A/N: And, this one is part two of the series. Can't really call this pre-slash, but what's here is very light.
Disclaimer: My lack of owning disappoints even me.
Summary: Some moments were meant to be shared, and some really aren't. Raph/Don soft-slash.
Learning Your Lessons
When Donatello had put up the flyer advertising to his brothers that he would be holding first aid lessons after training each day, he'd expected Leo at least to show up.
Okay, so maybe the flyer had been a little over board, but no one had listened when he'd said it so he thought a constant reminder on each of their doors would work better. They needed to learn at least the basics of first aid at some point. They were growing up and, in some ways, growing more independent—so Don knew he might not always be around to treat them when they needed it. However, it seemed they just weren't ready yet to take this step.
Donnie had just bent down to start cleaning up his supplies when the door to the dojo slid open. He half-expected it to be Splinter, coming to politely listen to what Donatello had to say because nobody else would. His sensei always did that; he'd come in and listen because Don worked so hard and the old rat felt he deserved at least that much, even when Splinter couldn't understand a word the young turtle was saying.
It surprised the teenager, then, when he realized the footsteps weren't the light pads of his sensei, but heavier. They weren't as quiet as Leo's, and not loud enough for Mikey, so that only left…"Raph? What are you doing here?"
Raph fidgeted a little in place as Donnie looked up at him. Don noted, with some amusement, that his older brother was about as uncomfortable as Don had ever seen him.
"I'm here for this," the oldest of the pair answer after a moment, holding out the flyer that had been, until recently, hanging up on the door. The poor paper looked slightly abused, and far more crumpled then Don remembered it being.
Donatello leaned back a little in surprise. "YOU want to learn first aid?"
"Yeah. Got a problem with that, Brainiac?" He could almost see Raph bristling, and half expects spikes to come out of his older brother's shell. Wouldn't Mikey just love that? Their younger brother would spend hours making up Bowser jokes, or maybe force Casey to dress up as Mario to fight the evil turtle…
It was probably the worst idea in the world, laughing right then, but he couldn't help it. He bit down on his bottom lip and still a tiny laugh managed to escape.
Raphael's eyes narrowed dangerously before he turned to leave. "Knew this was a bad idea…"
"Raph, wait." Don was on his feet and grabbing his brother's arm so fast it gave him slight vertigo. He swayed a little on his feet. Stupid body, betraying him like that. And just as he'd convinced Leo he was getting better too.
His older brother's arms were around him, steadying him, holding him safe against a firm chest. "Take it easy, Donnie. I gottcha."
"I know." It hurts, being this close to Raphael. Don knows his older brother has been avoiding him lately—ever since he recovered from the virus. He doesn't know what he did to anger his older brother so much, but he'd give anything to take it back. Donatello loves all his brothers, completely, but Raph is special. Raph always comes and gets him from the dark, when his mind has wandered too far. He needs Raphael, and it's been hard to not have him while he's trying to find his footing again.
Missing days of your life, knowing that you turned into a mindless raging monster, has a way of messing with your mind.
He doesn't know how to explain this to Raph. He doesn't know how to tell him that he needs him to chase away the monsters in Donatello's mind, now more than ever. All Don knows is that he needs his brother and standing here, like this, he feels safe for the first time in weeks.
Raph holds him for just a moment longer, a heartbeat longer than necessary, and then he steps back to look down at Don's face. "You want me to stay that bad, huh?"
"I wasn't laughing at you," is all Don can think to mutter. He steels himself as he pushes away, so he can stand upright. He's suddenly much colder. "I was…something Mikey might do and…if you want to learn first aid, I'd be happy to teach you. I just want to know why, that's all."
He can actually hear Raph swallowing in the silence of the room. The little part of Don's brain that never stops learning tells him that this means Raph is nervous, but none of him knows why. After a moment, his brother simply says, "you're the one that's teachin' the class. Why does it matter?"
Now it's Don's turn to shift uncomfortably. "Well, you don't strike me as the medic type. Not that you can't," he holds up his hands to fend off an outburst. "You're just more of a fighter than a healer, usually."
Raph looks away—turning his head, not just his eyes. "Yeah, well, I…I learned recently ya can't always fight stuff the usual way. I wanna' learn another weapon."
Donatello couldn't stop staring, startled by this statement. He'd never thought of first aid as a weapon before, and somehow it felt wrong to say so.
"We coulda lost ya, Donnie." Raph looked back at him, and the intensity of his gaze froze Don in place. He is angry, but at what Don can't be sure. "You were dyin' and there was nothin' we could do about it. Maybe this wouldn't a helped, but…"
The distance between them was closed again as Raph took a step forward, and Don was still frozen and couldn't step back.
A green hand on his face, calloused by years of handling weapons and fending off enemies, contrasted by smooth scar tissue, some of it new.
"I need ta protect ya, Don." Raph's hand is trembling ever so slightly. "If this'll help, then I'll…"
They're so close that Donnie can smell the cinnamon soap that is uniquely Raphael. It's a very light scent, easily masked, but always there whenever Raph was in the same room.
Even his future self, from that time that would never be, had still smelt lightly of cinnamon.
"Can you answer a question for me, Don?" The one-eyed turtle asked, grabbing his arm as they headed toward the hanger, pulling him further away from the others.
"I…I can try." Don shrugs. He's hoping Raph isn't going to ask him where he went, because he doesn't know. Don has already figured out that this isn't HIS reality, though it's A reality that could still happen.
"If I were to kiss ya, why would you run away?"
"What?" Was this a serious question? It had to be, from the look on his face. But what exactly did he mean?
The future version of his older brother looked down. "We…That is…We'd almost lost ya, once before, an I was a mess afterwards. I hadn't realized before then that I needed ya so bad. So I kissed ya. You ran away, an the next mornin' you'd disappeared. Fer good."
The obvious answer that 'because you're my brother and you KISSED me' didn't feel right here. Because it was Raphael, his special brother. His light in the dark. "I…I can't speak for your Donatello for sure but…I think it would be because I was afraid. Afraid of how I felt. I'd want to get some space, to think. If he didn't leave a note, I'm sure he meant to come back." Don can't help stretching out a hand, noticing how small his hand is on his older brother's large arm. "It wasn't your fault, Raph."
He can tell the older turtle doesn't believe him, and Donatello isn't sure himself.
Don's had months to deal with the idea that at least one version of Raph might have feelings for him, and the more time went by the more he hoped it was true. Because he needed Raph like he needed oxygen, and he hoped his big brother might, maybe, feel at least a little the same.
They're so close that, if he wanted to, Don could just lean forward and they would kiss. He's almost tempted to do so, just to see what would happen, but he doesn't. He doesn't because he can see that Raph is confused. He doesn't know what he's feeling right now, but Don can tell his older brother needs Donatello nearby just as much as Don needs to feel his older brother's presence.
For now, that's enough, and maybe if he gives Raph time…"Okay, then. We'll start with the basics."