Denial Ain't Just a River in Egypt.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Turtles. (Well DUH!) So don't sue... you know the deal.

I got this story idea stuck in my head one night, and it wouldn't stop bugging me until I wrote it. Or rather, it used my fingers to type the story. Eh, tomato, tomahto.

Please review so I know people actually read this fic... its not that hard, really. Just press the little blue "Go" button at the bottom of the screen and then type in a few words in the little box that pops up. You'll feel better afterwards, believe me! You know you want to...

One shot. Raph and Leo have a little talk about a certain news reporter. Very angsty.

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It was three in the morning and the lair that the Turtles called home was quiet. The television in the corner had been silent for hours, and even Don had bid a fond farewell to his numerous experiments for the night. It was the time of night that a peaceful calm spread over the lair.

Leonardo however, couldn't sleep. He sat at the kitchen table on a backwards facing chair and had been staring at the tabletop for two hours.

She was sleeping over again. There had been a murder near her apartment, and she didn't feel safe at home. So naturally she went to where she did feel safe- underground in an abandoned subway station with four mutated turtles and a giant rat, all of whom were ninjitsu masters. Jerry Springer would have a field day.

Leo's head hurt. His mind had been going at a hundred miles an hour since he had given up his room (again) so April could have a little privacy. And for the life of him, he couldn't figure out why.

With a grunt, he pushed up from the table and stretched. Sitting at the table and memorizing the patterns of the wood was not going to help him any. He glanced at the clock. Three thirty. He had a little over two and a half hours before Master Splinter would wake up for his first tea of the day.

He rolled his head to stretch his neck muscles and decided to head for the dojo. Sleep was not going to come to him this night, so he might as well get some training out of it.

He bowed as he entered the training area, a reflex that he didn't even have to think about. Then he began to stretch. As he went through the motions to stretch his legs, his thoughts went again to the caramel- haired woman that was sleeping in his bed...

Leo shook his head in exasperation, forgot about stretching and attacked the well-worn punching bag that hung from the ceiling. In a fury of punching and kicking, he sent the two hundred-pound bag swinging from side to side. He could vaguely decipher that he was swearing under his breath with every attack he made. Why was April, of all people making him feel this way?

The sound of a throat clearing itself almost didn't register in his brain. He stopped beating up the now very worn punching bag to turn around to see a smug Raphael grinning at him.

Leo glared at him, breath just coming a bit harsher then usual from his attack on the bag. "What do you want?"

Raph kept on grinning. "So what brings our fearless leader ta' the dojo this late?" He paused, and added as an afterthought, "Or early."

Leo scowled at him, shaking sweat from his eyes. "It's none of your business. And I should be asking you the same thing."

Raph shrugged. "Well, it's hard ta' sleep when someone is makin' a racket in the room next ta' yours. I guess now I kin understand why Mikey complains so much when I come in late, angry over sumthin'."

Leo rolled his eyes and turned back to the still punching bag. "I'll try to keep it down."

Raph didn't move. Leo hit the punching bag a few more times. Then turned to his brother again. "What are you still standing there for?"

Raph held up his hands. "Ya' don't need ta' bite my head off ya' know. I just thought you needed a friendly ear, that's all."

Leo gave him an incredulous look and Raph laughed. "All right, a semi-friendly ear then."

He entered the dojo and sat at the edge of the training mats. Leo turned back to the punching bag and ignored his brother. Raph watched him for a while before talking again. "So how long have ya' liked April?"

Leo missed the punching bag completely and his momentum led him to fall into an undignified heap on the dojo floor. His cheeks burned, and he was suddenly very glad that he was green and that Raph couldn't see him blushing.

"What are you talking about?"

Raph smiled. "I knew it. Ya' do like her."

"No I don't!"

"Then why are ya' beating the crap outta' the punching bag at four in the morning?"

Leo didn't answer.

"Exactly."

"Raph, you're crazy. April is my-OUR friend. I don't like her that way. I don't think so, anyway." He added the last part under his breath.

