KISSES.

Kiss 21: New Year.

By: Annie Park.

Author's Note: Hey, hi! Here is the New Year special. I hope you enjoy it very much. I update it now because I'm about to go on a trip again, so, if you prefer to read it later, in New Year, it doesn't matter.

This story is based on the number 20 on the What To Do Before Die list, "Kissing Someone On New Year". I honestly didn't see anything special on it, but then now I saw the charm a bit. Also, I've always wanted to go to Times Square in this time of the year. I've never been it, so any wrong element, I'm sorry. I only investigate, but I cannot be sure of anything.

I love you all! Thank you so much for reading!

Disclaimer: TMNT is NOT mine.

Now a small (long) "thank you" to all who have read my story through all these months (you can jump it if you want, haha): I have been here since the July 1st and now it will be January 1st and another year, Jesus. Well, first of all, thank you all so, so, so, so, SO much. Really. This story has been one of the most I have liked to have written and I will be eternally grateful to all of you for supporting me and reading my efforts and work day by day. To all who are still here, thank you for waiting in my long breaks and continue reading as always without complaining. I really love you. You made my year a better year than it would ever have been without you. I love you with all my heart and all of you are very important to me, believe me. Each of you, who reads, comments, favors, simply reads and enjoys. Thank you. Writing is something that fascinates me in every way, and having people who admire your work is the best thing that can happen to you. I adore you all. Each of you. My year would not have been what it was if it had not been for you. I get very emotional with this and I don't want to continue, because I will cry, *insert a sad laugh, haha*. All I'll say is that I'll be here for a long time, or I think so, and I hope you all stay with me. I wish you success, that all your dreams, desires and goals are fulfilled. Always. That you get what you want with effort. That you arrive where you want to arrive. You deserve it. You all. Thank you very much, seriously. And I love you, y'know. Happy New Year!


December 31th. 11:47 pm. New York, USA.

The sky is a dark curtain, with hundreds of stars that are not recognized because of the millions of lights below. The huge advertisements hang above the skyscrapers and the old and modern buildings, shining with thousands of different colors, textures and dancing images. There is no vehicle in the streets, and the tumult of people screams and applauds with enthusiasm in the heart of Manhattan. It is a world completely different from everything that four mutant turtles have seen on that season, down in the subway. The colorful colors, the blinding and bright lights, the hundreds of thousands of different smells that only open the appetite. The aroma of hot oil, sausages and crusty bread, salt, sweet drinks, all traveling with the icy wind to their nostrils and waking a dance in their stomachs. So many different people jumping in their places and making noise, dressed in scandalous coats and woven caps and colorful scarves.

Broadway and Seventh Avenue are a universe of color and noise, and Raphael would hate it, would hate it at all, because he is freezing up there, in a simple scarf and gloves that do nothing to keep him warm; because his feet ache from being so long on the concrete of ice; because, at that point, he can clearly see the Crystal Ball, shining in a myriad of colors over the Times Square building, and hurts him in the eyes; he would hate it in every way, the noise, the people, the smells, the mass of signs turning and singing in a million different commercials. He would hate it, but when he looks at his side, Mikey is behind him, staring wide-eyed at the crowd, ignoring the cruel, cold wind that hugs his skin, jumping on his heels with emotion and looking and looking and looking at everything that he has never been able to see under the ground, drinking from the landscape as a poor desert man would drink in an Oasis, picking up every detail, screaming when people do it, clapping to nothing. He looks like a five-year-old boy again, like that moment when Dad got the comic he wanted and Raphael read it with him every night; he wasn't good to make the voices like Donnie, but Mikey preferred to read it with him whenever was possible, and Raphael liked being needed for a moment.

And yes, Raphael would prefer a million of million times to be sitting at home, with New Year's dinner that was never too much, but it always seemed to be enough. He would rather be in front of the TV, the light from the screen making uneven shadows on the floor of the room, he on the couch with his brothers around and Mikey too excited to pick a good movie. He would prefer that, if it were not for Mikey now. It had taken him weeks to persuade his father to let them out to see the show. Raphael had thought it would be a bad idea, but now he cannot help but watch his usually happy brother shine in ecstasy, and he cannot think of anything else he wants to be doing more than looking at him. He doesn't mind the bizarre lights, or the excessive noise, or that Casey and Donnie are arguing in the back for something stupid. He just only cares about Mikey.

Raph moves toward him, next to the door leading into the building. "Hey," he says, and his voice sounds like a whisper in the midst of so many screams.

Mikey smiles. "Hey."

Raphael tries not to smile back, but it is impossible. "So? Is it as good as you thought?"

Mikey's eyes glow. "It's even better," he says.

Raphael looks to the front. He admires the giant Coca-Cola sign that is rolling on the screen, with background music.

"Well then, because I think I'll become a snowturtle before I see the huge finale."

Mikey laughs at his wordplay. An hell, he has the best laugh in the whole world. "Oh, c'mon," he teases. "It's not that bad."

Raphael turns to him. He raises a ridge of eye, amused. "We're about ten degrees below zero, Mike. I'm surprised my nose is not ice-cream yet."

Mikey smiles wider. "Dude, I'd love to see that."

Raphael rolls his eyes, but there's something in Mikey's smile that warms his chest.

"I know," he says, and half-smiles. "It would be almost as funny as the time you stuck your tongue to a pole."

Mikey grimaces at the memory, although it seems that he is trying to suppress a smile, and is about to say something when April shouts to him, above the noise of the people, "Mikey! Look, come here, I think they are going to throw balloons."

He jumps in his place, his eyes lighting up. "Really?" he screams, as he makes his way to the edge of the roof, next to the redhead.

Raphael chuckles, crossing his arms across his chest.

"You could be less obvious, you know?" Leo leaps, suddenly, behind him, and Raphael startles.

"Hell, Leo."

He laughs. "Sorry. I'm that silent."

Raphael opens his eyes wider, and smiles mockingly. "You know that without all that noise I would have heard you, Fearless, but if you want to make yourself false illusions..."

He leaves the sentence hanging, and Leo only smiles, shaking his head.

