I have always had this head-canon for the longest time, about Raphael having a crush on April throughout the show, in which a relationship could slowly develop. I feel that he would confide to a brother of such a secret. I think it was those season three episodes when I started seeing these tiny Raphril moments. Hoping and longing.
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Raphael wasn't certain when it arose; the subtle hammering inside his chest, the slight shivers that trickled his skin, and the nervousness within every time he caught sight of her. Even as they mutually trained, in the back of his mind, he valued every second of her efforts of knocking him over. Any sort of interaction, created a lingering sentiment; an arm around his shoulder as her head met his, a confused expression that greeted his own, even keeping her from falling was all he needed as the weeks passed by. Secret still hidden away.
April would often be practicing in the dojo, jabbing and punting the punching bag, full on concentration mode, without noticing another's presence. His eyes dawdled at her form, watching the almost flawless hits and stances; skin perspiring, flexibility of movements, and heavy puffs of breaths as she continued. The corners of his mouth curved upward when observing her overall improvement. Rewarding.
Those subtle glimpses were enough to have his heart hammering. Once, he walked away from his brothers, noticing April peeking from the corner, catching his eye. Instantly he froze, startled, just before casually placing his arms behind his head, grinning while strolling off, barely distinguishing the way she silently giggled. Close call.
He would be there, watching the strands of her bangs blowing from the chilled breeze; bright cerulean irises glimmering amongst the full moon, as her freckles slightly hid away from his view. Her hand lifted to stop the flying locks, tucking them behind her ear, never leaving the gaze of the field before them, all while perched on the edge of the porch. He sat a few seats away from her, often peeking over his brother's shoulder, just to catch a glimpse of the redhead's simple little gestures. The turtle would conceal his tight-lipped smile, a heavy red hue over his face, and glance down before shifting his attention toward the trees. So close, yet still far away.
Raphael groaned as he laid on his carapace, staring into space, hands over his plastron. Various scenes flooded, thinking how those tiny insignificant moments between him and her made his heart flutter, cheeks warm, and legs quiver. Spending those days and nights at the farmhouse, had made him hinder his thoughts from wondering and wanting to spend more time with her. Yet, he failed. He couldn't help but try to gain her attention in any subtle way.
"Ya liked that? Your turn, April."
His notions soon trailed away towards the unpromising side of his daydreams.
He was still a mutant. Beware.
A human such as herself wouldn't want to spend her life with him, he assumed. He couldn't give her anything in return – normalcies. But then again, she was part alien. What was the difference?
He shifted to rest on his side, right arm snatching the pillow from under his head. Then again, she did look the part of living above ground, as he did not. Growling in frustration, he flung the pillow across the room, making it land right in front of the steel door. He stared at its abandonment, while longing to have someone to converse about this with. Anyone.
Leo? Definitely the wrong candidate. Donnie and Casey were an immediate elimination. Master Splinter? The teenager wouldn't have the guts to discuss such a subject matter with his own father.
Mikey didn't judge. He would listen, even if he was a blabbermouth. Maybe, Raphael thought, he would be able to confide in him - as long as a threat was involved.
He lazily rose from his kept bed, legs swinging, feet landing on the cold floor, and hoisting up to make his way toward the entrance, kicking the pillow aside.
Peeking out, and after ensuring that no one was in visible sight, he sprinted off in the direction of Michelangelo's bedroom. Though his eyes lingered around, still pacing, noting that everything was almost clean and neatly organized, as it once was before the second invasion. It was until a couple of weeks ago that he had gotten used to their return. Their forever home in the sewer.
Raphael stealthy moved toward his brother's door, inching until his plastron reached metal, ear perched close to listen if he was still awake. He heard the youngest turning pages, and a soft mew coming from his ice cream friend. Standing straight, swaying to crack his neck, he quietly knocked on the door with bare knuckles.
On the other side, Michelangelo's ears perked up, smiling at the nightly visitor, and hastily staggered across the room to answer.
"Raph!" Mikey excitedly yelped once the door flew open. "What're you doing here, bro?" Raphael scanned around, before rushing in.
"Nothing…" he trailed off while pressing his lips together. "Just wanted to see why you were up so late." Mikey smiled at him brightly.
