Summary: Having time to kill is a marked change for the family, but it's growing on Raphael. Rated for slight language.
A/N: Started as a commiserating tale for all fellow cat owners but turned into brotherly love, as everything with me tends to do. Featuring relaxed!Raph, angry!Don, cheery!Leo and smartass!Mikey. Wait. Rated for a bit of language, relatively harmless.
I don't own any of the following characters etc.
"No! Don't you dare!"
Raphael lifted an eyebrow lazily, not bothering to drag his gaze from the television. It wasn't unusual to hear strange noises coming from Donatello's work area, though having him reduced to shouting at his inventions was a rarity. He shrugged, eyes tracking a grainy car chase on the Cop movie he'd stumbled across in his channel surfing. It was hardly the mindless gore flick he'd been hoping for, but there was enough action to tide him over for the time being.
The news would be on soon, and he could start pinpointing problematic areas of New York, so as to nudge Leo in those directions when on training runs. Things had been quiet lately. Which, he reasoned reluctantly, was good news, but privately he was itching for something to do. Some heads to hunt.
"No! Stop it!"
He sighed, hoping his brother wasn't about to blow them all up. He let himself focus on the movie; watching a car careen off the highway and smash into the foundations of a bridge, and smirking at the predictable, heroic way in which the protagonist clawed his way up and out of the wreckage. With seconds to spare before the police arrived, of course. Real life didn't happen like that; he'd crashed enough things and been chased by enough people to realize that.
"I'm warning you…"
It was starting to sound as though there was another living thing in the lab, which worried Raph slightly, seeing as how Splinter was meditating in his quarters, Leo was training (as usual), and Mikey was under strict orders to tidy his room or face the consequences. He hadn't been following the copious amounts of projects Don had been working on lately, though he felt sure he would have remembered had his brother mentioned cloning one of them, or playing around with artificial intelligence and the like.
Still, he was determined to try and get through the rest of the Cop movie. The protagonist hadn't killed the pestering police chasers yet, which Raph could see was the obvious strategy. So alright, maybe not kill, but disarm at any rate. But the fool was just letting them tag along and get in his way, unaware they were ruining his attempts to rid the city of terrorists.
As they always did. Movies were all the same.
That caught his attention, and he lifted his head worriedly; staring as Klunk scrabbled around the corner of the abandoned subway car and bolted across the lair towards Mikey's room. Ah. One minor mystery solved.
Don followed after quickly; stomping out of the carriage with a rare show of fury on his generally peaceful face, clutching at his shoulder and sporting three long red scratches on his beak. Raph choked back a laugh, hiding his grin quickly when his brother turned his glare upon him.
"Don't even start," Don warned him, fuming quietly. "That cat just … just… destroyed the samples of sewer water I was testing. Two weeks of work. It managed to knock them into the chemicals in the test tube rack, got spooked by the smoke, and ripped a hole in me trying to escape."
"Takes after his owner," deadpanned Raph, trying to appear sympathetic.
"Mikey," muttered Don darkly, clenching a fist. "This is all his fault. If he'd feed the damn thing every morning like he was supposed to, it wouldn't come looking for breakfast in my lab."
"He thinks it eats cereal like the rest of us," noted Raphael in amusement.
"I'll show him," continued Don, eyes glinting. "I'm going to move the litter box under his bed. Or better yet, use one of his comics to line the tray."
Raph couldn't help the gleeful smile that appeared on his face at that; enjoying this rare and unusual side of his brother. All to soon the worst of it seemed to pass though, as Don heaved a heavy breath and glanced back towards his lab.
"Come on, bro, watch this stupid movie with me. Worry about all that later. You'll end up killing us all if you start handling chemicals and whatnot in this mood," grinned Raph, patting the empty space at his side. Don sighed and padded over, slumping down and gingerly loosening his grip on his shoulder; peering at his hand and inspecting it for blood.
"Why are you testing the sewer water anyway," asked Raph, curious. "Does it really matter what kinda filth is in it?"
Don shook his head, watching the protagonist take down a wave of ninja-esque men with a spray of bullets.
"No, not really, it's all harmful," he said wearily, making a face of distaste as unnecessary blood splattered upon the pavement at the man's feet. "It's just lately we've been finding more… deceased rats out in the pipes, and I was hoping to find the cause in the water. If there's something else in it that's killing them off, we need to be extra careful. Especially since we all tend to have scratches and cuts, a little infection could prove really dangerous."
He glanced at his hand again, rubbing at his shoulder irritably.
"I don't even wanna think about what Klunk's been doing with his claws lately," he muttered. Raph smirked and leant over, inspecting the red scratches on his shoulder with his own eyes.
"No blood. Well a little. But I think you'll live."