"You are impossible," he says.

"Thanks."

Leo laughs. "But, you know, I'm serious, you're more obvious than anything, I don't understand why Mikey has not noticed it already."

"I don't know what you're talking about," Raphael snarls, after a pause. Especially because he hates talking about his feelings; his feelings in general, but he hates even more talking about what he feels for Mikey. It's insane and crazy, and he's a mess about it, because, come on, who would not be the same way about it? Want your own brother in a way that you definitely shouldn't upset anyone's mind, and that was happening with him. He didn't need to talk about it and fuel the fire that was already growing over time. The way he felt when Mikey was close— the way his knees were loosened when he smiled at him or the way his whole chest was inflated with heat when he laughed. The persistent desire to want to look at him every moment. He had even been so much softer with him than before. Trying to make him laugh, or laughing at his stupid jokes. Letting him make his ridiculous pranks with water-balloons and all with no more punishment than a playfully punch.

Dammit. He wanted to tell Leo that he was not obvious, that he was careful as hell with the situation, because, in fact, he felt like that every time he repressed the urge to kiss him or hug him longer or tell him how much he liked simply being with him. He wanted to tell Leo that he was wrong, but deep inside Raph knew he would be lying to himself. If he wasn't so obvious, Leo would not have noticed it. He could understand a little that Donnie knew before, because Donnie was Donnie; he had that stupidly big brain of his that gave him an advantage. And then, after a few days that his smart brother had talked to him, Leo had almost jumped on top of him and shouted "Oh my God, you like Mikey!" just after Raphael had let Mikey put his favorite movie on the day that he can chose it.

"You know I'm not judging you..."

And then it had been Casey. Casey Jones, the world's biggest knucklehead, had noticed his ridiculously inappropriate crush with his younger brother.

"Y'know I'm not that stupid, right, Raph?" The vigilante had said that night, on one of his many patrols.

"What are you talking about, Jones?" He had answered. "You're as stupid as I remember."

The hockey player had looked at him, and after a few seconds an arrogant smile had spread across his face. He had turned and hit the garbage container with his bat, and finally had dropped, as if it was nothing, "You like Mikey."

It had not even been a question.

Then Raphael had accepted that he was obvious as hell. But of course, in his head, he was not going to say it out loud.

"Leo," he hisses, back in the present. "Shut up, you know I don't like to talk about it."

His brother stops talking for a few seconds. Both are facing the front, towards Mikey, who continues to leap in place as if he had springs at his heels.

"Are you going to do it?" Leo spits suddenly.

Raphael frowns. "And I thought I was not very understandable. I'm going to do what?"

Leo turns and looks at Mikey for three long seconds, before Raphael catches it.

"No," he replied, 'cause yes, maybe he's been thinking, for days, about— kissing Mikey when twelve o'clock comes, but now, looking at his brother in front of him, he doesn't think he has the courage to do it.

He knew the tradition of the New Year Kiss long before he knew he liked Mikey, and the great irony was that Mikey was the one who had mentioned it. His younger brother had said it was something couples did and that he definitely wanted to do it when he had one. Raphael had only laughed at his childhood dream.

"What's so great about a kiss in New Year? I don't see the difference to be kissed at any other time," he had said.

Mikey had only shrugged, smiling, his unabashed enthusiasm for having discovered something his brothers didn't know. "I dunno, I just want to do it," he had replied.

Well, now, with his new feelings discovered, Raph had thought it would be a good idea. He had nothing to lose. His brothers and friends already knew, so he would not expose himself to anyone. Well, except for Mikey. His younger brother had mentioned that he would like to kiss someone on that specific date, so he couldn't be so upset. Unless he hated Raphael for the fact that he had ruined his dream with a kiss he didn't want.

Hell, it was so complicated. The whole thing was complicated as shit. Raphael had never been such a coward. He had faced his fears always, even that disgusting, huge cockroach. And now he was panicking about his own brother, dammit. That was not him.

"I think you should do it," Leo says suddenly, and it sounds like he's been thinking what to say. "If you want it. I mean, if you really want to do it, why not? We all know Mikey, he's not going to hit you."

Raphael blinks, still looking ahead.

"But he's going to hate me."

Leo laughs, and Raphael has to turn to look at him in disbelief, because really? This is serious business.

"I don't think you understood me," he says, smiling, and Raph actually doesn't think so, because he's very confused now. "It's Mikey who we're talking about, Raph, I don't think he can hate anyone even if he wants to."

Raphael frowns, and Leo just smiles and turns to look at the commercials that spin on the screen.

"I guess you're right," Raph replies after a while, and he feels very far away, even though he has not moved an inch from the ground.

"Of course I am," he says, half-grinning, patting his shoulder before moving away with Casey and Donnie, as if they had just talked about something as normal as time.

Raphael looks at Mikey again. He is smiling and playing with his orange scarf. He drew a cat with a permanent marker on the fabric, just on the edge, a few years ago, and now he traces the lines with his fingers, without looking, as if he knew them by heart. His cap is unmoved in his head at so many times he has jumped. The light of colors shines all over his face, highlights his freckles and enlarges his blue eyes in a vivid swirl in which Raphael wants to drown. Raphael looks at him, a little dizzy; his heart has begun to bark violently in his chest and has begun to see blurred at the edges. There is an annoying buzzing in his head, but he doesn't mind when April turns, looking at her watch, and announces that fifteen seconds is missing by twelve.

Raphael's breathing begins to be heavier. He feels lead in his lungs every time he tries to breathe air. It's colder than before.

He doesn't stop looking at Mikey, who practically shines like one of the many signs around him.

"I think you should do it."

Raphael is still looking at Mikey without blinking. His hands shake.

"I mean, if you really want to do it, why not?"

Why not? Why.

In the midst of all the buzzing, Raphael listens to people screaming in sync. Countdown numbers echo in his head, bouncing against the walls of his skull, making him even dizzier.

12...

"We all know Mikey, he's not going to hit you."

It's cold. His brain has become knotted with so much thinking.

11…

"It's Mikey who we're talking about, Raph."

