Disclaimer: I don't own the turtles.
Summary: He finally has Donnie, but Raph can't let the past go so simply.
Warnings: Donnie cusses. And fluff. lots of yummy fluff.
Leonardo unfolded himself from his meditation and stood slowly, stepping from the dojo with his ears pricked as he listened to Raphael's voice rise. He rolled his eyes and shook his head, steeling himself to try and calm his volatile brother down. He half expected Mikey to come tearing through the hallway having pulled some prank or done something to piss his brother off. But, there was no one else yelling, no lights, and no other sound in the lair but for the muffled shouts. Frowning, he paused in the entryway of the main room – and he turned abruptly, feeling someone behind him. Glancing up at the balcony, Mikey leaned upon the railing, looking over the edge at him, tense and worried.
"Dude, Raph is, like, letting him have it." he said in a hiss, his eyes wide and his hand gripped the iron guard tight.
Furrowing his brows, Leonardo turned, looking toward Donnie's lab, but the door was open and the light off. Crossing the living area and moving past the kitchen, he halted immediately as he saw Donatello leaning against the wall next to Splinter's study, his arms wrapped around his waist, head bowed and a foot propped up on the bricks behind him comfortably. He didn't look alarmed, just pensive.
"Don?" He approached slowly, the temperature in the lair feeling as if it dropped several degrees as Donnie's dark eyes rose and stabbed him in the gut. His eyes nearly black in the faint light, he looked so….creepy. It was like he saw everything with his eyes while hardly any emotion reflected back to him.
Donatello raised a hand and pressed a finger to his lips, pushing away from the wall with every bit of ninja stealth to move away from the room. Leo glanced at the shoji doors that did little to hide Raphael's angry voice, or the firm but humming voice of their father.
He followed Donnie, glancing back over his shoulder - he wanted to go in there and break it up. It was completely disrespectful of Raph...
"Yes, Leo? What is it?" Don asked so quiet and relaxed that Leonardo again felt so confused.
"What's going on? Why is Raph in there yelling at Sensei?" His shoulders grew stiff and his posture improved immediately feeling his leadership role slide back into place and he readied himself to step in and shut Raphael down the moment Donnie mentioned anything about dishonorable actions.
Donatello frowned, looking over his shoulder, distracted. His mind was focused more on Splinter's study and the raised voices than on Leo. When he pulled himself back and looked to him, Donatello shuttered his emotions again and his eyes seemed a hollow black. "Nothing. They're just talking. That's the important part."
"Nothing? Don, He's screaming at Sensei." he waved back toward the room, "He was raised better than to do that-"
"Leo." Donnie raised a hand, exhaling slowly. "It's between Splinter and Raphael. You don't need to be the leader right now."
Leo trusted Don. He had always looked to him for advice, support, backup, for wisdom. Don had always been his right-hand man. There was a reason Splinter had named Donatello as second in command if something where to happen to him on the battlefield. But it irked him. For some reason he felt himself bristle at the ease of Donatello's dismissal of his questions.
"What's going on, Don. I want to know."
Donatello's eyes flashed and abruptly they transformed from empty and smooth inky depths to a lightning storm. "They are working out issues, Leo. This has nothing to do with the team. This is something between Raphael and Splinter only."
"Drop it, Leo." Donatello's arms fell from his waist and he drew himself up, hands forming into fists. "I explained all that you need to know. If Splinter deems their conversation notable for your knowledge, then he'll tell you."
Leonardo held his breath, staring down at Donnie. He heard Michelangelo shifting above, moving closer to them quietly. He could just imagine his blue eyes wide and staring. It took a lot to get Donnie mad like this - and he had barely spoken to him. "What's wrong." he asked, voice dropping an octave.
"Leo, I swear-"
"No, not with them. I mean you. What's wrong? You hardly ever snap at me." He held his ground, inhaling slow and smooth, studying Donatello closely and watching every twitch in his body. He was not going to allow Donatello to slink back into the background if there was something wrong - especially between them.
