Tired. That was the adjective he wanted. Sighing, Don rubbed his temple as some woman bitched at him about shoddy manufacturing. Like it was his fault laptops weren't meant to be drop kicked down three flights of stairs.
The woman's problem might almost have been funny, if Don had the motivation to laugh anymore. Since Leo left, though, laughter had become rare in the lair. It was odd, because Leo wasn't really a "fun" turtle, but it seemed like he took all the fun with him when he left.
"Look," he told the woman, his patience finally wearing out. "You'll have to take the laptop to the manufacturer. I can't help you, I'm technological support, not mechanical. I'm sorry." The woman wasn't going to give up so easily, but Don had had enough, and just hung up on her with a curt "Good evening." It was two in the morning, and he was tired.
Biting back a yawn, Don shut down his phone line for the night, wishing it was the last time and knowing perfectly well he'd be back the next afternoon. He may have hated listening to people complain, but it was better than the silence that hung over the lair most days. Fixing people's tech problems was easier than facing the fact that his family was falling apart and he couldn't do anything to stop it.
He wasn't a leader. They needed Leo, but it seemed Leo wasn't coming back. So Don was left trying to hold the family together, knowing it was only a matter of time until something happened to break them apart completely. He knew Splinter was counting on him to keep them together, but he didn't have the faintest idea how. He wasn't Leo.
This wasn't the first time Don had been measured by Leo's standards and been found wanting, but it was the first time someone else had done the measuring. It was also the first time he knew for certain he would fail to accomplish a task given to him.
It's no wonder his head hadn't stopped hurting since Leo left. He sighed quietly and stood up, stretching and wincing as all the joints in his neck and shoulders popped loudly. Spending all day at a desk didn't do anything for the body, that's for sure. Navigating through the wires hanging everywhere, Don headed to his room, hoping he'd finally sleep tonight. The knots in his neck and general tenseness everywhere else didn't bode well, but maybe exhaustion would finally win out tonight.
Keep telling yourself that, Donnie, he thought to himself, stifling a noise that couldn't decide if it was a laugh or a sob. After three days with nothing but catnaps, false hope almost looked real. Being tired does that to a turtle, he supposed. Tired and stressed out of his mind.
Don almost jumped out of his shell at the soft inquiry behind him. What was Mikey doing awake this late? He turned to look at his little brother, who looked almost as exhausted and drained as he felt. Rage coursed through him for a second, knowing that Leo did this to them. To Mikey. The anger left him almost as soon as it came, leaving him tired again.
"Mikey," he whispered, not wanting to wake Splinter. "What are you doing up?"
The younger turtle stared into Don's eyes, searching for something. "You haven't been sleeping, have you?" He asked quietly, stepping closer to his brother. Mikey brought his hand up to cup Don's cheek, still staring into his eyes. Don leaned into the caress, too tired to wonder why Mikey was being so intimate.
"You look like hell, bro," Mikey said frankly. It was a statement of fact, not one of Mikey's jokes or quips. Just a bland statement, so unlike his youngest brother. The old Mikey would have had a softening statement to back that up, or a joke to make it vanish. This Mike, like everyone in the family, just seemed too tired to bother.
"We all look like hell, Mikey," Don murmured, knowing Mikey understood. He could see in the orange-framed eyes that Mikey saw the family falling apart, too, and knew as well as he did they were powerless to stop it. Don's eyes closed and he bowed his head, not wanting to see that knowledge in his brother's face. Not when there was nothing he could do to fix it.
Mike's hands on his shoulders, tugging him away made him open his eyes again. The younger turtle must have seen the question in his eyes, because a soft smile covered his face and made a strange feeling spread in Don's chest.
"Come on, Don. Come to my room, and I'll give you a neck rub. You need to relax enough to sleep. Killing yourself with stress won't bring Leo back." Don shuddered slightly at that, and Mikey pulled a little more insistently. Having nothing better to do than lie in his bed and stare at walls until morning, Don followed Mikey to his bedroom, letting the younger turtle guide him through the mess safely to the bed.
He was a little surprised when Mike pushed him to lie on his stomach, but did as he was directed. When Mikey straddled his hips and bent over his shell to reach his neck, Don's breath hitched in his lungs. He didn't quite know what he was feeling, but he had a notion he'd have to analyze it carefully once he'd gotten some sleep. Right now though, he was too tired. He didn't try to hold back his moan when Mikey started rubbing his neck and shoulders, unworking the knots that had been there for weeks. His younger brother even massaged his head, relieving the headache a little and making him even sleepier. He sighed contentedly, imagining he might get some sleep after all. As long he didn't run into Raph on the way to his room, or look at Leo's dusty door…
"Hey," Mikey whispered, pressing on the base of his neck with broad thumbs. "Whatever you're thinking about, stop. It's making you tense, and you don't need it now." Don heaved a deep sigh, trying to relax again.
"I was just hoping Raph wouldn't come back while I was going back to my room," he whispered back, grunting as Mikey hit a particularly bad knot. The other turtle was silent for a while as he massaged out all the kinks not under Don's shell. Tingling spread down Don's body as tight muscles finally relaxed, making him fight to hold back his moans. Just as he was starting to feel more like a noodle than a turtle, Mike finally replied.
"Who says you have to go back?"
"Huh?" Don asked brilliantly. He'd forgotten they were having a conversation. He didn't think he could really be held responsible for forgetting, given the circumstances.
He gasped when Mikey leaned further forward, pressing his plastron to Don's shell and bringing his mouth right next to his purple covered ear.
"I said," he whispered, breath ghosting over Don's cheek and making him shiver. "Who says you have to go back to your room?"
Don opened his mouth to protest before he realized he didn't have anything to say. "I… Mikey, your bed is small."
There was a quiet chuckle behind him as Mikey's weight shifted to the side. Don let himself be maneuvered until he was face to face with Mike, and found himself staring into the younger turtle's eyes. There was hope and… something that looking like longing in those eyes, over the sadness that hadn't left since Leo's return date had passed.
"We've slept together in smaller spaces," Mike whispered. "Come on, Donnie, stay here."
It was definitely longing in Mikey's eyes. Another thing he'd have to analyze, after he slept. Until then, he would settle for talk. "Why?"
Mikey shifted on the bed, curling in on himself as much as possible in the tiny space available. His eyes turned towards the sheets. "I worry about you, Don," he murmured, picking at the bedspread.
Don's eyeridges furrowed. "Mikey?" He whispered.
The younger turtle's eyes flew up to meet his again. There was pain in those eyes, now. "I haven't been sleeping either, Donnie… Please stay? I don't want to be alone…" Mikey's voice sounded so small, so lost it broke Don's heart all over again to hear. Mikey, broken and small, begging not to be alone. Another thing that never would have happened if Leo had stayed and the family were still whole.
This, though, was something Don could fix. He managed a tiny smile, nodding slightly. "I'll stay."
The smile on Mikey's face was warm, and almost enough to wipe the stress and worry and anger away completely. As he wrapped his arms around Mikey and rested his head on his brother's shoulder, he felt himself finally relax enough for sleep to come.
Curled up with Mikey in the tiny single bed, Don felt relaxed and pleasantly tired… and loved. It was enough to finally let him sleep, the sounds of Mikey's soft snores lulling him into peaceful dreams.