Raph shook his head and tsk-tsked Leo as if he was a little kid who had just gotten into trouble.

"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt ya' know. Ya' honestly think that I don't know sexual frustration when I see it? I'm the reining king of angst here Leo. I should know."

Leo rubbed his face in his hands and sighed. "I don't know Raph. I don't know what's wrong with me. It's just... I can't stop thinking about her. It's driving me insane."

Raph got up and sauntered over to Leo's side of the dojo, sat next to him, and threw an arm around his shoulders. "Well, Leo, I guess now it's official. Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of teenage hormones."

Leo jumped up and glared at him. "Cut it out Raph. You have no idea what this is like for me!"

Raph looked up at his brother. "Ya' think I've never had a crush before? Dude, you are far more naive then I took you fer in the first place."

Leo looked at him with a puzzled sort of look on his face. "Explain."

Raph sighed and motioned for Leo to sit down. "Her name was Rachel. I saved her from a rape a while ago, and we kept in touch."

Leo looked at him, only slightly stunned. Out of the four turtles, Raph was the most likely to have gone out without Master Splinter's permission. Now if Donny had been the one talking to him...

Raph continued to talk. "We got ta' be good pals. I'd see her a few times a week and we usually hung at her place and watched a movie or just talked. Bit by bit I started ta' fall for her. I think that I realized that I loved her when I found out she had a boyfriend. Of course, she had a boyfriend, cause that's just how the Cosmic Order of the Universe works fer me-irony twenty-four/seven. "Anyway, one time I go over there, and she's cryin', makeup runnin' everywhere and she's basically a mess. Her jerk of a boyfriend had beat her 'cause he had heard a message I had left on her machine and thought she was cheatin' on him. She believed everything that he said ta' her, and she was hysterical and near suicidal. I couldn't get her to understand that it wasn't her fault and that she should call the cops on the shmuck, but she wouldn't listen ta' me."

"So what did you do?" Leo asked, enthralled by Raph's 'secret life.'

"Not as much as I would have liked ta' do. She wouldn't let me go and kill the bastard, and I loved her too much ta' go against her wishes. All I could do was just hold her, make her feel safe. But it was worth it when she finally fell asleep on my shoulder. God, she was beautiful... Anyway, we still keep in touch, and she's still goin' out with the jackass. 'Course, he's been on his best behavior ever since he had this weird dream where a green man threatened ta' castrate him if he ever hurt any girl , especially Rach again..." Raph had a wicked grin on his face as he finished his tale.

Leo looked at Raph with a newfound respect. "I had no idea..."

Raph smiled grimly. "And no one else knows, or will know, right? You're the first person I've told about Rach. Not even Casey knows."

Leo nodded and then coughed awkwardly. "So, what does that have to do with my situation?"

Raph looked his brother up and down for a moment. Then he said sadly, "I'm sorry ta' tell ya' like this bro, but April and Casey have been going out for two months now, and they don't look like they're gonna stop anytime soon."

Leo felt the bottom fall out his stomach and looked down. Raph looked morosely at his older brother.

"Sorry Bro."

Leo didn't respond, so Raph stood up and started to walk toward the entrance of the dojo, but stopped halfway there. "You probably don't wanna talk much right now, but I just wanna give ya' a few tips, okay? The best thing for ya' ta' do is to be there fer her when she needs it. Hold her when she cries, laugh with her when you're with her, and above all, be her friend. 'Cause if ya' loose a friendship 'cause ya' do something stupid, you'll regret it fer the rest of your life."

With that, Raph walked away, but was stopped by Leo's choked up voice just before he got out of the door.

"Hey, Raph?"

"Yeah, Leo?" There was silence from Leo's side of the dojo for a second. "What is it?"

"Do you know that spot that aches right here?" Leo put his hand over his upper chest.

Raph nodded. Leo looked up at him with glistening eyes.

"Does it ever go away?"

Raph studied his humbled elder brother for a moment, then answered.

"Not really. You just learn how to hide it better." Then Raph left the dojo to let Leo mourn in peace.