Author's Note - Some someone says to me, "Lucy," they says, "not enough people write Raph/Don slash."
So I wrote this. It's pre-slash - actually you'd have to look pretty hard to even see the pre. But this story's gonna have a couple of sequels, and they will definitely be journeying into the slash territory.
Don't ask me why I'm writing more frigging stories before I finish my other ones. I blame you people and your good ideas.
"What do you mean, stuck?" Oh, but Raph wasn't in the mood for this shit.
Middle of the night, his arm was screaming at him, the stupid punk who'd sent him flying so hard into the wall had gotten away, of all things. And now he was trapped.
Don turned unsteadily back to him. "I mean, I've looked at the hole, I've looked at the door, and there's no way we're getting out of here."
Raph scowled. Fucking punks teenage bastard shitheads had led them on a hell of a chase and into this frigging building, and the door locked behind them and the kids skittered out a thin slip of a space - broken window, but low to the ground and round and small and hell if he knew what it was for. But the skinny little shits got through it, and massive turtle shells wouldn't fit, and.
He turned and let his fist express his thoughts, slamming hard into the heavy steel of the door.
"Where the hell are Leo and Mike? There some reason they were dragging ass behind us? They'd better get here fast."
"I think Mike got hurt."
Raph rolled his eyes. Of course Mike got hurt. Mike was the king of opening his big mouth and yakking away when he should've been fighting, and his ass got cut more than coupons.
"Leo probably stayed behind to…"
"To what?" Raph looked back.
Don had a hand on the wall, balancing himself.
Raph frowned. "To what, brainiac?"
Don's hand went to his head.
And he'd been moving kinda unevenly after Raph.
He went to Don's side, looking him up and down. "Hey. What's going on? You hurt?" He didn't see any injuries, but Don was a little sweaty. A little glassy-eyed. Hell.
"I think I…just need to sit--" Don wavered.
Raph grabbed him, catching him around the middle. "Whoa. Hey, genius, talk to me here."
"My head." Don leaned on him, heavily. "I got thrown backwards, I hit...hit my head."
"Shit." Raph looked around, but the small space was dark, bare. Cement and piles of soggy debris that had to be some really old, neglected trash. "Uh. Okay. Let's sit you down."
"Good idea." Don thudded back against the wall when Raph's grip eased, and he slid to the floor. "Ow."
"Yeah? Okay, you're the one we'd ask about this kinda thing, so you tell me what's wrong."
"Maybe…concussion. I dunno."
Slurring his words. Not a good sign for someone who spoke as precisely as Don. Glassy, pale. His hands were cool.
And he was stuck in a big bare room with the one guy least equipped to help him.
Raph crouched beside him. Because he didn't know what else to do, he slid his hand over Don's head. "You're kinda clammy."
"Feel warm." Don looked up at him. His eyes caught what little light streamed in, and reflected it with eerie brightness.
"Is that a good sign?"
Raph dropped his hand.
Don smiled weakly. "'When sorrows come they come not single spies but in battalions.'"
Raph pushed to his feet and moved to the door. "The hell's that supposed to mean?"
"It's from Hamlet." Don's voice seemed thin. "Means…you know."
"If I knew I wouldn't ask." Raph scowled, seizing the door handle and pushing. Not even a shiver. Frigging door must've been closed with cement. He frowned, rolling his shoulder in preparation. Arm stung like a bitch from earlier, but he was no wimp.
"Quiet, brain. I'm about to hurt myself." He took a couple of steps back, and with his shoulder leading he charged and jumped, ramming into the door with all his weight.
After a while Don's face appeared over him, bringing all the swirling colors together. "Raph?"
He groaned and shut his eyes and lay back. "Door open?"
"Didn't even move."
"Figures." He sat up, and touched his arm experimentally. Fire slammed into him, nearly knocking him back again, and he ground his teeth to keep from crying out. "Okay…ow."
"Sounded like it." Don crawled the couple of feet to the door and dropped, sitting against it heavily. His hands went to his head.
Raph tried his best to keep his arm still as he got to his knees. "You okay?"
"Fantastic," Don mumbled into his hands. "You?"
"My life's a party." Raph stumbled his way to the wall beside the door and dropped heavy to the ground beside his brother.
Don's head fell back, hands clutching tightly to his temples. His eyes were shut.
Raph frowned at him. Concussion. What was the protocol for concussions? "Uh. Don't…you know."