Donatello's hands gripped his hips, his jaw tight and eyes staring through him as if determined to just ignore him.
"Not everything is about you." Don said while holding his ground just as steady as Leo. "I explained the situation as far as you needed to know so you can now excuse yourself to get that stick out of your ass and leave us alone."
Leonardo managed by sheer will power alone not to jump down Don's throat – because that sounded more like Raph than the gentle Donnie he knew. He narrowed his eyes and Donatello stood his ground, though a faint twitch at the corner of his mouth gave him away. At least he was holding back from screaming at him. But what exactly was he holding back? "What did I do?" he asked carefully and the chill in the lair dropped further as something seemed to crack in Donnie.
"Where the hell were you?" He hissed, voice so low and quiet Leo had to lean forward to catch it. "You promised me...Mikey...you promised us one year if not less-" He swallowed hard, his hands shaking. "-we needed you here."
"Me being gone is still going to be an issue?" He shook his head, looking away. If it wasn't for the fact he and Raph had already had this fight, he might have felt differently about it. Yet here he was, in the exact same fight just with a different face and without weapons slicing past one another in the rain.
It was just something he had to do. Why couldn't they understand that?
"I had to come to terms about what I wanted, what was best - what the consequences of my actions were going to cause. I had to make my choice. I had to become a better leader to understand what I might be giving up or what I might be gaining. I had to do this for you, for Mikey, for Raph...I had to do that for me." His hands curled at his sides, his chest heaving.
Donatello looked away, wrapping his arms about his middle again and he stared off to the side. Small and quiet once again. His anger far from having run its course, but he had gotten the majority out – at least, he hoped.
Leo sighed loudly and reached out, clapping a warm hand upon his brother's shoulder. "Donnie, it was my choice to stay."
Donatello shrugged his hand off, taking a step back and stared at Splinter's door, reaching up to touch the place his hand had just been as if his touch left behind slime. "It's not just about extending your training." He whispered and Leonardo held his breath, straining to hear him. "You didn't tell us. Why couldn't you have just said that in a letter? It was like you glossed over everything you actually were thinking and feeling and didn't give us the time to understand you."
Leo refused to look away, though he wanted to look to Mikey so badly – afraid to see the confirmation in his eyes.
Ensnaring his eyes, Don stared him down, his hand shaking till he made a fist. "Then - then your letters petered out till they were non-existent and we didn't know what was going on with you period. For all we knew, you could have died and we would have never known." he swallowed hard, his brow knotting up, his arms hugging himself a little tighter as he hissed, his eyes clawing into Leonardo accusingly. "You just assumed – as you always do – that what you decided would be best for us all without actually talking to us. It made it hard on me because Raph needed an explanation. Mikey deserved that explanation. You might have ultimately decided to stay out there longer for us, but you were completely selfish in how you initiated it."
Well that stung. Leonardo flicked his eyes up to Mikey on the landing; his face down and he gripped the railing tight with tension in his shoulders.
"Do we have to argue over this?" Leo looked back to Donnie, his shoulders falling.
It took a while for him to answer and Leo could see his brain spinning behind his dark eyes as he filed through his emotions, the arguments, the possible outcomes of everything he could say. Donatello shrugged suddenly, his back still stiff. "Nope, not at all." And Leonardo inhaled sharply at the glare that froze him in place. "You're always right after all. My thoughts won't change anything. Goodnight, your highness." He hissed then pushed past Leo and made his way to his lab.
"Dude," Mikey said and Leo flinched.
"Don, I'm sorry."
Donatello paused, tilting his head as he turned, studying him in return. Leo waited and it occurred to him why Donnie was so good with Raph - because that silence of his always gave Raph time to really think about what he did or what to say, it forced Raph to draw his own conclusions about whatever it was they were discussing. Leonardo hated to admit it, but Donnie was right; it was selfish of him to assume - and he assumed a lot about everything and everyone around him. He liked things black and white and never realized when he himself stepped into the gray in-between because he just assumed someone would react the same way that they always did.