"No sweat. So what will you do if there is something bad in the water?"
"Well, I guess there's not a whole lot I can do," admitted Don, sagging back in his seat and looking very much as though he could easily fall asleep there and then. Raph made a mental note to try and probe into how much sleep his brother had been getting. Later. "I mean, depending on what it is. If it's a kind of poison or chemical waste I can go look through the sewers and see if there's a leak or a dump off point down here. And if I can determine exactly what it is, I can try and find a… well, not exactly a cure, but something to help if one of us ingests it or has an open wound that gets infected."
"And if it's Mikey that gets sick?"
Don tiled his head and smiled at him, giggling faintly.
"I'm mad, but I don't want him to die. Not yet," he assured. "Maybe I could just delay helping him for a little while. Prolong the pain."
"That's benevolent of you."
"I know. I'm just that good of a brother." He paused, considering. "If Klunk gets sick, I don't know."
"Donatello the Softie is willing to let another living thing suffer? What has the world come to?"
"Donatello the Softie is frustrated and a wee bit tired," smirked Don. "And also wounded, you're a witness. Whatever he may or may not do in his current state can not be held against him."
"Well, here's an idea. You could- and I'm really just throwing this out there; You could go get some sleep," intoned Raph, rolling his eyes good naturedly. The gentle probe could wait for some other time. "We'll even promise to stay out of the sewer water 'til you wake up, how 'bout that?"
Don rolled his eyes back in return.
"It's not that. I can't sleep. I don't know, it's… when I have stuff on my mind, I can't sleep. I just have to work it out."
Raphael looked at him.
"You have stuff on your mind all the time."
"I know," said Don, smirking weakly. "I get sleep, really. Just, right now, I'm not going to be able to until I finish a few things in the lab."
And Klunk had just put a spanner in the works. Stupid cat.
"Well I'm glad I'm not a brainiac like you," he mused. "Personally I like sleep when I like it. Maybe you need to be more aggressive. You know? Don't let your brain boss you around." He grinned. "Clarity and all that comes naturally to me."
"You're plenty smart. But I don't know about bossing my brain around, I'm too tired to try and figure that one out."
"Want me to help?" asked Raph, lifting a fist meaningfully. Don laughed, shaking his head, and he let it fall back down, smiling.
"No, thanks, I'm good. I… Raph, really, what on earth are we watching?"
Raphael considered the television. The protagonist was now dismantling his ruined car and pulling impromptu weapons out of the bonnet. A metallic cylinder here, a part of the still sizzling engine there. He shook his head.
"I don't know; it was this, Breakfast at Tiffany's, or Highlights of the Press Meeting. And this has blood in it. And no breaking into song. And no politicians."
"Well, there is a fairly impressive collection of dvd's over there," reminded Don, pointing vaguely, but Raph noted that most of his attention was still focused on the screen; wide eyed in disbelief as the man started deflecting blows with a thin metal pipe; seemingly disinterested in the burning of his own flesh. "That thing will get melded to his skin if he doesn't drop it."
Raph curled his lip in distaste, glancing at his brother.
"You're ruining the fantasy, Donnie."
"Sorry, but it's just common-"
"Don, I'm starting to remember why you were banned from Mikey's last movie marathon."
Don grinned sheepishly at him, shrugging.
"Okay, maybe I ruined that a bit. You guys weren't really enjoying those alien gore flicks, were you?"
"I was until you started on about the smell of rotting skin and organs and all the rest."
"Not to mention the colour of real alien blood," came Leo's voice. Raph glanced around, finding his elder brother emerging from the hall; fresh from the shower after a long morning of training. Leo smiled. "I didn't know they had to have a specific blood colour until we sat through 'Attack from Beyond the Milky Way'."
"Those aliens came from a planet with a sub-zero temperature," protested Don, smiling despite himself. "It's impossible for them to have-"
"Okay, okay, you've proven your point," cut in Leo teasingly, holding up a hand. "No more blood, please. What are we watching, boys?"
"Blood," smirked Raph. "Some crime fighting Hollywood thing. It's a bit reminiscent of that comic book Mikey wrote and made us all read that time."
"As in, the writer of this obviously felt that reality was insignificant while he was making sacrifices for the film," added Donatello.
"I see. Sounds riveting."
Leo rested his elbows on the back of the couch, leaning over Don's shoulders casually. He glanced down, curiosity flashing through his expression briefly.
"Nice scratches, Donnie."
Raphael grinned at Don's sigh and tilted his head up, catching Leo's gaze.
"Klunk is in the bad books."
Leo smiled, reaching down to pluck up Don's bandana tails, fiddling with them gently.
"With you too, Don? He ripped one of my books to pieces the other day. I suppose it was my own fault for leaving it open, on my desk, in my own room."
