I'm uploading this mainly because I want to, and also because I'm replying to a review and clear up a few things (that I can recall).
First thing: the "good man" part (I only counted two, by the way, where'd you get the two other times?). That was actually Raphael saying it, and he was being sarcastic. I didn't exactly mean to make it funny like that, but remember, this is a bit old, about... *thinks back* ...O_o a year ago... (The writing style is still similar to my current writing style, ha xP. Who'd have thunk?) I did proof-read over it and actually add a couple things here and there, but the "good man" parts looked alright to me. *shrug*
Second, the open arm scene. I'm not exactly sure WHY I did that, to be honest. (I had to look in my Biology book for the bits and pieces of the information xD. I knew a good majority of it, but I had to make sure. Lol, I swear I'm like Donny in some way.) But I think it's because that's his character. He likes to share information, even if it means pausing in an operation when it comes to his brothers, mainly Mikey, asking questions. Like in the one-shot "Sweet Trickery" (which has nothing to do with this storyline), Don is ranting on and on about building a hybrid of sorts about eye-related items, though it was for humor preferences. And I don't know why I kept them in the kitchen, but hey, it's not like he's performing open-heart surgery on Raph, right? It was just going into a part of his arm to remove a bullet and stitch it back up. He could've probably used kitchen tools to do it, now that I think about it, but... meh. (MOVING ON.)
Leo's insight. Oh boy, I felt half-and-half about this part. I seriously thought it was too much for the story, that it just carried on and had nothing to do with the plot at all, but I really didn't want to go and tamper with it, so I left that scene alone. However, to help clear it up a bit and get the idea about my reasons why I may have put it in, I have attachments to family-related themes. It really doesn't matter whether it's hinted at or revolving around it, I love reading/hearing about family-orientation, and I just HAD to mention one of the men was married. Writing that, I believed it would give a bit more insight as to whether or not these criminals you see and hear about everyday are actually married with children. There are reasons why they go into a life of crime, and I think family struggles has to do with it, in the most part. Everything revolves around the family, whether directly or not. The exact reasons why it has to involve Leonardo, on the other hand, is unknown. It could be because he's the older brother and family means a lot to him, or possibly it hit a nerve in him that is affecting his leadership, I don't know myself. I do tend to insert my own thoughts and feelings into the characters, so that could be it. But why Leo, I'll have to figure that out (unless you come up with a good conclusion why).
And honestly, I never thought of Leo like that, seeing a world in black and white, or anything in that manner. If that's the case, you could say... I'm building up character for him to be a bit more believeable. But really, to be frank, I wasn't thinking THAT deeply in writing this. It was just an idea that came into my head, and I decided to write it down. I don't know what was going on in my head at that time, but something must've been bothering me that I ended up putting that in without knowing. Huh. I guess I have to thank you for pointing that out.
Alrighty now, time to continue on. Keep up with the reviews, I enjoy reading them. Comments are especially appreciated ^_^. (Sorry if this chapter's a little bit shorter.)
Night is the time when the body healed, Donatello had once said, but it was after midnight that Raphael woke from a sharp pain stinging through his arm. He sat up quickly, having noticed he was sleeping on it and groaned, looking at his digital clock. He banged his fist on the stand. "Dammit," he snarled upon seeing it was fifteen after. The arm was too tender to even move, let alone touch the area surrounding the closed wound, so he carefully got out of bed to find the ibuprofen.
It was lucky of him to turn on some of the lights in the den. In the hallway, he almost stepped foot on Mikey's skateboard. Grumbling, he rolled it toward his brother's door, where it slightly bumped the wood. He made a cautious trip down the stairs, keeping his hand on the rail; a good method, as he stepped on an old toy of Mikey's where it squeeeaked and frightened him enough he slipped on the step. He threw that at the door as well. Downstairs, the table was still occupied by the bucket of surgical tools. Rolling his eyes, he searched through the medicine cupboard among the cough medicine, Airborne, vitamins, and other things. He found the pills in the back and swallowed two.
While he waited for the pain to fade, Raph looked around the place for any of his younger brother's toys, gathering as much as he could with his good arm and tossing them at the front of the door. This'll show him for leavin' his stuff out for people to kill themselves on, he smirked mentally, cackling quietly at the pile of objects. He made a mental note to come out a little bit early to watch the fun.