"Well that was a half-ass attempt. But, it's a start." Donatello sighed, rubbing his arm then turned, moving around the entertainment center and pausing only momentarily to look at Splinter's study before he disappeared into his own room and closed the door, leaving only a sliver open for the light to peek through.
It hurt like a knee to the stomach. It was only a start? How badly did he mess everything up just because he didn't explain something? It actually seemed petty of Donnie to be holding a grudge over something like this; especially when he had seemed so happy and at ease after he had come home. In a way, by him staying gone for so long it allowed even Master Splinter to come to terms with the overlaying problem - him accepting their relationships. Why would he be angry about that? It all worked out for the best.
Mike's arms slid around his shoulders and he leaned heavily on him - still several steps up. "So...You should probably, like, find Donnie a new computer or something tomorrow so he chills out."
Leo smiled, all that angst and worry washing away with just a few words from Michelangelo. "Yeah, that actually isn't a bad idea." He said.
Mikey sighed and kissed his cheek then tugged on his shoulders. "Come on, I'm so tired I'm ready to pass out right here on you. And actually, that isn't a bad idea. I say I do that anyway, just in bed. What do you say, Captain?" He grinned and Leo chuckled, the last of the tension easing from his shoulders. He shouldn't worry. This was Donatello, he would probably come to him tomorrow and apologize and they would be able to talk this out peaceably and be a solid team, side-by-side, once again.
"I think that's a good idea. A solid night's sleep will do us all good." He turned then, easily molding himself to Mikey as the other turtle slid himself into place against his side and nuzzled at his shoulder on their way up the stairs.
The cuter one did snort though, his warm hands trailing over his plastron plates. "Who said anything about sleeping?"
"But, you just said..."
"Yeah right, like I'd actually pass out without a little nookie first." Mikey snickered, eyes twinkling. "I have a certain Space Hero uniform in my closet and I want my Captain to tuck me in." he purred and tugged a blushing Leo the rest of the way up the stairs and into his bedroom, firmly locking the door.
Raphael watched him silently from the doorway; studying his lover as he stared at his computer screen, his fingers the only part of him moving as they clicked this or that with the mouse. His hands occasionally reached for his keyboard to type something quickly, but his hand would go back to his mouse and a second later only his finger would click and his wrist would twitch. Leaning back in his chair, his right foot resting on the edge of his seat as though being folded up in a small swivel chair was comfortable, Raphael admired the sight; the stability of this one image. Donnie tilted his head and Raph's eyes grazed over his long neck and shoulders and up to the side of his face to watch those dark eyes flicker back and forth over the screen, staring so intently and focusing all his attention to the task at hand.
And he wanted him to smile. He wanted him to stare at him like he had when they were children and really smile without ever again looking away and remembering what Splinter had told them over ten years ago and become quiet and distant in a snap.
Inching into the lab, Raphael felt his stomach jump and his heart beat faster. He didn't know what he was doing, but he had to do it now in that textbook and electrical smelling room; and it had to be now or it would disappear into the night and he would regret it forever.
He moved quickly to Donatello's computer station, not bothering with stealth. Don turned his head quickly as he felt someone enter his room and he sat up straight and swiveled in his chair, his lips parting to say his name. Raph could just see it in those beautiful and darkly haunting eyes. He was about to say his name….
Raphael reached down and cupped his face, leaning forward even as he tilted Donnie's face upwards, and with a light brush of his beak against his, he pressed a kiss to his Donatello's mouth.
Donnie struggled weakly, his eyes closing as the kiss drew him further into Raph's presence. He laid a hand on his wrist and tugged halfheartedly but gave up a moment later and leaned closer to him, his lips parting and asking for the kiss to be deeper, his tongue fluttering over Raph's.