The world around him shouts and applauds. His legs don't respond. His knees are weak and he can barely stand on his own weight.

... 10...

"I don't think he can hate anyone even if he wants to."

Casey knows. Leo knows. Donnie knows. Donnie told April, so April knows. Everyone knows what he feels like, except Mikey.

... 9...

"It's not in his system." Mikey is gentle and sweet and has a heart the size of the universe. Mikey understands and listens to him and enjoys the time they spend together even though Raphael is just grunting. Mikey smiles at everything, even the bad situations. He is optimistic and cheerful and enjoys life even if it always kicks him in the butt. He never argues. He apologizes for things he shouldn't and is always trying to help. He loves and lives and keeps him on his feet. He stabilizes him. He keeps him calm when his anger is destroying him in a million pieces that no one can compose. When he laughs, when he looks at him, when he touches him, Raphael cannot feel more alive. Because he loves him. He loves him as he has never loved anyone.

... 8...

He has stopped breathing. He feels the heart beat against his ribs and the blood roars in his ears like angry waves against the coast, sweeping the sand into huge figures.

... 7...

Everything around him moves in slow motion. April is hugging Leo. Casey raises his hands over his head, pumps his fists. Donnie's just laughing at him. Mikey looks at the Crystal Ball as it comes down.

... 6...

The wind revolves around him, like a hurricane. The ground moves under his feet.

"What's so great about a New Year's kiss?"

5…

"I dunno, I just want to do it."

He begins to remove his gloves, his hands shaking. He doesn't even know why he is doing it, he is freezing. His heart flutters so fast he thinks it's going to open a hole in his chest. His mouth is a desert. His lips look sealed with glue. He has never felt so nervous in his whole life and he really doesn't think he will actually feel more nervous afterwards.

4…

He manages to take his feet off the ground, despite all his body is shaking. He walks to the edge of the roof in the midst of the buzz of people. Mikey looks at him. Everything around him stops moving. His breath has gone over the edge, his heart thudding in his throat.

Mikey tilts his head to the side at the sight of his panicked face. Raphael looks at him as he opens his lips and says something, but the incoherent noise around him avoids him from understanding it. He stops in front of him, and Mikey is looking at him. His blue eyes absorb him.

Time stretches as Raphael leans in and takes his cheeks with both hands. Mikey stops talking. His eyes go wide. His lips are caught in a grimace of confusion and something else he can't decipher. His cap is out of place, his orange scarf flutters in the air around him. The thousands of lights are reflected in his skin, and Raphael is glad to have removed his gloves away, because now he can feel his skin warm and soft under his fingers. They are frozen as ice, but Mikey doesn't seem to be flustered at all when he slides them through his freckles, drawing the outline of his cheeks.

He's beautiful.

3…

He likes Mikey. He likes him so much.

He likes the way his lips curl into a smile. He likes how his eyes sparkle when someone makes him laugh. He likes how soft his skin is under his. He likes how good he smells and how wonderful it is to have him around. He just likes him a lot.

He likes the tingling of his body to have him that close, now. He likes to touch him. He likes him because he has not moved away from him even though he must be thinking about it. He likes how he looks at him, the sweet innocence in each of his features as he doesn't know what is going to happen next.

Raphael doesn't even think if Leo or Donnie or April or Case are looking at him or not. He doesn't even think about if they have noticed his movement.

He doesn't care.

2…

"I mean, if you really want to do it, why not?"

Why not?

He draws him closer. Mikey's eyes widen, but he says nothing.

1

The world explodes around him. Fireworks explode in the sky, but Raphael doesn't listen to them because his heartbeat is so loud he thinks they could hear it on the other side of the world. The whole crowd shouts with enthusiasm, but there is only a buzz in his ears. Everything happens in a second. The ground shakes beneath his feet, the temperature increases at least twenty degrees on his body, the tips of his fingers tingles as he pushes Mikey closer and his lips explode against his own.

The world has stopped spinning. There is absolute silence and Raphael doesn't even remember where he is. The nerves are undone in his belly like a million ants that are no longer annoying, they just tickle. He can feel Mikey breathing against him, he can feel his heart vibrate beneath his fingers, though he has not moved them from his cheeks. Mikey kisses him back, and Raphael can feel him tremble against his body. He doesn't blame him, he's shaking like crazy too.

Mikey's lips are soft and sweet and feel so good moving against his. He can't think. The way Mike leans against him, stands on the tip of his feet and moves his jaw to deepen the kiss is overwhelming him. He finally listens to how the fireworks explode over their heads, and if Raphael didn't have Mikey against him, kissing him, he would surely have laughed, because he has heard a million times in the old and cheesy movies how you hear fireworks and chimes around you, how you feel that you float in space and everything around you stops moving when you kiss someone, and Raphael would laugh at the ridiculousness of that, because, in fact, it is much better. There are no bells or fireworks unless they are there; but you hear his breathing and his heart beat against you and it's fantastic. You don't feel that you fleet, you feel that finally something has returned you at your feet. Mikey's hands settle over his, his fingers caressing tenderly the backs of his hands, and everything is just too much for Raphael to handle.

The lack of oxygen screams at him, and Raphael wants to ignore it with all his strength, but in the end they separate.

He doesn't open his eyes when he hears the click of their lips as they separate. He doesn't move his hands or stop stroking Mikey's cheeks. His hands don't move either. He can't be sure if Mikey has opened his eyes, but he thinks he has not.

He sticks his foreheads together, and he feels Mikey stop stretching to get back on his feet, but doesn't taking off their faces.

His heart beats loudly in his rib cage, pumps blood through his system deliciously fast. He is no longer afraid. No matter what Mikey says later, he has already kissed him, and he has kiss him back. He can never get more than that.

"Happy New Year," he murmurs, still not opening his eyes. His breathing is calming after he gasps wildly for air.

Mikey laughs, and the sound vibrates in his fingers and travels through his body. It blows in his face and makes him feel too good to be true.

"Are you going to look at me or do I have to kiss you again?"

A slow smile curls on his lips, and he is very tempted to leave his eyes closed for him to do so, but he really wants to look at him.