Arm still throbbing, he quietly went down the hall to check on his brothers, something he could care less about, but had nothing to do. Don's door was slightly open, and he felt jealous he was sleeping more peacefully than he was. Turning back around for Leo's, he quickly tried to hear if Mikey was sleeping or otherwise bouncing around. He heard sleep-talk, something he stood by and listened to for the heck of it. "No, Clark!" he heard him mutter. "Don't... go in that room... kryptonite! It kills!" It ended with a snort.
"I swear we need to get his brain checked," he sighed to himself, shaking his head. Hesitantly, he headed for his older brother's door, listening for any other sounds of partial sleep. Somehow, it seemed he wasn't the only one unable to have a good night. Opening it ajar, he noticed Leo tossing, an exasperated sigh coming from him. He grumbled as he switched to his back, staring up at the ceiling until he noticed there was more light streaming from the doorway. His head lolled to look at Raphael, and he saw dark circles under his eyes. "You okay, Leo?" he asked, something he rarely did in feeling sympathy for his siblings. "You don't look so good."
"Is it just me, or is it really warm in here?" he moaned, rubbing the back of his hand against his forehead.
"It must be you, I feel fine."
He walked over to feel his skin, frowning at the warmth. "Eh, you may have a fever," he muttered, shrugging. "You're burning up. Want me to get Splinter?"
"I'm not ten, Raph," he retorted, but tried to get comfortable once more. "God, I can't sleep..."
"Ya know, I heard the bug was going around," Raphael recalled. "You must've picked it up when we were outside."
"Influenza? Oh, great..."
"Hey, who was the one who told Don to skip the shots? `Cuz it wasn't me! I wanted them!"
Leonardo weakly raised a hand to wave him off. "Go `way."
"You're not ten, Fearless Leader," he mocked, folding his arms tightly. "If you want, I can go get medicine for ya, since I'm up waitin' for my frickin' arm to stop hurtin'."
"You take the pills?"
"Donny mentioned... the body heals faster at night, as long as you're sleeping. That must be what it's doing."
He threw his good arm up in the air. "Earth to Leo, I can't sleep when I'm in pain!" he raised his voice. "Until it numbs, I'm not leavin'! Would you like a drink?"
"All right then!" Growling, he stomped out of his room and down the stairs, barely missing a half-awake Donatello. He blinked a few times before turning back around to see who attempted to knock him over. The curses and complaints under his breath clicked in his head it was his older brother.
Rubbing at his eyes, Don said softly, "What're you doing up, Raph?"
"Oh, Leo's being a big baby, sayin' he's not feelin' well and all that," he answered angrily, throwing his hand up in the air. "Keeps sayin' he's not ten years old, but he's actin' like it, unable to get up to get a glass of water for himself. So now he's countin' on me to deliver it to him."
"Does he have a fever?"
"Then he's sick, Raph. If he's too weak to get out of bed, then of course he expects you to help him out."
Raphael walked up to him clutching the glass, pointing a finger at his brother's plastron. "Listen, you. I helped in the defeat of Shredder. I've fought gangs that no other police force could fight themselves. I've defeated some of the toughest enemies. Shell, I was vigilante for a year while Leo was off trainin'. And months ago, we defeated stone warriors. But never, in my whole frickin' life have I given in to somethin' as low as this. If Leo's strong enough to do all those things, then he can get a drink himself."
His little brother tried his hardest to stay awake from the pleading of his tired mind to go to bed. He only missed a few words here and there drifting in and out of sleep. "I'll go take a look," he sighed. "I'm sure he's got influenza if he's not sleeping."
"That's what I mentioned, and he won't believe it. I knew I should've dragged his sorry butt to your room for the shots. But no-o-o..."
They returned to their sibling's room, seeing him sitting up in bed with a dazed, sickly look on his face. He briefly looked up at the sound, reaching for the glass. "Thanks, Raph," he mumbled, taking sips.
"Leo, for Pete's sake, just gulp it all down! You'll get the fluids faster that way!"
Don gave him a look. "Don't start," he warned. Turning back to his brother, he inquired, "How are you feeling?"
"I don't feel good," he groaned. "I feel like throwing up, I'm getting a headache and I think... sinuses are acting up."
He nodded slowly, checking his temperature. "You'll be okay, bro. You sure you don't want Splinter?"
Leonardo nodded in response.
"All right. Raph, can you go get some medicine?"