"Oh! I was just reading some comic books I found earlier today." He snatched one up from the messy floor, making Ice Cream Kitty eagerly dance about her friend's excitement. "Look," he flaunted the comic to his brother, "this one's about a superhero who doesn't have any powers at all! He's so cool!" Flipping the thin colorful pages, he once again shoved the book at Raphael's face. "See! He's an ordinary human! And he gets all the babes since he's mega rich and stuff." The red banded turtle rolled his eyes at his brother's obnoxious enthusiasm. Pouting, he crossed his bulging arms over his broad chest, and waited.
After Mikey's endless ramble, he detected Raphael's lowness, tensed, and how he crossly inspected his pet, who was currently snoozing. Placing his magazine down, he sat next to his brother, shoulder to shoulder. "Raph?" Instantly, green irises shifted toward baby blue ones, glaring down at him.
"Listen, Mike. I just heard you yak about some nonsense about a human superhero, one that I don't care about," he sharply shoved a finger at his brother's plastron, "now you will sit here," pointed to the bed, "listen to what I have to say, and will tell no one about this. Got it?" The orange masked turtle nodded, eyes widened, curious to what Raphael would say in such certainty.
The oldest breathed in, shutting his eyes before glancing back at his freckled sibling, narrowing his vision, and again looking elsewhere.
"Okay, so." He averted his attention towards Mikey once more, and frowned when seeing him still reading the comic book. Raphael growled and snatched the magazine away from his hands, throwing it on the floor, making Ice Cream Kitty flinch and hiss at the crinkling strident sound.
"Hey!" Michelangelo shouted.
"Hey? You're supposed to listen to me!" Angrily, Raphael slammed a fist against the mattress, making Michelangelo slump his shoulders.
"Sorry, bro." The infuriated brother sighed, composed himself, trying to form the words in his head yet again.
"Okay, well. For a while, I have felt this sort of…feeling in me. You know, as if I'm liking…someone. And, I guess I like it. Whenever I see her, in the lair, I want to be close to her, gain her attention, talk to her, and all those other stuff." He paused, making sure Mikey was keeping up. "Anyway, I wasn't sure who to tell this," he instinctively ran his fingers across the messy sheets, shifting his gaze, "I'm not saying I would say all this to her, or anything. I just wanted to get this out." Once finished, he hurriedly stood up, glanced at his brother, who had the largest grin plastered across his round face.
"Awe!" he instantly rose, "you're talking about April, aren't ya?" Raphael rolled his eyes while groaning.
"Who else?" he barked.
"Well, don't you want to say anything to her?" He could, Raphael thought, then again, it wouldn't be a good idea, at least at the moment. A thought remained close by - Careful.
"No." Michelangelo pressed his lips together, a hand over his mouth, eyes squinting as a thought grew.
"I could help you!" he squealed while clapping his hands together, leaning forward, invading Raphael's space.
"No." Pushing him aside, his emerald irises shifted to glance at the mutant cat, brows creased.
"I could be like Cupid! I so have been watching tons of shows about this stuff!" He went over to grab Ice Cream Kitty from the cooler. "We both could! I can totally hook you guys up!"
"I said no, Mikey!" He growled, piercing green eyes glaring at Michelangelo, who put a hand up in defense.
"Alright, Dude. Chill." Shaking his head, he knew he shouldn't have come by. He obviously should have known about Mikey wanting to be involved in some ridiculous way.
"Just don't say anything to anyone. Got it?" He noticed how Raphael later fidgeted, hands clasping together. Never once had he seen the brooding brother so… unmasked. Disappointingly, Mikey nodded.
"Yeah, yeah. I won't." Raphael softly smiled, thankful.
"Thanks, Baby Brother." He rested a hand on his shoulder, before heading out the door. He felt better, after conversing someone other than himself. Maybe the next time April strolls by, the fluttering sensation inside won't be a bother to him.
As soon as the door shut behind him, the mischievous prankster turned to face his companion – a bright gleam in his eye, pearly white teeth exposed.
"You know what this means, right Kitty?" he whispered, listening to her meow in response after licking his cool freckled cheek, leaving a trail of icy strawberry cream behind. "Operation: 'Red Team,' is a go!" He placed her back into the cooler, snatched a pen and yellow notebook paper, and sat back down on the mattress, crossed-legged. "Now, if you have any ideas, I'm all ears!" She joyfully purred as he started jotting down notes, for future escapades, small tongue sticking out in glee and in concentration.