This chapter is dedicated to Yuiketsu.

Ch. 12-Together Again…Forevermore

It wasn't until she awoke the following morning that Mona realized the others still didn't know that Raph was conscious. She sat up extremely quickly, accidentally jolting Raph in the process. He stirred with a groan, sleepy green eyes blinking slowly up at her. "What's goin' on?" he drawled sleepily.

"Your brothers." She answered.

He rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand, and turned his carapace to her as he muttered, "What 'bout 'em?"

"They still don't know you're awake. Neither does Sensei for that matter."

"So?" he asked, slowly turning back towards her.

"So?!" She echoed disbelievingly. "They need to know you're alright. They've been worried sick about you!"

"Yeah, I guess you're right." He murmured sleepily. Then he straightened and sat up a little, suddenly wakeful. "If they come in here and jump on me I'll…" He stated threateningly.

Mona smirked at him and sauntered over to his side. "You'll what?" She said cheekily.

Raph smirked and the next thing she knew their beaks were pressed together. Mona sighed a little and pulled away. "You are feeling better." She whispered.

Raph blushed and she fought the urge to chuckle. He looked so cute when he was flustered.

His eyelids started to droop tiredly. Mona kissed him softly on the forehead. "You get some rest. I'll be back in a little while. And don't you worry, I won't let them jump on you."

Raphael smiled sleepily and his eyes slowly closed as he fell into a peaceful oblivion of sleep.

Mona beamed. "Sweet dreams."

When Mona Lisa got to the kitchen, she found it empty. The lizard mutant stood there for a few moments, staring at the empty kitchen before she realized. Duh, Wednesday, early training day. She proceeded to the dojo and found training in full swing. It was currently Leonardo versus Mikey. Mona Lisa decided to go for the quickest way to get their attention, which was to interrupt them. She jumped between them and held up her hands, stopping them mid-spar.

"Mona Lisa! What is the meaning of this?!" Master Splinter asked disapprovingly.

"I just thought you might like to know that Raphael is out of a coma."

"What?" Don stated, shooting forward. "Did he say something? What happened?"

"He spoke to me last night and we fell asleep. I'm sorry I didn't tell you then I was just so relieved and so exhausted…"

"It's alright Mona. We understand." Mikey stated.

Leo said nothing, but he turned and headed for the door. Mona ran after him and grabbed his shoulder. "Not now. He's asleep."

Leonardo stared at her forlornly. Raph had been borderline dead for so long that all Leo wanted to do was see him, hear his voice, anything to reassure that Raphael was alive.

Mona Lisa smiled at the eldest, her eyes filled with understanding. Of all the siblings, Leonardo had been most emotionally affected by Raphael's state. She pulled him into a hug, which the eldest reciprocated loosely. Then she grabbed him by the hand, and dragged him after her. The others nodded in understanding, if there was anyone among them who needed to see Raphael right now, it was Leo. It was no secret that he'd been severely rattled by this entire thing. And though he had not told any of them about his encounter with Fishface, they knew that something else had happened that had only further upset him.

Mona pulled Leonardo into the lab. She almost tripped when Leonardo stopped short in the doorway. Slowly, she motioned him to the table where Raphael lay. The mutant lizard bent over and gently kissed the red-masked turtle on the forehead. He stirred a little and blinked up at her bleary-eyed. "Mona, you're back, are you gonna stay with me?"

"I will, but first there's someone you need to talk to." He raised an eye-ridge at her, inquiringly, but his question was quickly answered as Leonardo stepped into his vision.

"Leo." He said. That was all it took. Leo threw himself forward, tenderly wrapping his arms around his younger brother.

"Don't you ever scare me like that again." He stated his voice thick with emotion.

Raphael rubbed his older brother's shell softly and smiled. "I'll do my best."

"Not enough. Not enough." That made Raph's eye-ridges furrow with worry. It couldn't have been that bad, could it? Not enough to upset his older, fearless, brother like this. "We almost lost you."

"It's okay Leo I'm here. I'm not going anywhere. Everything is going to be okay. I've got my family to live for. And Mona Lisa."

Leo's tears dried as the subject changed and his expression sobered. "Mona was devastated. She barely slept or ate, we were all really worried about her. I don't think she could have gone on with you. She loves you."

"I know. She loves me as much as I love her."

"Have you gotten Sensei's blessing?" The eldest asked.

When Raph sent him a curious stare Leo elaborated, "If you plan on turning it into a long term relationship you might as well get his permission from the get-go. If it were me, that's what I would do."

"Yeah, maybe you're right. I'll ask him what he thinks when he comes in here."

"I better go and let you get some rest."

"Alright, send Mona back in, will ya? I think she snuck off after she brought you in here."

"Sure thing little brother." Leo stated. "Oh and Raph?"

"Yeah?" He asked, his green eyes glowing in the lab's dim light.

"Love you little brother."

"Love you too, Fearless. If you ever tell anyone I said that…"

Leo crossed his heart and held up his hand in an 'I swear' gesture. Raph smiled and waited for Mona to return.

When Mona Lisa reentered the lab she saw Raph had his eyes closed. She lay on the table beside him and lay one arm loosely over his shell. Even thought he was asleep, his arms encircled her protectively and she sighed with content. There was absolutely no place in the world she would rather be than wrapped in her love's warm embrace. Who would have thought that a chance meeting at the hands of the Krang would have led to all of this? Maybe the Krang had taken her life as a human away from her, but in a way, they had also given her a better, sweeter life. A life she never would have imagined could be hers. Now she had everything that had been taken from her, freedom, happiness, and love. She had a family of mutants that had accepted her as one of their own, and most importantly, she had a lover who cared for her so deeply that he cheated death to stay with her. There was nothing more she could ask for. Mona's life couldn't be better.

She felt lips press softly against her cheek and as she returned to her senses, Mona found an emerald green turtle smiling down at her with tired green eyes. "I'll always love you." He whispered in her ear. Her cheeks grew warmer.

Yes, Raphael would always be there for her. Just as she would be there for him. No matter what. Their love would last forevermore. It would never die because they would not let it. And if anyone tried to threaten their love, or endanger it in any way, they would be dealt with.

They were ninjas, after all.