Title: An Act of Solecism
Author: Stormy1x2 (travelingstorm)
Rating: PG13 (language)
Word Count (fic portion): 2686
Notes: Done for LJ's ff100 challenge. Prompt #60: Drink. Kinda like a companion piece to The Highest Desideratum.
Summary: Raph's come to a startling realization, and is not handling it very well. Casey helps. Okay. Casey tries. Also, they are Corona fans. I blame this on the fact that I re-watched The Fast and the Furious again.
His fist tightened around the neck of the bottle he'd pilfered from Casey's fridge. There was fucking awful smell coming from what used to be a perfectly decent crisper and the light was burned out, but he wasn't a ninja for nothing and it was easy to feel his way around the leftover Chinese cartons for the familiar touch of yet another Corona.
He'd kinda lost track of how many he'd had. If he could pull the few remaining brain cells he had left together, all he had to do was count the dead soldiers littering the coffee table and the floor, but it didn't matter how many there were. If he was still able to string two thoughts together, then obviously he hadn't had enough.
Vaguely, he wondered what time it was. Late, was all he knew. Reeeeeally late. Casey'd probably be back any second now and Raph figured it'd probably be in his best interest to make himself scarce but his body was too numb, too heavy.
"I thought I smelled something funky."
Raph lifted his head, squinting blearily at the open window. Casey had slid inside and was perched on the ledge, one foot braced on beat up speaker from a stereo system that had stopped working during their last joint beer splurge a few weeks ago. Who'da thought those speakers could survive getting thrown out of third story window, bouncing off asphalt – but couldn't handle getting dunked in vodka? "Fuck you."
"No, fuck you, Raph," Casey retorted mildly. "This is my apartment." He scowled at the empty beer bottles. "You drank all my beer. Again. Do you not yet understand what a serious crime this is?"
Raph blinked at him belligerently, and then belched, smacking one hand over his mouth as he felt the bile rise in the back of his throat.
"Oh, hell no – I don't get paid enough for this."
Nausea was gaining its grip on Raph's system, and the way Casey was suddenly propelling him across the floor to the dinky little cupboard that he had the nerve to call a bathroom was not helping matters. Casey dropped him on the cold tile and Raph barely had the presence of mind to lift the toilet lid before the beer made a reappearance. He heard Casey's footsteps pad away – softer now then they used to be, obviously something from their training sessions was paying off – and return a few minutes later. Something cold and wet plopped down on the back of his neck, lodging itself in the space between his shell and the back of his skull. It felt surprisingly good there as he heaved and retched.
Eventually, all things – good or bad – must come to an end, and Raph finally sat back on the floor, gasping for breath. Casey thrust a glass of water at him which he gulped, swished around and spat back out into the toilet before flushing the mess away. Swallowing the last of the water, he handed the glass back to Casey with a shaky hand. "Thanks."
"Sure." Casey rolled his eyes and left again. Raph gingerly contemplated the toilet and decided he was done for the moment. He joined Casey in the living room, siting gingerly down on the battered sofa with the pointy springs poking through the bottom, watching the older man pick up his empty bottles.
"I coulda' done that," Raph protested weakly, still slurring a bit.
Casey snorted, reaching over to snag a bottle about to roll off the coffee table. "Yeah, sure."
Raphael was half-blasted out of his mind, but he could still detect levels of pissed-offed-ness in Casey's voice. "You mad at me?"
Casey paused and tilted his head at Raph. He looked tired, and frustrated at the same time. "Kinda, yeah." Casey shoved another bottle in the case for empties and then pushed it aside, seating himself on the table. He leaned forward, bracing his arms on his knees, and looked Raph straight in the eye. "So, you gonna tell me this time?"
Raph growled and half-raised his hand, like he was swatting away flies. Or the question. Or something.
Casey sighed again, and Raph could definitely hear a bit more anger in that one. "'Course ya ain't, what was I thinking?" He sat up straighter, glaring now. "You just keep coming over an' drinkin' all of my beer and throwing up in my bathroom and leave me to manhandle your drunk ass enough to let you sleep it off on my couch instead of letting you get caught on the streets on the way back."
"Sorry," Raph muttered, blinking furiously. He always said sorry. It was the one thing he thought he did right. "Sorry."
Casey really looked tired now. "Don't be sorry, Raph," he said quietly. "Tell me what's going on. Tell me how I can help. You think I like watching my best friend drink himself into a coma every freaking night? You think I like watching you fight yourself while you're sleeping, crying?"
"I don't cry," Raph protested. Men – well, turtle, in his case – don't cry. "The fuck, Case, if it pisses you off this much, I'll juss..." he blinked, trailing off. Just what? Go to a bar? Walk in and order a beer like any human male? "Fuck."