Dropping to his knees in front of him, Raph slid one hand around to the back of Donnie's head and pressed their lips more firmly together while his other hand reached for the arm of his chair and tugged him forward.
Donnie parted his legs immediately the moment Raph's plastron bumped against his knee, the leg that had been resting on the edge of his seat now trapped between their chests. He inhaled sharply and wound his arm about Raphael's neck just as Raph grasped his trapped leg and ran questing fingers along the length.
Raphael broke the kiss, dipping his head to kiss at his exposed inner thigh. Donnie's face flushed, a hand reaching out shyly to push him away only to stop himself in time and he touched Raph's cheek instead, drawing his attention back to his face. "Raphie?"
He lifted his face but he pressed his cheek to his thigh, his free hand dropping from Don's neck to take his hand in his and kiss his knuckles. "I love you, Donnie-boy."
Donnie's face warmed again and he smiled. Leaning forward, he kissed the top of Raph's head, a little hum in his chest. "I know. You came back."
"I can't leave ya now that I have ya." He said, gazing up at him.
The computers hummed and it cast a glowing radiance across Donatello's face, making his dark eyes shimmer and the light brought out the hints of rich chocolate scattered in their inky depths. Everything about him dug into Raphael and he leaned up, kissing him again, cutting Donatello off, desperate for something that niggled at the back of his brain till he hissed, clinging to Donatello as if he would disappear.
"Raphie, what is it? You're scaring me." Donnie whispered against his lips and cupped his face, forcing Raphael to look at him.
Raphael swallowed hard, his throat closing up and cutting off his words. But right there, that look, he didn't want Donnie to look scared and worried, like he was waiting for a brick to smash his last remaining window any second now. "I don't know. I just don't want ta be away from you right now."
He relaxed and his lips formed a gentle smile. And that's what Raph wanted to look at every day for the rest of his life. That. Relaxed, warm, content, loved, and happy Donnie. That's how he wanted Donatello to feel forever without anything weighing him down and suffocating him.
He kissed Donnie's palm, his fingers still rubbing along his opposite thigh, opening it up just a tad so he could press it against his side as he nuzzled the trapped one against his cheek. "I love yer legs."
Donnie laughed softly. "I've gathered as much." He leaned his head back and relaxed against his chair, gazing down his body at him.
"No, seriously. They are sexy as hell." He said and Don's smile grew, eyes twinkling.
Raphael grinned back. No cockiness, no mockery, no smug or lecherous smirks; just an honest smile. "I ain't leavin' ya."
He nodded, the purple tails of his mask slipping over his shoulder. "I know. I won't leave you either."
"Ya swear?" He asked, tugging the chair closer and pulling Don's mask of his so he could see his eyes better, so he could rid themselves of another barrier.
Donatello rubbed his warm thumb along his cheek, leaning into him. "Raphie, what is it?"
Raphael shook his head, "I don't know. I just need ta know."
"You'll never get rid of me." Donatello whispered, tracing his lips with his thumb and smiling when Raph pecked the tip.
"Move out with me."
"What?" Donnie pulled back and tilted his head, brows lifting high.
Raph took his shoulder, leaning into him. "We won't go far. Just enough...you know, for us ta be us. No brothers ta walk in on, no Splinter-" His mouth pursed into a thin line and he bit back the nasty comments, "-just us. A place of our own. Close enough ta keep the team together but far enough away so we don't have ta be here all the time." He said, nearly begging him.
Donatello's mouth opened and shut for a moment, stumbling over his thoughts and emotions. Raphael could see it, the gears working in Donnie's head, going over every con and pro, every what-if-factor, and everything Donnie would need to set them both up with even just the basic of commodities that they now had here in the lair.
"Even if it takes five years, let's do it." He gripped at Don's thigh, holding onto him.
His mouth worked for a moment before his voice fumbled out. "But, it'll take a lot of work. We'd have to find-"
"We'll find it. Whatever it takes, however long-" Raphael trailed off, his heart pounding in his chest.