He open his eyes and looks at Mikey's smiling face. He's beautiful. At all. His lips are parted, his eyes are bluer and childish than ever, his freckles stand out, his essence illuminates as a focus.

There is nothing more beautiful in this world than he, he thinks.

"I wouldn't mind the second option," he jokes, and Mikey's smile grows wider.

He's about to say something like you're so beautiful, because he had caught the blush on Mikey's cheeks until now, when the reality strikes him. He is fully aware that they have an audience, and he feels all his eyes beating on him like darts. And although he is aware that this shouldn't be so surprising to them, he suddenly feels very uncomfortable and awkward.

Raphael lets go Mikey's cheeks to turn around and look at them. They are all there, one on one side of the other, looking at the two of them. April grimaces and sways on her heels, as if what was in front of her is the most beautiful thing she has ever seen in her life. Leo half-smiles, heartedly, his eyes glittering, though he looks stunned. Donnie smiles smugly, showing the gap between his teeth, while Casey frowns to one side.

Mikey stretches close to him, half body behind his, using it as a shield, and takes his hand in his, interlacing their fingers together, as he did when he was younger and was afraid. Raphael smiles, and that's when everyone lets go and talk at the same time.

"Aw, guys," April squeaks. "You two are adorable."

"Wow, Raph, I didn't think you were going to do it."

"Hah! I told you so. Pay me now, Jones."

"Oh man, it's not fair, D, you sent Leo to convince him."

"I didn't do anything."

"Of course you did."

Raphael can barely pick up shards of what they are saying, but he raises a ridge of eye, looking at Donnie and Casey for a second.

"You two made a bet, idiots?" he growls, although he seems a little amused at the reaction of all.

Donnie's smile diminishes a little, embarrassed, but Casey's frown is only accentuated as he says, "Yeah, and Donnie cheated."

D makes a face. "I didn't cheat."

"Yeah you did, and you used your own brother, what a lack of honor is that! And you're a ninja!"

"Wait, what?" Leo says, "When did you use me?"

Donnie turns to him, irritated. "I did not use you!" he shouts, waving his arms.

"Guys!" April scolds. "You just ruined the moment."

No one pays attention to her as they continue to argue, and Raphael blinks, a bit incredulous, because a bet is actually more important than the whole kiss-thing to them. It's almost fun.

He's about to make a sarcastic comment when Mikey leans against him and hugs him.

"Happy New Year," he murmurs, against his chest.

Raphael kisses his temple carefully, and smiles against his tender skin.

He hears the noise of the people below, the fireworks continue to explode in the sky and he hears the hum of his brothers arguing. Mikey sinks more against him, breathing quietly against his neck.

There is nothing in the world more perfect.


Happy New Year people! Thanks for reading. Any review? I don't bite.


TRADUCCIÓN


KISSES.

Beso 21: Año Nuevo.

By: Annie Park.

Nota del autor: Hey, ¡hola! Aquí está el especial de Año Nuevo. Espero que lo disfruten muchísimo. Lo publico ahora porque estoy a punto de irme de viaje de nuevo, así que, si ustedes prefieren leerlo después, en Año Nuevo, no importa.

Esta historia está basada en el número 20 de la lista Qué hacer Antes de Morir, "Besar a alguien en Año Nuevo". Sinceramente no le veía nada de especial, pero después le vi un poco el encanto. Además, yo siempre he querido ir a Times Square en este tiempo. A Nueva York si es posible. Nunca he estado, así que cualquier elemento erróneo, lo lamento. Yo sólo investigo, pero no puedo estar segura de nada.

¡Los amo! ¡Muchísimas gracias por leer!

Descargo de responsabilidad: Tmnt no me pertenece.

Ahora un pequeño (largo) agradecimiento a todos los que han leído mi historia a través de todos estos meses (pueden brincarlo quien desee, jaja): He estado aquí desde el primero de Julio y ahora ya va a ser primero de Enero y otro año, vaya. Bien, primero que nada, muchas, muchas, muchísimas gracias a todos. En serio. Esta historia ha sido de las que más me ha gustado haber escrito y estaré eternamente agradecida a todos ustedes por apoyarme y leer día a día mi esfuerzo y mi trabajo. A todos los que siguen aquí, gracias por esperar en mis largos descansos y seguir leyendo como siempre sin quejarse. De verdad los amo. Hicieron mi año uno mejor del que jamás hubiera sido sin ustedes. Los amo con todo mi corazón y todos ustedes son muy importantes para mí, créanme. Cada uno de ustedes, que lee, que comenta, que da fav, que lee simplemente y disfruta. Gracias. Escribir es algo que me fascina en todos los sentidos, y tener gente que admira tu trabajo es lo mejor que te puede suceder. Los adoro a todos. A cada uno de ustedes. Mi año no hubiera sido lo que es si no hubiera sido por ustedes. Me pongo muy emocional con esto y no quiero continuar, porque lloraré, *inserte risa triste, jaja*. Lo único que diré es que seguiré aquí por mucho tiempo, o eso creo, y espero que todos ustedes sigan conmigo. Les deseo éxito, que todos sus sueños, deseos y metas se cumplan. Siempre. Que consigan lo que quieren con esfuerzo. Que lleguen a donde quieran llegar. Se lo merecen. Muchísimas gracias, en serio. Y los amo. Feliz Año Nuevo.


31 de Diciembre. 11:47pm. Nueva York, USA.

El cielo es una cortina oscura, con cientos de estrellas que no se reconocen debido a las millones de luces que hay debajo. Los anuncios enormes cuelgan por encima de los rascacielos y edificios antiguos y modernos, brillando con miles de diferentes colores, texturas e imágenes danzantes. No hay ningún vehículo en las calles, y el tumulto de gente grita y aplaude con entusiasmo en el corazón de Manhattan. Es un mundo completamente distinto a todo lo que cuatro tortugas mutantes han visto en esas fechas, abajo en el subterráneo. Los colores vistosos, las luces cegadoras y brillantes, los cientos de miles de olores diferentes que sólo abren el apetito. El aroma a aceite caliente, las salchichas y el pan crujiente, la sal, las bebidas dulces, todo viajando con el viento helado hasta sus fosas nasales y despertando un baile en sus estómagos. Tanta gente diferente saltando en sus lugares y haciendo ruido, vestida con abrigos escandalosos y gorros tejidos y bufandas coloridas.