Don's head tilted his way.
"Um. Fall asleep?" Raph thought that sounded right. "Or die. Or anything."
Don smiled faintly, his eyes staying stubbornly closed. "Staying awake is a good idea. Keep me awake. I don't think…" His voice trailed off, and his eyes squeezed tighter together.
Raph watched him, uncertain. He would've gotten up to try the door again - no use having one good arm when he could have no good arms - but Don was sitting against it and didn't look ready to move.
He was no good in these kinds of situations. He wasn't cut out for the medic job, or the quiet compassion thing his brothers could swing. He was meant to be a battering ram to get doors open.
Alright, think. He sat back, careful to keep his arm still. Battering ram didn't work, so what was next?
"Don't sleep. Open your eyes, bro."
Don drew a breath and tried it, but shut them almost at once. "Bright in here."
Raph looked around the dark room. "Sure. But you gotta stay awake, right?"
"Right." Don drew in a breath, teeth gritting.
Raph wasn't used to seeing Don in pain. He wasn't sure what to do. With Mike it was a no-brainer to just baby him until he felt better. Leo liked to suffer stoicly, so Raph usually ignored him.
Don? He wasn't sure what the best reaction would be. Funny. Of all his brothers he probably knew Don the least. That was a strange thing to realize.
He leaned in, reaching his good hand out to touch Don's head. Still cool. "Hey. Tell me about that thing."
"Mmm?" Don blinked his eyes at Raph, looking at him through slitted lids. "The thing with the stuff? Or the thing with the people and the place?"
Raph grinned, swatting his arm as he dropped his hand. "Smart ass. No, tell me about that thing with the sorrows and Hamlet."
Don's brow furrowed, but cleared a moment later. "'When sorrows come…'"
"Right. Tell your idiot brother what it means."
"Not an idiot, Raph." Don drew in a breath, slumping against the door. "It just means when bad things happen they tend to pile on top of each other."
"Huh." That was actually true, at least in Raph's experience. "When sorrows come…what is it?"
"'When sorrows come they come not single spies but in battalions.' It's the king who says it. Bad guy."
"Mmm. So what's he say about good things?"
Don hesitated. "Dunno. Hamlet's tragedy, so prob'ly nothing."
Still slurring. Raph looked around for any sign of what he should be doing, but short of transporting his spirit out of the room and hunting down Leo and Mike, he had no idea. And as lousy as he was at meditation the transported spirit thing wasn't even a little bit realistic.
"No more quoting tragedies, Donnie." Raph turned back to his brother. "Where do you pick this stuff up, anyway? Quoting Hamlet, whoever the hell he is."
"You don't know…" One eye pried open and Don looked out at him. "How can you not know Hamlet?"
Mmm, there was energy in that question. Raph figured Hamlet must be a good subject. "Uh, I dunno. You never introduced us."
"He's not a person, Raph."
"I know that." Raph's words came out edged, but he took a breath and reeled that in. No need to bury Don in his own issues. "I was kidding. It's a book or something."
"A play. Shakespeare."
"Oh, Lord." Raph grinned. "Shakespeare."
"The man was a genius, Raph."
He leaned back against the wall and sighed. "Well. Takes one to know one, I guess, and I ain't one."
"Stop it." Don drew in a breath, his eyes shutting again. "You don't have to be a genius to like Shakespeare. Hamlet…it's about a king. Kills his brother, marries the widow. Dead guy's son comes back to kill him."
"Huh. So that fancy talk's just covering us an old soap opera."
Don laughed faintly. "I suppose. There's suicide and murder and people sleeping with people. A lot of gossip and love notes and insanity."
"Sounds like whatever it is Splinter's glued to for hours every day."
"Maybe. But…it's deeper."
Raph glanced at Don.
His arms had dropped to his sides and his head tilted back, and he might've been asleep if not for the talking.
Raph sat up and leaned in to him. "Okay, lazy. Sit up straight and give me the lesson right."
Don shook his head. "I'm tired, Raph."
Shit. "Okay, yeah. But it ain't bedtime yet. Pay attention." He reached out, slapped Don's hand. "Hey. That 'to be or not to be' thing's Hamlet, isn't it?"
Don nodded. His head came off the door, though his eyes stayed closed. "He's debating whether or not to kill himself and end the misery."
"So what's he do?"
Don hesitated, thinking.