Donatello was so quiet, so uncertain, his shoulders lifting up toward his ears as if trying to hide. Raph swallowed hard, never looking away from him. This was so important to him; would he be able to leave Splinter? Would he stay with him? Raphael's stomach twisted and he watched every emotion, every idea, and every cog in the Brianiac's head roll around. He knew better than to interrupt him. He had to allow Don time to go over everything. But the suspense was damn near killing him.
"Please, Donnie?" he whispered, watching the light flicker across the side of Donnie's face as the screensaver switched on.
The knot in the center of Don's brow relaxed slowly and Raphael smiled, hope leaping up into his chest. Donnie's head bobbed with a nervous twitch of his lips.
Donnie nodded. "Yes." He sighed heavy and resigned. "It'll take a lot of work though. We'll have to constantly be looking for things to build a new lair-"
"And I'm not going to live without my computers."
"Ain't askin' ya too."
"I'll have to find electrical cables and-" Donatello trailed off and Raphael felt contentment, watching Don's brain run a mile a second, calculating and theorizing, making a mental checklist of essentials with room to add more. Raphael leaned up and captured his lips, breaking Donnie's thoughts through an insistent kiss that left no room for Donatello to argue because list or no list, Donnie was here with him and he wasn't letting that love go. Ever.
"Thank you." Raphael sighed, all the tension in his body easing out of him.
"You're stuck with me too, you know; even if you're in one of your loner-moods." Donnie smirked back and a chuckle bubbled between them.
"What? You goin' ta chase me down now?" He looked so happy and Raph nearly purred in his own delight being there with him and he nuzzled that alluring thigh next to his cheek.
"Yep." Donatello's fingers played along Raphael's arm and up over his shoulder, tracing the muscles, the dips in his skin molded by time and necessity. Raphael kissed his tasty flesh and Don's tail twitched where it lay upon the chair
"You sure ya can keep up?" he teased, waggling his brows. "I run pretty fast."
His eyes sparkled, "I'm certain I can keep up. I have a few tricks up my sleeves."
"Yeah?" Raphael chuckled and peeked down at his tail and dared to run a finger along its length, humming as it curled about his finger reflexively. "Ya mean I ain't see everything yet?"
Donatello's cheeks blushed, but he couldn't stop the sarcasm from rolling off his tongue. "So full of yourself."
"Hey, I gotta right to be." He winked. "I'm getting laid."
He rolled his eyes and Raph snorted, his fingers running along Don's thigh, tracing the wiry strength there, examining the length of skin and muscle that led a path all the way to heaven and a wagging tail...then he chuckled suddenly. Low and rolling, Raphael bowed his head and planted a playful kiss to Donnie's inner thigh, his eyes sparkling in delight as he peeked back up at him.
"What?" Don grinned, tugging Raphael's mask down around his neck so he could see his eyes better.
Raphael leaned up, his fingers dragging slowly along Donnie's thigh and drawing patterns along it playfully. "I think I figured out why I love yer legs."
"Oh?" Donnie tilted his head, his cheek resting against his shoulder. "Do tell." He teased.
Raphael nodded, amber eyes dancing. "We're gettin' married, remember? You were goin' ta wear a garter."
It took a second, but the moment it sunk in, Donatello's cheeks flushed, his eyes shone, and his laugh fell out of him with delight. He leaned forward, unfolding himself from his chair and Raphael welcomed him into his arms, returning the laughing kiss with a chuckle of his own as those delightful thighs wrapped about his waist, and the wheels squealed as the computer chair was shoved backward. They curled together, fitting together like a glove in their mirth.
Raphael leaned back on his heels, staring up at Donatello as he settled high on his lap. "What? Ya sayin' you ain't goin' ta keep yer word?"
"I did promise that, didn't I?"