Broadway y la Séptima Avenida son un universo de color y ruido, y Raphael lo odiaría, lo odiaría en absoluto, porque se está congelando allí arriba, en una simple bufanda y guantes que no hacen nada por mantenerlo caliente; porque los pies le duelen de estar tanto tiempo sobre el concreto de hielo; porque, a esa altura, puede ver con claridad la Bola de Cristal, brillando en un sinfín de colores sobre el edificio de Times Square, y le cala en los ojos; lo odiaría en todos los sentidos, el ruido, la gente, los olores, la masa de letreros girando y cantando en un millón de distintos anuncios publicitarios. Lo odiaría, pero cuando mira a su costado, Mikey está detrás de él, mirando con ojos enormes hacia la multitud, ignorando el viento cruel y frío que le abraza la piel, saltando sobre sus talones con emoción y mirando y mirando y mirando todo lo que nunca ha podido ver debajo del suelo, bebiendo del paisaje como bebería un pobre hombre del desierto en un Oasis, captando cada detalle, gritando cuando la gente lo hace, aplaudiendo a la nada. Parece un niño de cinco años de nuevo, como aquel momento en que cuando papá consiguió el cómic que quería y Raphael lo leía con él todas las noches; no era bueno haciendo las voces como Donnie, pero Mikey prefería leerlo con él a cada momento que fuera posible, y a Raphael le gustaba ser necesitado por un momento.

Y sí, Raphael preferiría un millón de millones de veces estar sentado en su casa, con la cena de Año Nuevo que nunca era demasiada, pero siempre parecía ser suficiente. Preferiría estar frente al televisor, la luz de la pantalla haciendo sombras desiguales en el suelo de la sala, él en el sillón con sus hermanos alrededor y Mikey demasiado entusiasmado por escoger una buena película. Preferiría eso, de no ser por Mikey ahora. Él había tardado semanas en convencer a su padre de que los dejara salir a ver el espectáculo. Raphael había pensado que sería una mala idea, pero ahora no puede dejar de mirar a su hermano usualmente alegre brillar en éxtasis, y no puede pensar en ninguna otra cosa que quiera estar haciendo más que mirarlo. No le importan las luces estrambóticas, o el ruido excesivo, o que Casey y Donnie estén discutiendo en la parte de atrás por algo estúpido. Sólo Mikey.

Raph se mueve hacia él, junto a la puerta que conduce al interior del edificio.

—Hey —dice, y su voz suena como un susurro en medio de tantos gritos.

Mikey sonríe.

—Hey.

Raphael intenta no sonreír de vuelta, pero es imposible.

—¿Y? ¿Es tan bueno como pensabas?

Los ojos de Mikey resplandecen.

—Es mejor —responde.

Raphael mira hacia el frente. Admira el letrero gigante de Coca-Cola que está rodando en la pantalla, con música de fondo.

—Bueno, porque yo creo que me convertiré en esquimal antes de ver el gran final.

Mikey se ríe. Demonios, él tiene la mejor risa de todo el mundo.

—Oh, vamos —se burla—. No es tan malo.

Raphael se gira hacia él. Alza una cresta de ojo, divertido.

—Estamos a unos diez grados bajo cero, Mike. Me sorprende que mi nariz no sea hielo.

Mikey sonríe más ancho.

—Amigo, me encantaría ver eso.

Raphael rueda los ojos, pero hay algo en la sonrisa de Mikey que le calienta el pecho.

—Lo sé —dice, y sonríe a medias—. Sería casi tan divertido como la vez que se te pegó la lengua a un poste.

Mikey hace una mueca ante el recuerdo, aunque parece que está intentando reprimir una sonrisa, y está a punto de decir algo cuando Abril le grita, por encima del ruido de la gente:

—¡Mikey! Mira, ven acá, creo que van lanzar globos.

Él salta de su lugar, sus ojos se iluminan.

—¿En serio? —chilla, mientras hace su carrera hasta el borde de la azotea, junto a la pelirroja.

Raphael se ríe entre dientes, cruzando los brazos sobre el pecho.

—Podrías ser menos obvio, ¿sabes? —Leo suelta, de repente, detrás de él, y Raphael se sobresalta.

—Demonios, Leo.

Él se ríe.

—Lo siento. Soy así de cauteloso.

Raphael abre más los ojos, y sonríe burlón.

—Sabes que sin todo ese ruido te habría escuchado, Temerario Líder, pero si quieres hacerte ilusiones falsas…

Él deja la frase colgando, y Leo sólo sonríe, mientras niega con la cabeza.

—Eres imposible —le dice.

—Gracias.

Leo se ríe.

—Pero hablo en serio, eres más obvio que nada, no entiendo por qué Mikey no se ha dado cuenta.

—No sé de qué estás hablando —gruñe Raphael, después de una pausa. Sobre todo porque detesta hablar de sus sentimientos; sus sentimientos en general, pero detesta todavía más hablar sobre lo que siente por Mikey. Es demente y loco, y todo él es un desastre acerca de ello, porque, vamos, ¿quién no estaría de la misma forma? Querer a tu propio hermano de una manera que no deberías volvería trastornada la mente de cualquiera, y eso estaba pasando con él. No necesitaba hablar de ello y avivar el fuego que ya estaba creciendo con el tiempo. La forma en que se sentía cuando Mikey estaba cerca… la manera en que sus rodillas se aflojaban cuando le sonreía o la forma en que todo su pecho se inflaba de calor cuando se reía. Las persistentes ganas de querer mirarlo a cada momento. Incluso había estado siendo muchísimo más suave con él que antes. Intentando hacerlo reír, o riéndose de sus chistes estúpidos. Dejándolo hacer sus bromas ridículas sin ningún castigo más que un golpe de broma.