Raph reached out, touched his head lightly. Cold. He scooted in closer to his brother. The room was drafty and New York was shit for weather as it was, and maybe he shouldn't let Don get too cold.
"He decides to stay alive, because he knows how bad his life is, but no one knows how bad death might be."
"It's one of the most famous passages in literature."
"So? Dude's still a wimp." Raph grimaced and sat back. "But it kinda makes sense. Better the devil you know, or whatever."
"Than the devil you don't. Exactly." Don smiled, but it was pained.
"That Shakespeare too?"
He was quiet for a moment. "No. Just an old idiom."
Raph blinked. "Okay, what's an idiom?"
"No, I…" Raph shrugged. "I mean, it's like a saying or whatever, right?"
Don opened his eyes for a moment, studying him, then let them close. "You really don't know?"
Raph let out a breath. "See, this is why I don't…"
"Never mind." Raph glowered out at the darkness. Beside him he felt a faint tremor, and his anger seemed to ebb instantly. "You cold?"
"A little." Don leaned against him.
Raph hesitated, but curled his good arm uncertainly around Don. Body heat was better than nothing. "What's gonna happen here, Donnie?"
"You're kinda scaring me."
Don nodded against his plastron. "Might fall asleep. Might vomit, or forget things."
Rap swallowed and curled his arm tighter around Don. It struck him sitting there that he knew Don as the brain, the computer, and not much else. He knew Don had a wicked sense of humor when he chose to let it out, but other than that…
Don hung around Mikey a lot, since Raph and Leo were always fighting and driving them out of rooms. Don and Leo talked science and philosophy and other crap Raph wasn't smart enough to get. Raph and Don? What did they have?
Not enough, anyway.
"'We defy augury,'" Don said suddenly, soft against his chest.
Raph swallowed and looked down at the top of his head. "That another of Hamlet's?"
"Another idiom?" he asked with a sharp edge.
"Don't Raph me. I'm trying, here, okay? It's not my fault I can't understand half the things you say." He knew it was worry making him sharp, but hell if he could control the anger.
He hated it when Leo got all condescending and leaderish, and…hell. He hated it when Don spoke, because it made him realize how dumb he was.
"You're not stupid." Don spoke slowly, making Raph jump. Had he been talking out loud? "I don't think…if that's what you mean."
Not talking out loud. Just dealing with an overly perceptive brother.
Raph frowned. He was a walking bicep and he knew it. It was his role with his brothers, to be the strong one. The one that didn't think, that just jumped into action. Still, sometimes he did get a little sensitive to the idea that there was all this stuff in the world that his brother could talk about that he couldn't.
Don's head dropped against his chest, and Raph sat up instantly, forgetting his self-consciousness. "Okay, no sleeping. I'm not a big green pillow, bro."
"Hmm?" Don sat up a little, but groaned and dropped right back where he'd been. "Oh, man. My head…what happened?"
Raph swallowed, worried again just like that. "You banged it. Nothing big. Just keep talking, Don."
"You were telling me what, uh…what an idiom is?"
Don squinted up at him, confused. "I was?"
"Uh. Idiom…it's a saying."
Raph grinned to himself, tight and forced. "Wasn't when that was my guess."
"It's…hang on." He paused, hand going to his head. "Uh. It's a saying that doesn't make sense literally. It has to be understood in the…God, my head hurts."
"I know." Raph brought his hand up and lay it awkwardly on Don's forehead. "In the what?"
"In the…uh…the context of the society that created it."
Don's hand found his arm, squeezing. "Raph, my head hurts."
"I know, I know. But this is important. You're teaching me something here."
"Okay…" Raph kept his eyes on Don, watching every shift of his head and movement of his eyelids. "So, like…if I said that Leo and I buried the hatchet the other day…"
"Miracle," Don murmured.
Raph snorted. "Yeah, it'd take one. But that right there, bury the hatchet. That's an idiom? Cause the words all make sense but the meaning isn't really literal, it's…what's the word? Figural? Figurative?"
Don smiled against his plastron. "Perfect example."
Raph grinned, letting himself feel a little bit proud through the worry.
Don looked up suddenly, trying to sit up but groaning and falling back. "Raph? What happened?"
Raph swallowed. "You hit your head, Donnie. It's okay."
"Wait. I did?" Don looked around gingerly. "Where are we?"
"We're…" Raph laughed faintly. "I got no idea. Some little warehouse off fifth. Kinda trapped."
