A/N: Three is the number of this in the series, which shall have four.
As usual, I've found that a mixing of the 2k3 series and the CGI universe is both easy and necessary. So, you get it again.
There is also a very good reason I do not often write Michelangelo, as you are about to witness. Brace yourselves for me at my worst.
Disclaimer: The people that own them? Yeah, I've never met them either.
Summary: There are days Michelangelo curses his ability to read his brothers. Days when he as to get involved in serious business. Raph/Don Turtlecest, very light. CGI movie/2k3 series mixed universe.
Don's not sleeping. Mikey knows it, and he's pretty sure that Leo knows it too.
It doesn't matter if they know it, though, because it's not them that Don's pretending for. Donnie knows that they know that this is some sort of game for him and Raph.
Not a fun game, like Mario. When you're playing Mario, nobody is really getting hurt—unless Raph gets mad and throws the controller, which is painful wherever you're standing. This game, Mikey can't think of another word for it, has a few flaws. Raph might not even know he's playing, for one. Two, Mikey thinks it might just be slowly killing Donatello.
Leo's leaving did something to them. Something Michelangelo couldn't fix with bad jokes. That didn't get better no matter how many times he said the words 'Battle Nexus' or 'champion'. Raph had even stopped hitting him on the back of the head, which was something Mike never expected to miss as much as he did.
Whatever it was that had left with Leo hadn't come back with him. Maybe Leo had lost it in the jungle somewhere, or it had been stolen out of his carry on bag. There was a half formed idea in his head that he and Leo could take off for South America together to find it, and have great adventures, while Raph and Don worked on taking down the wall that had come up between them.
Before, Raph and Donnie had been close. Close enough that that was how Mikey always thought of them—always 'Raph and Donnie', very rarely separate in his head.
They weren't often close to each other, you know, where people could see. But when you were with Raph doing stuff he'd always say "Donnie says…Braniac thinks…I wonder what Don's doin'…If Donnie where here, he'd probably…" so it was sort of like Don was there even when he wasn't.
If you looked in Don's lab there was always some new project for Raph, and if you managed to sit there long enough without breaking anything, Don would start talking about what Raph might be doing, ask you what Raph would think of what Donnie is doing, or get all excited about how excited he thinks Raph will be with the new toy Don is always, always, ALWAYS working on for him.
Come to think of it, Michelangelo could remember very few one-on-one conversations with his older brothers where the other hadn't been mentioned. Before Leo left, anyway. After that, there was some sort of wall between them; they couldn't ever seem to get far enough from each other.
"I have a theory," Mikey announced, ignoring the commercials that weren't holding his interest anyway. He's pretty sure some of these were on he was a kid, and are trying to make a comeback.
Leo looks up at him from the book that's been sitting in his oldest brother's lap for hours. Sitting is the right word too; he's pretty sure Leo hasn't turned even one page. "A theory about what?"
Michelangelo gestured to the room at large with a broad sweep of his arms.
There aren't words, but he knows his oldest brother gets it. That line on his forehead gets deeper everyday as he watches Raph and Don avoid each other. Or worse, fight like they did tonight. Leo will have wrinkles before he reaches twenty, Mikey is sure of it.
Of course, Mikey might too, because it's really hard to find anything to smile about when Raph calls Don names. They all know Raph doesn't mean what he says when he's mad, that he's just trying to hurt because he's hurting and wants someone to join him. Don told them this many times when they were younger, to try and justify their older brother's behavior.
It's different now, because you can tell that everything Raph says to hurt Don is doing its job. Because it's Raphael that says it, Don believes it.
The door slides open. Raph has come home. Mikey doesn't turn to look, and for some reason Leo doesn't either. Maybe they are playing the game, too.
"I think that you," Michelangelo can't help smiling as he points at Leo, because he knows his biggest brother hates it when people point at him, "used to be the wall."
"You used to be the wall," Mikey says again, as though all of it is perfectly obvious. It makes so much sense it should be. Before, Leo was always keeping them all busy, always asking questions, always just being there and being Leo. You couldn't do anything without him noticing. "Then you left and there wasn't a wall anymore, so they had to see how much they need each other."
When Leo gets something, it's obvious. His eyes do this little widening thing that they don't do at any other time, like they're doing now. It's making sense to him too, now that it's been said. Mike does smile at this. He's not smart in the same way his brothers are, but he gets people—his brothers in particular. He notices stuff so he knows stuff about them. This means he's usually right about why they're doing stuff, and this time looks like it's one of those times.
Raph hasn't moved from the door.
"I think what they saw on the other side of the wall scared them." Not that Mike blamed them, really. He'd seen the way Raph's eyes would linger on Don for just a half-moment too long, like Casey did with April. He'd noticed how often Donnie would touch Raph—a hand on his shoulder, a bump of elbows or knees—but Don very rarely willingly touched anyone because he just wasn't a physical person.
Realizing you were in love with the guy you grew up with as a brother would scare just about anybody out of their shell.
Leo has this way of looking at you where you know he's doing a mind scan. It's a narrow eyed look, like he's doing math, but he's really looking into your skull and seeing what you're thinking. He either disagrees with Mike's conclusion—something Mikey doubts highly 'cause he's right—or is choosing not to comment on it for now. "And you think all the fighting and avoiding each other is their way of putting that wall back in place?"
"Yeah, except it's not a very good wall." Spiderman is back on, but Mikey ignores it because Raph is listening, really listening for once, and this is more important that a Spiderman rerun any day. "Raph thinks Don can see through it. Don thinks Raph already saw through it and didn't like what was behind." And the name calling, the leaving, that wasn't helping Don's conclusion at all.
Raph has stopped breathing. If it wasn't for the little brother sense that told him when one of his big brothers was nearby, Mikey would almost have thought he'd managed to slip out again.
"That's very perceptive of you, Mike." Leo lifts his book up to his face, but Mike follows his big brother's eyes and sees that he's really using the reflection of Don's computers to watch Raph hovering in the doorway. "What do you think we should do about it?"
This is the part of the theory Michelangelo hates. "We can't do anything, dude. We just have to wait for the two of them to grow some guts and get out of the closet."
It was meant to be an analogy about leaving monsters behind, but it sounded so wrong. Leo choked beside him, making a noise like he was laughing by being strangled. "Mikey!"
The youngest turtle grinned, listening to Raph's footsteps retreating to his room—but not before pausing outside Don's door, just to peek inside to see if he was there. "What? It's true."