Maldita sea. Quería decirle a Leo que no era obvio, que era cuidadoso como el infierno con el asunto, porque, en realidad, así se sentía cada vez que reprimía las ganas de besarlo o abrazarlo más tiempo o decirle lo mucho que le gustaba simplemente estar con él. Quería decirle que estaba equivocado, pero dentro de sí sabía que estaría mintiendo. Si no fuera tan obvio, Leo no se habría dado cuenta. Podía entender un poco que Donnie lo supiera antes, porque Donnie era Donnie, tenía ese estúpidamente grande cerebro suyo que le daba ventaja. Y entonces, después de unos días que su hermano inteligente había hablado con él, Leo había casi saltado encima suyo y gritado "Oh por Dios, ¡te gusta Mikey!", justo después de que Raphael le había dejado poner su película favorita en el día que él elegía.

—Raph. Sabes que no te estoy juzgando…

Y después había sido Casey. Casey Jones, el cabeza hueca más grande del mundo, se había dado cuenta de su ridículamente inapropiado crush con su hermano menor.

—¿Sabes que no soy tan estúpido, cierto, Raph? —había dicho el vigilante aquella noche, en una de sus muchas patrullas.

—¿De qué estás hablando, Jones? —había contestado—. Eres tan estúpido como te recuerdo.

El jugador de hockey lo había mirado, y después de unos segundos, una sonrisa arrogante se había extendido por su rostro. Él se había girado y golpeado con su bate el contenedor de basura, y había soltado, como si nada:

—Te gusta Mikey.

Ni siquiera había sido una pregunta.

Entonces Raphael había aceptado que era obvio como el infierno. Pero claro que en su cabeza, no iba a decirlo en voz alta.

—Leo —sisea, de vuelta en el presente—. Cállate. Sabes que no me gusta hablar de ello.

Su hermano deja de hablar por unos segundos. Ambos están mirando al frente, hacia Mikey, que sigue saltando en su lugar como si tuviera resortes en los talones.

—¿Vas a hacerlo? —espeta Leo de pronto.

Raphael frunce el ceño.

—Y creí que yo no era muy comprensible. ¿Que si voy a hacer el qué?

Leo se gira y mira a Mikey durante tres largos segundos, antes de Raphael capte.

—No —responde, porque , tal vez lleva pensando, durante días, en… besarlo cuando se den las doce, pero ahora, mirando a su hermano frente a él, no cree que tenga el valor para hacerlo.

Él supo de la tradición del beso de Año Nuevo mucho antes de que supiera que Mikey le gustaba, y la gran ironía era que Mikey eran quien se lo había mencionado. Su hermano menor había dicho que era algo que las parejas hacían y que él definitivamente quería hacerlo cuando tuviera una. Raphael sólo se había reído de su sueño infantil. "¿Qué tiene de grande un beso en Año Nuevo? No le veo la diferencia a que te besen en cualquier otro momento." Había dicho. Mikey sólo se había encogido de hombros, sonriendo, su entusiasmo imperturbable al haber descubierto algo que sus hermanos no sabían. "No lo sé, yo sólo quiero hacerlo", había respondido.

Bueno, ahora, con sus nuevos sentimientos descubiertos, Raph había pensado que sería buena idea. No tenía nada que perder. Sus hermanos y amigos ya lo sabían, así que no se expondría ante nadie. Bueno, a excepción de Mikey. Su hermano menor había mencionado que le gustaría besar a alguien en esa fecha, así que no podría molestarse tanto. A no ser que detestara el hecho de que Raphael había arruinado su deseo con un beso que él no quería.

Demonios, era tan complicado. Todo ese asunto era complicado como la mierda. Raphael nunca había sido un cobarde. Se había enfrentado a sus miedos siempre, incluso a esa asquerosa, cucaracha gigante. Y ahora tenía pánico por su propio hermano, maldita sea. Ese no era él.

—Creo que deberías hacerlo —dice Leo, de pronto, y suena como si hubiera estado pensando qué responder—. Si tú quieres. Es decir, si en serio deseas hacerlo, ¿por qué no? Todos conocemos a Mikey, no va a golpearte.

Raphael parpadea, sin dejar de mirar al frente.

—Pero va a odiarme.

Leo se ríe, y Raphael tiene que girarse a mirarlo con incredulidad, porque ¿en serio? Ese asunto es serio.

—Creo que no me has entendido —dice, sonriendo, y Raph en realidad cree que no, porque está muy confundido ahora—. Es Mikey de quien estamos hablando, Raph. No creo que pueda odiar a alguien aunque quiera. No está en su sistema.

Raphael frunce el ceño, y Leo sólo sonríe y se da la vuelta para mirar hacia los anuncios publicitarios que giran en la pantalla.

—Supongo que tienes razón —responde Raph, después de un tiempo, y se siente muy lejos de ahí, a pesar de que no se ha movido ni un centímetro del suelo.

—Por supuesto que la tengo —dice él, sonriendo a medias, y le da una palmada en el hombro antes de alejarse con Casey y Donnie, como si acabaran de hablar de algo tan normal como el tiempo.

Raphael mira a Mikey de nuevo. Está sonriendo y jugando con su bufanda naranja. Le dibujó un gato con marcador permanente en la tela, justo en el borde, hace unos cuantos años, y ahora traza las líneas con los dedos, sin mirar, como si se las supiera de memoria. Su gorro está desacomodado en su cabeza de tantas veces que ha saltado. La luz de colores brilla en todo su rostro, resalta sus pecas y agranda sus ojos azules en un remolino vivo en el que Raphael quiere ahogarse. Raphael lo mira, un poco mareado; su corazón ha comenzado a latir violentamente en su pecho y ha comenzado a ver borroso en los bordes. Hay un zumbido molesto en su cabeza, pero no le hace caso cuando Abril se gira, mirando su reloj, y anuncia que faltan quince segundos para las doce.

La respiración de Raphael comienza a ser más pesada. Siente plomo en los pulmones cada vez que intenta respirar aire. Hace más frío que antes.

No deja de mirar a Mikey, que prácticamente resplandece como uno de los muchos letreros a su alrededor.

"Creo que deberías hacerlo."