"I don't want you to stay away," Casey growled. "I want you to tell me what's got your head so screwed up that you'd rather drink yourself into oblivion rather then face up to it. Whatever it is."
No, no, no, no, no, can't go there. Raph shook his head, teetering to the side. "Can't," he muttered. "S'not right, not right, it's wrong."
Casey was starting to lose the tired look, trading it for a concerned one. "What's wrong?" He asked, coaxingly. All gentle-like, like Raph was a cornered animal or something.
Raph shook his head again, trying to back up but forgetting he was on the sofa with no where to go." It's not right," he insisted again, darting his head from side to side.
"Fuck you!" He shouted, clenching his fists, squeezing his eyes shut. He heard Casey gasp sharply, and he opened his eyes again, looking down fuzzily. To his shock and amazement, he realized he had his sais in his hands. He looked up, eyes wide, to see Casey leaning back, hands raised in surrender, his face blank. Not scared, not angry, but...blank. Raph shuddered.
"Fine." Clipped, short. Casey stood up, brushed himself off and turned to go. "Whatever, Raph. Just what the fuck ever."
Raphael watched Casey walk away and through the drunken haze, he realized he had to do something Right Now or else it might never be okay. He dropped his sais and tried to lunge forward, grab Casey's arm or something, and wound up crashing forwards, draping himself over the coffee table. His plastron struck the wooden surface and he groaned, silently urging whatever Corona was left in his system to just. Stay. There.
"You're an idiot, you know." Somewhere to the right of him, maybe. Not helping. But not leaving either, which was a good thing.
And Raph knew what he was saying was true. "M'sorry," he tried again, feebly attempting to push himself up. "Case, iss'not you man, I swear..."
Casey didn't say anything else, and Raph struggled to move, get up, anything. He twisted to his side, trying to lever himself up and suddenly fell to the floor, rolling over on his shell, staring dizzily up at the ceiling. "Shit."
Casey appeared overhead. "Yeah," he agreed, and rolled his eyes before reaching down and dragging Raph back up to a sitting position against the couch. Then, to Raph's surprise, he joined him on the floor, both of them sitting on that thin, ugly carpet that would leave lint on Casey's pants and on his legs.
Maybe it was the Coronas, maybe it was just plain tiredness overwhelming him, or maybe (and most likely) it was the weapons he'd pulled on his best bud in the world, but Raph even startled himself when he spoke up, eyes staring fixedly across the room. "I love Mikey."
Casey didn't say anything, and Raph didn't look over. Instead, he tilted his head back, and stared up at the watermarks on Casey's ceiling. The paint was peeling, chipping away slowly, reminding him of his own defenses being worn down by the strain of living day-to-day trying to think normal. Be normal. Act normal.
Maybe Casey was disgusted. Raph didn't know and suddenly didn't care. That one simple little sentence had felt so fucking good to say and it was like a damn burst inside his mind, his head, and the words wouldn't stop pouring out, tripping over themselves, devoid of consistency or true coherency; babble without structure. "I love him. I do, not like a bro, ya know? And Donnie says we're not actually related, like pet store turtles are farmed and from different places and thrown together, but he's not gay. I'm not gay. I like watching the girls on Baywatch, they're all soft and wavy and bouncy, but I love Mikey and he's all muscle and hard shell and not like them at all." Raph groaned and dropped his head. "And it's sick and wrong 'cause even if we're not related, we're...he's... " His eyes widened. "I protect him. I watch out for him. Brother in everything but blood, family and you don't think this about family, you don't do those things, think those kinds of things. I know this. I know this, man, but...fuck."
Casey was still next to him, silent, and Raph darted a glance over, expecting to see maybe disgust, or anger or something, anything. He did not however, expect the look of contemplation on Casey's face.
"Dude, Baywatch is still on TV?" Casey looked at him out of the corner of his eye. "Gotta share times and channels, bro. It's not fair to keep Pammie all to yourself."
Raph barked out a harsh, thin laugh, sucking in air in angry-sounding pants. "Fuck you."
Casey studied him for a minute, easily meeting Raphael's angry, drunken scowl with a level look of his own. Then he nodded, and reached out, punching Raph in the arm. Hard.
"What the hell, man?"
"Calm down," Casey ordered. "I ain't doin' mouth-to-mouth on your ugly mug if you pass out hyperventilating."
Raph squeezed his fists again, blunt nails digging into his palms. "Didn't you hear me?"
"Yeah, I heard you." Casey rolled his eyes again. "Jesus, man, you sure know how to work yourself up over nothing."
"Nothing?" Raph couldn't believe his ears. "Fucking nothing? I'm in love with my fucking brother, you asshole! This ain't exactly nothing!"