"Yeah. Just like it was my fault for keeping chemicals on my desk in my own lab."
"Chemicals? You didn't kill him, did you Donnie?"
Don chuckled softly, shaking his head.
"No. Not yet." He inclined his head back, peering up at his brother. "Not yet, but if he goes missing, you'll be on my side, won't you Leo?"
"You're starting to sound like Mikey," said Leo fondly. "Don't murder the cat."
"Have one of you guys been scaring Klunk?"
They looked up as one to see Mikey standing in the hall; frowning, with aforementioned cat nestled in his arms.
"I've told you to leave him alone. I know when you've done something too, 'coz he runs straight to me and tries to claw my leg off."
Don glared at him, much to the amusement of Raphael and, he noticed, Leonardo.
"About time he clawed his owner instead of one of us," he growled. "That stupid cat just destroyed about two weeks of work in my lab, and sliced into me with those scythes of his trying to get away."
Mikey hastened to cover Klunk's ears.
"Don, please! Don't call him stupid, he's sensitive."
Raphael could feel Don vibrating angrily at his side and had to fight back the sincere, overwhelming urge to laugh.
"It's not his fault anyway, he just doesn't understand it's dangerous."
"Maybe you should try explaining it to him then," ground out Don slowly. "Because if he comes in there again, I'm going to use him as a test specimen."
Mikey let his jaw drop exaggeratedly, cradling the cat to his plastron tightly.
"Don't worry Klunk, I won't let my mean brother hurt you," he soothed, singsong. "He just wants to be your friend, Donnie."
"No, he wants to make a general nuisance of himself, Mikey."
"Like owner, like pet," put in Raph. Leo grinned discreetly. Mikey glared.
"If you would just get up a bit earlier and make sure he had food every morning, he wouldn't come pestering us, or try to find food in my experiments, or Leo's books."
"Oh, so this is my fault," intoned Mikey loudly. Pointed silence met that pronouncement, and he scowled. "Okay, you guys, I am so not the only turtle, or rat for that matter, capable of pouring cat food into a bowl."
"It's your cat, Mikey."
"So? If he's bothering you, just feed him! It's not really that difficult; I bet a genius like you could figure it out easily enough."
"It's the principal of the matter," said Don stubbornly, crossing his arms. "You insisted on keeping him, so you should take responsibility for him."
"He's right you know, Mikey," affirmed Leo gently, trying to keep the peace to an extent.
"I don't mind feeding him, but it's not like I can control him," objected Mikey. "He does what he wants. That'd be like trying to get Raph not to lose his temper all the time."
Raph just lifted an eyebrow, and Mikey desisted.
"Look, I can't help it if he has a thing for destroying your stuff, Don. It's not like I tell him to do it. I'll prove it."
"I'll just set him down upstairs, and open the doors, and we'll see which room he goes into first. Possibly the cool looking one with all the bright lights and weird chemical snacks?"
Don's eyes widened exponentially.
"You wouldn't," he began, sounding uncertain. Mikey smiled and took a decisive step towards the stairs.
Don was on his feet in an instant, tugging his bandana tails out of a startled Leo's hands, and Mikey bolted; letting Klunk splinter off in a different direction to fend for himself. That didn't deter Donatello though, and he was off after Mikey like a shot; both their shouting voices carrying and reverberating around the lair belligerently.
Raph and Leo watched them vanish upstairs, before glancing back and sharing an amused smirk.
"Think there's a chance he'll tire himself out and fall asleep now?" asked Leo, part of his attention honed in on the fading sounds of the argument. Raph grinned.
"If they're anything like us, no. Fightin' with you gives me energy."
Leo laughed; another rarity. Raphael, oddly inclined, patted the seat at his side, turning back to the television.
"Ignore them; if Donnie's not asleep by the time the news is on, we'll go get him and hogtie him to his bed. Right now, this guy's about to kill the prime leader of those Ninja wannabe's."
Leonardo glanced doubtfully at the television, crossing around behind the couch and dropping down lightly at his brother's side.
"There's too many of them, and all he has is that gun. Once he's out of bullets what is he going to do?"
"Ah yes, but, my brother, he's the hero. He can learn Ninjitsu simply by being surrounded by them. He'll win, mark my words."
"That's television," shrugged Raph, glancing at him. Leo considered that for a moment before smiling, nodding, and turning his attention back to the film; surrendering to the fantastical whims of the director. Raph watched him a moment longer, mildly surprised at the relaxed, calm look on his brother's face, and the way that it expressed itself throughout his whole body; loose limbs, as opposed to tense and tight.
He turned back to the movie, humming quietly in the back of his throat.
Downtime was weird. But it was growing on him.