Quick note: My deepest apologies for the horribly long wait between chapters. Those of you who read Vicissitude know that I had a major computer crash in which I lost everything. All fics (and about 300 irreplaceable pics from England). But I'm trying to get everything back on track and I thank you for your patience. Please take this fic as an 'in-between' chappie and a sort of 'peace offering' to you all. As my life is starting to maybe get more stable, I hope my updates will become as frequent as they used to be.
Chapter 11 -
April's shoes were soaked.
So was the rest of her, really, but she paid it no mind as she rushed down the street through the pouring rain. Mike's call had bothered her, a lot, and she wanted to get down to the lair as soon as she could. Trying to keep the umbrella from completely falling to the ground, and grabbing her cell phone was tricky, but she managed it after a few harrowed minutes.
She punched in the number with her finger and grimaced as it rang, and she stopped at the street to let the cars go by.
Come on, Mikey. She muttered to herself as she waited, lightly bouncing on her feet. Come on...
"Hello?" She nearly dropped the umbrella when his voice came through the phone, finally. "Mike!" She fumbled with the phone. "Where are you?" She asked, listening carefully at his answer, and sighing softly in relief... He was close.
A few more blocks and she slowed, looking around carefully before ducking into the alleyway. "Mike?" She whispered.
"Boo." He said softly, from right beside her. She jumped, and almost laughed before she saw the look on his face. His tone was joking but his expression was less like the Mikey she knew and more like someone much more tired and weary than Mike ever should be.
He began walking and she fell into step beside him. "What's up?" She asked quietly. When he didn't answer, she frowned. They walked a bit further before she sighed heavily. "Is it that bad?"
He considered her question, chewing on his lip thoughtfully for a moment. "Yeah." He answered finally, never losing step. She sighed again. "Details?"
Mike looked back behind him, then ducked his head down a bit. "It's getting rough." He admitted. "Constant fights... they're really getting bad now. And Donnie... Donnie's getting..." He lowered his voice. "He's getting bad, April." She opened her mouth to comment, but he continued. "Like, emotionally. And Leo and Raph just fight... Nothing else. It's... tiring."
She put a hand on his arm. "We'll get through this, Mikey." She slipped her arm inside of his as they walked. "No matter what, we'll get through this."
The walked the rest of the way silently, arm in arm. When the finally reached the door, Mike took a deep breath, opening the door... and they walked, unknowingly, into chaos. Raph was at Don's door, which was shut, the doorknob in his hand, his face glowing slightly red.
"What's going on?" Mike asked, walking further into the room.
"Don locked us out." Leo stated simply, and Raph growled, jiggling the handle fiercely.
"He what?" April exclaimed, moving to the door.
"Let me try." Leo said, joining Raph and April at the door. April took Raph's arm, gently leading him and Mike to the kitchen.
"I want to know what just happened." She demanded softly. Mike looked to Raph, who was staring, as if through the wall, at where Don's room was.
Leo walked back to his brothers, shoulders slumping. "He won't let me in." He said quietly.
"No surprise there, considering how ya treated him." Raph said. Leo threw a glance his way and Mike sighed.
"Had to bring that up, eh, Raph?" Leo remarked, looking through the corner of his eyes at his brother. "Damn straight." Raph growled, and Leo let out a short laugh. "I think you look forward to it." He said. "Gotta make sure Leo knows when he messed up."
Mike grimaced. "Must we...?"
Neither Leo or Raph made any indication of hearing Mikey's exclamation; their attention was only on the other.
"You're just mad 'cause ya ain't used to anyone pointing out when yer bein' an asshole!" Raph spit out. Leo laughed again, which seemed to only infuriate Raph even more. "Look who's talking!"
"This really isn't..." Mike began, but then trailed off. "...helping."
"Mike's right." Raph said suddenly, and Mike almost cringed at being brought into the fight.
"Of course he is, Raph." Leo commented dryly. "Because he disagrees with me." Mike started at that. "I didn't..." He sputtered.
April looked over at them from her spot near the door. The tension in the room was palpable. Raph laughed harshly, and the whole room seemed to reach a hyper, fever pitch.
"You didn't fare much better, remember, Raph?" Leo hissed. "You spent all that time taking care of him and he didn't let you in, either, did he?" Both Raph and April's eyes widened at that. He opened his mouth to retort, but stopped when Mike pushed through them all.
"You want this door open?" He cried suddenly, stalking over to Don's door. "That'll solve everything, well here...!" He kicked out suddenly, making April jump and Leo rise from his chair slowly as he made contact with the closed door, pushing it inward and open. A wide-eyes Donatello looked out at them from his bed.
"Now it's open." Mike breathed out, his chest heaving with his upset and exertion. "So shut up, the both of you." He left the room, slamming his own door shut. April threw a glance at the remaining two turtles, then looked at Don's now open doorway. A shadow moved from within the room and Don's form slowly made it's way into view. "W-what happen-ned?"
April ran her arm over her forehead, trying to keep her perspiration at bay. It was getting hot in the lair and they weren't anywhere near done fixing the damage from earlier that day. It also didn't help to have someone hovering over her shoulder constantly.
"I c-can help." Don said for what felt like the millionth time that day, and April took a breath. "We've got it, Don." Leo said shortly before she could reply. He lifted the patched up door, carrying it to the doorway and setting it down. He looked down, leaning and squinting his eyes in an attempt to see something April couldn't, and Leo suddenly let out a frustrated sigh. "Frame's destroyed." He muttered softly, to himself, and walked out of the room. "I'll be back in a few." He called over his shoulder. April nodded, and began gathering the tools together, setting them in their makeshift tool box. "Wanna tell me what's wrong?" She said, not taking her eyes off her work except to glance Don's way briefly.
"I'mmm wr-wrong." He said quietly. She looked up at him. "What did you just say?"
He didn't answer, only shift uncomfortably. She stood, grabbing him by the arm and pulled him into his room. She sat him on the bed and stood in front of him, arms crossed. "You..." She began, leaning down to put her hands on his knees. "Are not a problem." She finished, and he looked down, suddenly interested in the bedsheets. She took a breath, and let it out slowly. "And you thinking that way has got to stop, Donnie. Your brothers hate to see it. I hate to see it." He looked up, meeting her gaze. She licked her lips, then stood up quickly. "Any problem you have, you're not alone. You have your family. You have me."
"You c-can't help m-me." He finally spoke, his voice a mere whisper.
"I can try." She responded.
"I don't w-want you to." He hissed suddenly, albeit softly. She blinked and frowned deeply. "Don..."
"I can't... I c-c-can't." He repeated. "You d-don't d-d-deserve... to be b-brought int-to this. I c-can't."
She thought for a moment, then looked him square in the eye. "Who said you have a choice?" He started at that, looking at her wide-eyed. She sat next to him, placing a hand on his arm. "I choose to be here, Don." She said softly. "I choose to be here with you." It was his turn to lick his lips, thinking. He moved forward towards her suddenly, slowly, and her eyes grew large. But he stopped as soon as he'd begun, pulling back and turning onto his side, away from her. She looked at him a moment, then stood, her face burning in... embarrassment? Angry? She wasn't sure, but she started for the door, pausing when he took a breath and spoke, so low she could barely hear him.
"It's too b-big."
"What?" She turned back.
He shifted on the bed, his back still to her. "M-my pr-pr-problem. It's too b-big." She waited for more, but none came.
"Only if you make it, Don. Only if you make it."