"Oh." Don blinked at him with bleary eyes. "Are you teaching me about idioms or did I dream that?"
Raph laughed. He slid his hand to Don's neck and pulled him back in against him. "Take it easy, brain. I'm not saying anything you don't already know."
"My head hurts."
"Yeah." Shit. This was taking too long. Raph hugged Don to him and looked out at the darkness, hoping like hell some miracle would bring Leo and Donnie to where they were trapped. "'We defy augury.'"
"Mmm?" Don sounded like he was smiling. "Raph, are you quoting Hamlet?"
"Of course. I'm smart."
"I know." Don curled into him, burying his face away from the faint light in the room. "That line always reminds me of you," he said slowly.
"Really?" Raph blinked, wishing he knew what the hell it meant.
Don nodded, just a brush of motion against him. "Doesn't matter how…how often we warn you about…about things. Or Leo tells you to…be careful, or…God, what did I do?"
"It's okay, Donnie. Just a headache." Raph found himself smoothing his hand up and down Don's arm. Petting almost. Trying to be comforting.
"What was I…oh. Doesn't matter how often we warn you, you go out and…and make your own fate. Defy…augury." Don's voice got softer with every word.
Raph swallowed and watched the top of his head. "Is that what that means?"
Don made a muffled sound in his throat that sounded like agreement. "Wish I was strong enough…"
"Hey. You're plenty strong." Raph drew in a breath, and though the motion made his arm grind and scream and catch fire, he managed to get his other hand up to lay across the back of Don's neck, gentle. "You know, sometimes I wish I was smart like you."
Don pulled back, opening his eyes for a few seconds to meet Raph's troubled gaze. He smiled, and it was such a sweet expression on his pained face that Raph was struck by it. "You're smart. You just…just have to be taught things."
"Yeah, right. A few college courses and I'll be right up there with you."
Don dropped back against his chest. "Bet you never forget what an idiom is."
"Stay awake, Donnie." Raph's voice was shaking, and he cleared his throat gruffly. "Please, you gotta stay awake."
Raph shut his eyes and dropped his head back against the wall. "Nothing. We're just taking a breather here."
"Oh. Head kinda hurts."
"Yeah? Don't worry." He looked out at the room stretching beyond them. "We'll get back to the lair in a few minutes. Get you some aspirin or tea or whatever."
"Tha'd be good." Don settled against him with a low, almost comfortable sound. "Where's…"
"They're coming. They just have to catch up."
"Mmm. We should talk, Raph."
"Yeah? About what?"
"No, just…" Don winced, a shiver sliding down him. "…just, we never talk."
"I know." Raph felt heavy, and fear was warming his gut in the bad way. But he kept his voice low. "We will. I promise. When we get out of here, you can teach me more, and I'll…uh. I'll try to be interesting in some way in return."
Don giggled faintly, slurry and not at all like him. "You're inter…interesting. Different."
"That's for sure."
"Wish…" Don talked slowly, dreamily. "Wish you liked me more."
"What?" Raph stared down at him, surprised. Don thought he didn't like him? Was that what came of avoiding his brother because he didn't want Don to realize how thick-headed and dumb he was?
Don's head slumped, and with a small smile on his face he went limp.
"Oh, hell no." Raph moved his hands to Don's shoulders, ignoring the jarring wrench in his hurt shoulder. "Don? Don, wake up. Come on, bro. We gotta talk about this."
Don lolled. He didn't stir.
"Donnie? Shit! Shit, shit. Come on, Don, we can--"
"Raph? Is that you?"
Raph heard Leo's voice, distant and muffled. It just made him shake harder. "I refuse to be in one of those melodramatic little scenes where someone drops dead just when the rescue team gets there. You open your damned eyes, Donnie!"
Don's brow furrowed, then smoothed.
Not dead. Not dead, which was all that mattered.
Raph raised his good hand and banged on the door. "Leo! Mike! Get us the hell out of here right fucking now!"
"Raph?" Sounds of motion, faint but close. "Jeez, how did you get bolted into--"
"Don's hurt, Mikey."
They didn't question anymore.
Raph looked down again, and Don's eyes were open. Bright and glazed, but open. Raph grinned and pulled him in and hugged. "That's right, Donnie."
Raph laughed. "We're defying augury, bro. That's all."
Don didn't question it. He nodded, curled into Raph, and they waited for the door to open.