"Why me?!" he cried out. Upon seeing the glare on his brother's face, he sighed heavily and went downstairs once more to retrieve medicine. His complaints slowed him down while he looked in the cupboard for anything Leo would take. He spotted one a few rows back, and he grimaced at the sight of it. But when he took a look at it—trying hard not to imagine the many times he was sick with a cold at night and was forced to choke it down—he knew he had no choice but to use it. Raphael himself was a bit concerned about whether Don would allow his sick sibling to take it. He knew the bitter taste was partially from the 10% of the alcohol and any artificial coloring, but it indeed worked wonders.
He scoffed at the flavor. Cherry, yeah right.
So he returned with the medicine, handing it to his little brother. "Will this work?"
It was a bit unfortunate Leo saw it, for he began shaking his head in a fit of coughing. "No, not that!" he whimpered after breaths of air. "That stuff's awful! Please don't make me take it!"
"Things that are helpful tend to have a bad aftertaste," Don explained, taking off the cap, "but it'll have to do. And you still have plenty of water to wash it down." His face slightly scrunched up at the hint of fragrance, but filled up the inside of the top and handed it to him. "And you better take it," he warned quietly.
It amused Raph to watch him hesitate several times, but he started feeling sorry for him as he forced it down, gagged, and drained the whole glass in a few gulps. He fell back against his pillow, groaning. "I've... always hated that thing," he croaked darkly.
"But at least you'll sleep," Donatello sighed, standing up. "We'll check up on you in the morning. `Night, Leo."
He only raised a hand in his weak way of saying good night. Yet somehow, he managed to whisper before his other brother could leave, "Raph, could you stay a little bit longer?"
"Leo, I'm tired, my arm still hurts, and I'm not in the mood to baby-sit," he growled. "Besides, why do you want me to stay held captive?"
"You don't think I'm going to count sheep, now do you?"
A fearful look of disbelief and appall came upon his face at once. "No way, Leonardo! I'm not readin' you a bedtime story! You're not ten! Can't you just listen to your music to tell you a story?"
"Just one story. I don't care what it's about. It could be a short story we all know, or something you made up."
"I'm not creative, you know that."
Leonardo coughed before he could speak again. "Please, little brother? Just this one time."
Raphael didn't want to even say another word to him. He somehow knew tonight wasn't going to be a very good one after he had his stitches. With his older brother now sick and wanting a story to help him fall asleep, it was the last straw, supposedly. If Mikey was there, he wouldn't be able to escape the teases for the rest of his days. And he really did not want them to think he was becoming soft. They'd be wondering what happened to him. But one look into Leo's eyes and the plead in his voice, he forced himself to walk back and sit on the edge, sighing.
"Alright," he gave in, "but just this once. And I don't want Mikey to hear about this. It'll ruin my reputation."
He gave him a smile in thanks. "Whatever you say."
Aw, man, what'd I do to deserve this punishment? Taking a deep breath, he began with the first words that popped into his head. "Once upon a time..." he began jokingly, then snickered. "Naw, just kiddin'. No, actually, it really isn't like that. Uh..." He stared up at the ceiling for a few moments. "...there is this family of four, consistin' of a father, mother, and their two kids."
"They have sons?" Leo interrupted like he was a small child.
"Eh...yeah, they are, I guess."
"Just the two?"
"What, you want them to have sisters? Not all families have one of each, you know."
"Are they turtles?"
"God forbid, what's wrong with you?" he nearly shouted. "Of course they're not, it's a family of a father, mother, and their four sons! And they live in a house out in the... West, somewhere..." He waved a hand in emphasis, unsure what to say.
"I don't know, Leo! Ohio for all I care! Now be quiet! When you tell a story to a sick brother, you can make up whatever you want! If you wished, you could have them live underwater. But this is my bedtime story I'm tryin' to make up in less than five minutes. Are you going to let me finish this, or are you going to keep interruptin'?"
The oldest brother hung his head. "Sorry, Raph. I think the medicine's getting to me."
"Then I should just go to bed, then," he concluded, getting up.
"No, no, keep going!" Leo cried out, grabbing his arm. "Don't let me stop you!"
Raphael sighed heavily, pinching his brows as he sat back down. "Okay, Leo, whatever you say. Now, where was I?"