"Yep, and I can't wait ta see it." He grinned as Donnie slid his arm about his neck, all slinky and with absolute comfort in every unabashed movement made toward him.
"Well then, I'll have to do a bit of shopping," Donnie whispered and gripped the tails of Raph's mask around his neck, pulling them closer together, "can't disappoint my fiancee'."
"Not possible." Raphael whispered against his lips then kissed him. Donatello hummed and it drifted into a churr, shooting warmth and lightning through his nerve endings with the slide of skin on skin, and the puff of their breaths against lips as he pulled back just enough to whisper to him. "Yer my Donnie-boy. You're the real deal; everything else is just frills and bells."
"Mmmm, will you marry me, Raphael?" Donnie grinned as he kissed the corner of his mouth and Raph felt his tail wiggling in his attempt to not giggle as he held him close with a little tug to the red mask around his neck.
Raphael snorted against his mouth and Donatello joined him, the two of them laughing. "Come on, Brainiac, let's get ta bed."
"I still have some wo-"
Raph covered Don's mouth, grinning like a fool, "Huh? What was that? Ya want some sex? Well if you insist-"
"Raph!" Donnie blustered, cheeks warm and then he sighed and melted against him as Raphael leaned forward and kissed him.
That's what it was, Raphael realized as he basked in Donatello's warming presence as he joined him, accepted his touches and kisses with a smile - he had wanted to make certain that all their promises would come to pass. Not simply because he kept his word no matter what, but because it was no longer just a promise to him. His Donnie-boy was his world; them together at the center of a spinning, shining universe layered in darkness and multicolored brilliance. Right here in this moment of humming computers, hammering heartbeats, and little sighs of contentment, he now knew; Donatello still wanted him this much too. After everything they had been through emotionally; after waiting half their lives for each other – this was their promise to each other. Through doubt and desperate certainty, they were here, now, free of restraint and with no need to look over their shoulders. This was happiness. This was what they had waited for. They were finally vindicated.
Definition of VINDICATE
1 obsolete : to set free : DELIVER
2 : AVENGE
3 a : to free from allegation or blame
b (1) : CONFIRM, SUBSTANTIATE (2) : to provide justification or defense for : JUSTIFY
c : to protect from attack or encroachment : DEFEND
4 : to maintain a right to
...I finished it. It's done. I can't quite believe it.
Picture I drew for it - its located on my deviantart account under g33kg1rl-RxD under the title "Vindicated 16 - Marry Me"
sorry it took forever. A lot of stuff happened family wise and I just... writing didn't happen. This last part was also giving me trouble - not the Raph and Don portion, that was the easiest, flowiest part of the whole lot. It was the fact that Leo had a lot of baggage and thus a lot of loose ends still untied - and Donnie refused to allow them to be tied up in a neat package. Donnie was so angry and I had to respect that about his character so I finally found an in-between balance that allowed Donnie to be true to himself, but also gave a sense that yes, everything would be okay eventually.
Part of why this took so long to finish was also because I think I was scared to end it. If I didn't end it, then that meant I could live in this story for a while longer. I could keep it open. I could still bask in it. I would never fail if it wasn't finished because no one could say if it was bad or not because it was still incomplete. But it needed ending and today, that line about "I think I figured out why I love yer legs." came to me and after I re-read everything, I realized I was stalling. It was done. I was just scared to post it.
I really did love writing this story. It also taught me so much about writing. I've gotten better because of this story. I've learned so much about how a book needs to flow because of this work, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.
Thank you to all who have stuck with me through this story. Again, I'm sorry it took so long to finish, I feel really bad that it took 5 years to finally get to the ending; but I kept my word, even if it took a while to get to it.
I finished Vindicated. I finished it. I accomplished something that has left me realizing I can do anything. It's an amazing feeling to go along with the fact that I wrote something that is so close to my heart. Thank you all for reading. It was a pleasure and honor working on this story. I truly hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
~Melissa the Damgel