"You said Donnie said you guys ain't actually related," Casey said, shrugging. "Which means this ain't an incest thing that's got you all worked up. Well, not entirely. It's a gay thing too."
Raph punched Casey back. Harder. "I ain't gay."
The sarcasm in Casey's voice could not be mistaken. "No, you're just a male in love with another male. Nothing gay about that at all."
Raph gaped, his jaw opening and closing a few times as he tried to think of something to say, a retort, a comeback, and wound up going with old reliable. "Fuck you."
"...That takes on a whole new meaning right now."
Raph snarled and lashed out. Casey easily moved out of the way, and Rah hit the floor, sprawling out face-first on the ground. "You bastard."
"My parents were happily – and legally – married when I was conceived," came the quick reply, and when the fuck did Casey get so clever with the comebacks? "Are you ready to stop being such a drama queen?"
"--You, yes, I know," Casey said soothingly. "Man, you've got a foul mouth when you're toasted."
"Like you're any better."
"True." Casey squatted down. "If I help you up again, are you going to take another swing at me?"
Raph tried to do a quick evaluation of his coordination and base motor skills and grudgingly realized he was going to need help if he wanted to reach a sitting position again any time soon. "Help me up, asshole."
Casey snickered and wrapped an arm around Raph's shoulders, hauling him up, all the way up, and depositing him on the couch with a thump. He dropped into place next to him again, completely at ease, even after the bombshell Raph had dropped. Raph blinked slowly– said bombshell didn't seem to be much of one, though.
"...not sure what I was expecting you to say," he said slowly. "But, uh..." he looked up at his friend and then down again. "...this sure as hell ain't it."
Casey snorted. "I ain't no homophobe, Raph." He shrugged. "Besides, as soon as you said, it was kinda like, obvious, ya know?"
"You got your eyes glued to the kid all the freakin' time, Raph." Casey poked him in the arm. "Even Leo and Donnie give the kid space to screw up or something, but you don't let him out of your sight if you can help it." He shrugged again. "Like I said, soon as you said that, it kinda started making sense."
Raph nodded slowly. "I ain't gay."
"Oh, grow up," Casey said easily.
He nodded again, still dazed.
"You owe me another case of beer." Casey shoved at him and then leaned forward, picking up the remote. "It's rude to keep drinkin' my stash and not replace it."
"Whatever." Raph rolled his eyes and pointed at the TV screen. It was four fifty-eight. "Channel twelve. Baywatch s'at five."
"In the morning?" Casey groaned. "Fucking rerun schedules."
"How much is Pammie worth to ya?"
"Screw you, Raph. 'Sides, now that I know your secret, I know it ain't Pam you're watching." Casey nodded sagely. "You got a thing for Hasslehoff."
"Dude, that's sick." Raph looked down again. Twirled his sais absently, then shoved them back in his belt. Drummed his fingers on the couch cushion. "Case?"
"...is it wrong?" Raph wondered. He was starting to sober up, the fuzziness seeping away. "I can't tell him, you know. It's wrong. Blood or no, he still thinks of me like a brother. It ain't right. Is it?"
Casey sighed and looked away. "I don't know, Raph. Part of me wants to say love is never wrong. How can it be?"
"And the other part of you?"
"Has no freaking clue," Casey said honestly. "No blood, it ain't real incest – you know, of the illegal variety. Maybe you should tell him. Get it off your chest."
"He'd hate me."
"We're talking about Mikey," Casey pointed out. "I don't think it's possible for that kid to hate anyone."
"You'd be surprised."
"And maybe you might be too."
Raph shrugged. "Maybe." He left it at that. He couldn't tell Mikey. Not yet, anyway. He wasn't ready to do that, to reveal such a personal part of himself. So bluntly. It sounded crude, wrong. And if Mikey rejected him...or worse, hated him...Raph shuddered. No. He couldn't say anything yet.
Casey nudged him, pointing at the screen. "Dude, Hasslehoff."
"Go to hell."
"After you buy me my beer, asshole," Casey retorted. "Good manners of the house guest after they ralph on the homeowners shoes."
"When did I-"
"Shut up and watch Pamela," Raph ordered, and Casey grinned, eagerly obeying. Rah rolled his eyes and settled back, feeling marginally better then he did before. For all his lunkhead moments, Casey was actually a pretty cool guy to talk to.
"Dave just took his shirt off for ya."
He was also a jerk who was gonna get his ass handed to him. "Die, Jones!"
"Dude, watch the table!"
Raph deliberately shoved all his confused feelings up in a ball and locked them away in his mind. There'd be time enough for soul-searching and dealing with his emotions and Mikey and all that girly shit after he pounded the crap out of his best friend.
Had not planned on doing a companion piece to The Highest Desideratum. Funny how these things work out. :)