Raphael sigue mirando a Mikey, sin parpadear. Le tiemblan las manos.

"Es decir, si en serio deseas hacerlo, ¿por qué no?"

¿Por qué no? Por qué.

En medio de todo el zumbido, Raphael escucha a la gente gritando en sincronía. Los números en cuenta regresiva hacen eco en su cabeza, rebotando contra las paredes de su cráneo, mareándolo todavía más.

12…

"Todos conocemos a Mikey, no va a golpearte."

Hace frío. Su cerebro se ha hecho nudos de tanto pensar.

11…

"Es Mikey de quien estamos hablando, Raph."

El mundo a su alrededor grita y aplaude. Las piernas no le responden. Sus rodillas van débiles y apenas puede sostenerse sobre su propio peso.

10…

"No creo que pueda odiar a alguien aunque quiera."

Casey lo sabe. Leo lo sabe. Donnie lo sabe. Donnie le dijo a Abril. Abril sabe. Todos saben lo que siente, menos Mikey.

9…

"No está en su sistema." Mikey es gentil y dulce y tiene un corazón del tamaño del universo. Mikey lo entiende y lo escucha y disfruta del tiempo que pasan juntos aunque Raphael sólo esté gruñendo. Mikey sonríe a todo, hasta las malas situaciones. Es optimista y alegre y disfruta de la vida aunque lo patee siempre. Nunca discute. Se disculpa por cosas que no debería y siempre está intentando ayudar. Ama y vive y lo mantiene sobre sus pies. Lo estabiliza. Lo mantiene en calma cuando su ira lo está destruyendo en un millón de pedazos que nadie puede componer. Cuando se ríe, cuando lo mira, cuando lo toca, Raphael no puede sentirse más vivo. Porque lo ama. Lo ama como nunca ha amado a nadie.

8…

Ha dejado de respirar. Siente cómo el corazón golpea contra sus costillas y la sangre ruge en sus oídos como olas furiosas contra la costa, barriendo la arena en figuras descomunales.

7…

Todo a su alrededor se mueve en cámara lenta. Abril está abrazada a Leo. Casey alza las manos sobre su cabeza, bombea los puños. Donnie sólo se está riendo de él. Mikey mira hacia la Bola de Cristal mientras baja.

6…

El viento gira alrededor de él, como un huracán. El suelo se mueve debajo de sus pies.

"¿Qué tiene de grande un beso en Año Nuevo?"

5…

"No lo sé, yo sólo quiero hacerlo."

Comienza a quitarse los guantes, con las manos temblorosas. Ni siquiera sabe por qué lo hace, se está congelando. Su corazón se agita tan rápidamente que cree que va a abrir un hueco en su pecho. Su boca es un desierto. Sus labios parecen sellados con pegamento. Jamás se ha sentido tan nervioso en toda su vida y no cree que de hecho vaya a sentirse más nervioso después.

4…

Se las arregla para despegar sus pies del suelo, a pesar de todo su cuerpo está temblando. Camina hacia la orilla de la azotea en medio del zumbido de la gente. Mikey mira hacia él. Todo a su alrededor deja de moverse. Su respiración se ha ido por el borde, el corazón le late desbocadamente en la garganta.

Mikey ladea la cabeza hacia un lado al ver su rostro de pánico. Raphael lo mira mientras abre los labios y dice algo, pero el ruido incoherente a su alrededor le impide entenderlo. Se detiene frente a él, y Mikey lo está mirando. Sus ojos azules lo absorben.

El tiempo se alarga mientras Raphael se estira y toma sus mejillas con ambas manos. Mikey deja de hablar. Sus ojos se abren. Sus labios están atrapados en una mueca de confusión y algo más que él no puede descifrar. Su gorro está fuera de lugar, su bufanda naranja ondea en el aire a su alrededor. Las miles de luces se reflejan en su piel, y Raphael se alegra de haberse quitado los guantes, porque ahora puede sentir su piel caliente y suave debajo de sus dedos. Están helados como el hielo, pero Mikey no parece inmutarse en absoluto cuando los desliza a través de sus pecas, dibujando el contorno de sus mejillas.

Es hermoso.

3…

Le gusta Mikey. Le gusta muchísimo.

Le gusta la forma en que sus labios se curvan en una sonrisa. Le gusta cómo brillan sus ojos cuando alguien lo hace reír. Le gusta lo suave que es su piel debajo de la suya. Le gusta lo bien que huele y lo maravilloso que es tenerlo cerca. Le gusta mucho.

Le gusta el hormigueo de su cuerpo al tenerlo así de cerca, ahora. Le gusta poder tocarlo. Le gusta porque no se ha alejado de él a pesar de que debe estar pensándolo. Le gusta cómo lo mira, la inocencia dulce en cada una de sus facciones al no saber qué va a suceder a continuación.

Raphael ni siquiera piensa en si Leo o Donnie o Abril o Casey lo están mirando o no. Ni siquiera se pregunta si se han dado cuenta de su movimiento.

No le importa.

2…

"Es decir, si en serio deseas hacerlo, ¿por qué no?"

¿Por qué no?

Lo atrae más cerca. Los ojos de Mikey se abren más anchos, pero no dice nada.

1

El mundo estalla a su alrededor. Los fuegos artificiales explotan en el cielo, pero Raphael no los escucha porque el latido de su corazón es tan alto que cree que podrían escucharlo al otro lado del mundo. Toda la multitud grita de entusiasmo, pero en sus oídos hay sólo un zumbido. Todo sucede en un segundo. El suelo tiembla debajo de sus pies, la temperatura aumenta al menos veinte grados en su cuerpo, la punta de sus dedos le hormiguea cuando empuja a Mikey más cerca y sus labios estallan contra los suyos.

El mundo ha dejado de girar. Hay un silencio absoluto y Raphael ni siquiera recuerda dónde está. Los nervios se deshacen en su vientre como un millón de hormigas que ya no son molestas, sólo hacen cosquillas. Puede sentir a Mikey respirando contra él, puede sentir su corazón vibrar debajo de sus dedos, aunque no los ha movido de sus mejillas. Mikey le devuelve el beso, y Raphael puede sentirlo temblar contra su cuerpo. No lo culpa, él también está temblando como loco.

