you would be so reckless today.”
“Forgive me,” Raph pleaded, his eyes never leaving the floor. “That’s what I want you to do. I can’t stand you being disappointed in me. Not again.”
Splinter sighed and his tone softened. His hand came up and he ran his fingers along Raph’s jawline then he placed them under Raph’s chin, lifting his head to that they were looking at each other. “I am disappointed in the act and your lack of judgment at that time but I am not disappointed in you. You have come a long way since then. I love you, Raphael, and that will never change.”
“Thank you,” Raph sniffled.
He stayed with Splinter a few moments more, to get his emotions under control, before heading out. He passed the kitchen on the way back to Donny’s lab. His eyes lingered on Mikey as he cooked a hearty breakfast. The smells from the kitchen reminding Raph that he was hungry and he considered eating breakfast instead of simply drinking his protein shake.
He got to the lab in time to hear Donny ask Leo, “Does the tag bother you?”
“Not really,” Leo answered. Though Raph couldn’t see them, he could hear Leo shifting a little. Whatever Donny had come up with to tag the shells, Leo must have been testing how it felt.
“Good now you don’t have to worry about putting on the wrong shell,” Donny said. “I’m glad that you and Mikey are working through your problems together. I think he’s the best one for it.”
“Yeah,” Leo answered with a slight chuckle then he sighed. “My memories were warped out there, alone. I had forgotten how great Mikey can be. The more I think about it the more I think you are right about us being good for each other. You and Raph are good together too. You’ve been good for him and he’s gotten you to open up.”
“He loves me enough,” Donny said, keeping his tone flat. “But I know that if everyone else’s feelings were off the table and Raph had his choice, he would want Mikey. The only reason he turned Mikey down that night was because Mikey was there for all the wrong reasons and Raph knew it. It hurts Raph that Mikey is afraid of him.”
“Wouldn’t you be?” Leo asked. Not waiting for Donny’s answer Leo continued. “I’ve seen the way Raph looks at you. He loves you.”
“He treats me well.” Donny replied. “Just make sure you treat Mikey right. I think it would mean a lot to Raph to see Mikey happy.”
Leo let out a deep sigh. “Mikey thinks I am with him out of guilt and you think Raph prefers Mikey over you.” He scoffed, “What are we supposed to do to rid you two of those doubts?”
“I don’t think it will ever be possible,” Donny said as a matter of fact. Raph could hear in his voice that Donny had shut down emotionally and wondered if Leo had noticed it too. “Doubt, once it takes hold buries itself deep and it becomes like a black hole, sucking up all hope. It’s hard to turn that off.”
“He’s right,” Mikey whispered from behind Raph, causing him to jump. When did Mikey get stealthy enough to sneak up on Raph? Placing a finger to his lips, Mikey shushed Raph and they both continued to listen.
“Do you know what the hardest part for me to face is?” Donny asked. Leo made no verbal response before Donny continued and his voice actually cracked as he spoke. “You said that your feelings for me were never real and that you chose me because you head me say that I wanted Raph. This means that no one really wanted me. I know that I seclude myself in my lab quite often but… am I really so undesirable?”
There an uncomfortable silence that followed then the next thing they knew, the door to the lab burst open as Donny raced out. Raph and Mikey hid behind the open door as Donny passed on his way to the sauna.
“You should go to him,” Mikey pushed on Raph’s shoulder.
“And say what?” Raph looked back at him. “That I was eavesdropping?”
“You don’t have to say anything,” Mikey pushed on him harder. “Just be with him.”
As Raph stepped around the door to follow Don, he almost collided with Leo. He saw his brother’s expression go from shock to mild anger.
“What are you two doing?”
“I’m just here to tell everyone that breakfast is ready,’ Mikey said, heading back to the kitchen. “I don’t know what Raph was doing.”
Leo watched Mikey walk to the kitchen the turned his attention back to Raph. “Well?”
“I didn’t mean to listen in,” Raph shrugged. “It just happened.”
Leo looked over his shoulder at the sauna then back at Raph, “You gonna do something about what you just heard?”
“I was on my way,” Raph shot back. “But you delayed me.”
Leo stepped out of Raph’s way and gestured with his arm towards the sauna door. As Raph walked past, Leo grabbed his arm, “Is he right?”
“No,” Raph said, pulling his arm free. “What I feel for Mikey doesn’t go beyond being friends and brothers.” He turned and pressed in close to Leo, “But if you hurt him and he slips into another state of depression like that, I won’t care what kinda shit you’re going through.”
“You focus on not hurting Donny,” Leo said, unflinching.
Raph sneered at Leo then turned away and headed for the sauna.