Los labios de Mikey son suaves y dulces y se sienten bien moviéndose contra los suyos. No puede pensar. La forma en que Mike se inclina contra él, se levanta sobre la punta de sus pies y mueve su mandíbula para profundizar el beso lo está abrumando. Por fin escucha cómo los fuegos artificiales estallan sobre sus cabezas, y si Raphael no tuviera a Mikey contra él, besándolo, seguramente se habría reído, porque ha escuchado un millón de veces en las películas antiguas y cursis cómo se escuchan fuegos artificiales y campanadas a tu alrededor, cómo sientes que flotas en el espacio y todo a tu alrededor deja de moverse cuando besas a alguien, y Raphael se reiría de la ridiculez de eso, porque, en realidad, es mucho mejor. No hay campanas ni fuegos artificiales a menos que no estén ahí; pero escuchas su respiración y su corazón latir contra ti y es fantástico. No sientes que flotas, sientes que por fin algo te ha devuelto a tus pies. Las manos de Mikey se acomodan sobre las suyas, sus dedos acariciando tiernamente el dorso de sus manos, y todo es simplemente demasiado para que Raphael pueda soportarlo.

La falta de oxígeno le grita, y Raphael quiere ignorarlo con todas sus fuerzas, pero al final se separan.

No abre los ojos cuando escucha el clic de sus labios al apartarse. No mueve sus manos ni deja de acariciar las mejillas de Mikey. Las manos de él tampoco se mueven. No puede estar seguro de si Mikey ha abierto los ojos, pero piensa que no lo ha hecho.

Pega sus frentes juntas, y siente cómo Mikey deja de estirarse para volverse a colocar bien sobre sus pies, pero no despega sus rostros.

El corazón late fuerte en su caja torácica, bombea sangre a través de su sistema deliciosamente rápido. Ya no siente miedo. No importa qué diga Mikey después, ya lo ha besado, y él ha devuelto el beso. Nunca podrá conseguir más que eso.

—Feliz Año Nuevo —murmura, sin abrir los ojos. Su respiración se está tranquilizando después de jadear locamente por aire.

Mikey se ríe, y el sonido vibra en sus dedos y viaja a través de su cuerpo. Sopla en su rostro y le hace sentir demasiado bien como para ser cierto.

—¿Vas a mirarme o tengo que besarte de nuevo?

Una lenta sonrisa se curva en sus labios, y está muy tentado a dejar los ojos cerrados para que lo haga, pero en realidad quiere mirarlo.

Abre los ojos y observa el rostro de sonriente de Mikey. Es hermoso. Totalmente. Sus labios están entreabiertos, sus ojos son más azules e infantiles que nunca, sus pecas resaltan, su esencia ilumina como un foco.

No hay nada más hermoso en este mundo que él, piensa.

—No me importaría la segunda opción —bromea, y su sonrisa se vuelve más ancha.

Está a punto de decir algo como eres hermoso, porque apenas ha captado el rubor en sus mejillas, cuando la realidad lo golpea. Es plenamente consciente de que tienen público, y siente todos sus ojos golpeándolo como dardos. Y, aunque es consciente de que eso no debe ser tan sorprendente para ellos, de repente se siente muy incómodo y torpe.

Raphael suelta las mejillas de Mikey para girarse. Todos están allí, uno a un costado del otro, mirándolos. Abril hace una mueca y se balancea sobre sus talones, como si lo que tuviera en frente es lo más lindo que jamás haya visto en toda su vida. Leo sonríe a medias, con los ojos brillantes, aunque parece aturdido. Donnie sonríe con suficiencia, enseñando la brecha entre los dientes, mientras que Casey frunce el ceño a un costado.

Mikey se estira cerca de él, medio cuerpo detrás del suyo, usándolo como escudo, y toma su mano entre la suya, entrelazando sus dedos juntos, como hacía cuando era más chico y tenía miedo. Raphael sonríe, y es cuando todos se sueltan a hablar a la vez.

Aw, chicos —chilla Abril—. Ustedes dos son adorables.

—Vaya, Raph. No pensé que fueras a hacerlo.

—Ja. Te lo dije. Págame ahora, Jones.

—Oh, hombre. No es justo, D, tú enviaste a Leo a convencerlo.

—Yo no hice nada.

—Por supuesto que lo hiciste.

Raphael apenas puede captar fragmentos de lo que están diciendo, pero alza una cresta de ojo, mirando hacia Donnie y Casey por un segundo.

—¿Hicieron una apuesta, idiotas? —gruñe, aunque le parece un poco divertido la reacción de todos.

La sonrisa de Donnie disminuye un poco, avergonzado, pero el ceño de Casey sólo se acentúa y dice:

—Sí, y Donnie hizo trampa.

D hace una mueca.

—No hice trampa.

—Sí lo hiciste, y usaste a tu propio hermano, ¡qué falta de honor es esa! ¡Y eres un ninja!

—Espera, ¿qué? —interviene Leo—, ¿cuándo me usaste?

Donnie se vuelve a él, irritado.

—¡No te usé! —grita, agitando los brazos.

—¡Chicos! —Abril regaña—. Acaban de arruinar el momento.

Ninguno le presta atención mientras siguen discutiendo, y Raphael parpadea, un poco incrédulo, porque en realidad una apuesta es más importante que todo ese asunto. Es casi divertido.

Está a punto de hacer un comentario sarcástico cuando Mikey se inclina contra él y lo abraza.

—Feliz Año Nuevo —murmura, contra su pecho.

Raphael le besa con cuidado una sien, y sonríe contra su piel tierna.

Escucha el ruido de la gente abajo, los fuegos artificiales siguen explotando en el cielo y se oye el zumbido de sus hermanos discutiendo. Mikey se hunde más contra él, respirando tranquilamente contra su cuello.

No hay nada en el mundo más perfecto.


¡Feliz Año Nuevo personitas! Gracias por leer. ¿Algún comentario? No muerdo.