He rolled his eyes. "Fine. So, anyway, there are four brothers in Ohio. Not... like us, but somewhere close to it. They each share a room with another brother, the two youngest together, and the two oldest. The littler ones love being together, so much, they share each other's clothes, toys, anythin'. Their parents believe right there they created a perfect family relationship. However, with the other two, they are complete opposites. Though they are a year apart, they're not as close. They hate each other, well, the second oldest does, anyway. His reason is because his older brother tends to get the most attention then him. He has nothin' against the little ones, he doesn't care much for them. But he had the human nature to be prideful, envious, all the bad stuff humans tend to have. And he had a truckload of envy in his system when it came to gettin' attention or to even be the oldest.
"Now, forget when I said they're opposites, they're more than that. They're like the polar bear and penguin, they can't seem to get along. That's why they're on opposite ends of the Earth. Get what I'm sayin'?"
Leonardo nodded. "Sure. Polar opposites."
"Exactly. The oldest brother was a great athlete, wonderful skills. He was popular—with the girls mostly—intelligent, an honor student, was one of the best in the school; everyone loved him. The other, though he's smart, he's not like him. Apparently, he can't play sports very well, the girls tend to avoid him somehow, and he isn't an honor student. So this results in competition between the two. But the worst part of it all is the fightin'. The envious brother starts them all with small topics, like why their parents favor him more, or why he got all the good dates."
"Quick question," his brother spoke up, a hint of sleepiness in his tone. "How come you didn't give them names?"
Raphael grumbled, rolling his eyes. "Fine, Bill and Dil."
"Aw, great. How about... Samuel being the oldest and... Abraham as the second oldest."
"Why those names?"
"Maybe they're Amish," he retorted sarcastically. "Come on, do you expect me to come up with wonderful, exotic names at this time?"
"I didn't think so. Now, as I was sayin', Abraham was always arguin' with Samuel about this and that. One day, he had it when his brother went out on a date with the girl he crushed on. Of course, they'd been going out for a while, but he just first heard of it, and he snapped. So one day, they're on the roof throwin' down toys their younger siblings tend to throw up there. Abraham sneaked up to him from behind, and pushed him off the roof." He saw in the darkness Leo's eyes widening, and mentally chuckled. This was fun. "Down below was a pool they had, but... he missed. Not on purpose right there, but Samuel missed the water and hit the smooth rock instead. From below, one of the younger ones screamed, loud enough to be heard in a two-block radius.
"Now, Abraham freaked out, knowin' he was dead when his parents would catch him, and the police if he killed his brother. So he quickly got off when the other brothers were inside to get their mother, and hurried out of the side gate. With no time to get his things, he ran off toward the city as fast as he could. He had nothin' with him but the clothes on his back, and he lived in the streets for a couple of months. And yet, durin' this terrible time, unexpected things began to surface in the city. From a nearby television, the news about his brother havin' survived the fall from the rooftops was mentioned, and though critical, he was stable. Later, when it was expected he'd live, he'd be crippled for life, and because he suffered brain hemorrhage, some of his memory and speech was disabled. Abraham just kept on runnin' from the law, if it was so.
"Occasionally, he'd sneak back home to check on the family. He noticed his younger siblings weren't as playful as they used to be, his father was workin' harder and longer, and his mother cried a lot. Samuel returned home after a month-and-a-half, but he never saw him in the house. After wallowin' in his misery long enough, he decided one day to return to redeem himself. Cold, thin and frightened, Abraham stood at the doorstep, recitin' his apologies and confession. When he walked inside, however, he was so sure his parents would yell at him and turn him to the police, he didn't think one of his little brothers would hug him tightly, cryin' and sayin' how much he missed him. His parents hurried around the corner to embrace him, sayin' how they were so worried, they had a search party going on since Samuel's injury. It explained the police cars crawlin' up and down the streets, and he wished he listened to his gut sooner.
"When he was allowed to see his eldest brother, he was saddened to see his jealousy caused him to lose his ability to walk, and he couldn't speak completely at the moment. His mother had mentioned that Samuel had kept... askin' where Abraham was the couple of weeks he was home." Raph paused quickly to control the lump in his throat. Leo was ready to fall asleep, so he didn't notice the gap or the sudden break in his voice, though his eyes slightly darted up to him. "Sorry. So, he fell to his knees in tears, beggin' for forgiveness and explainin' why he was led to commit the terrible crime.
"In the middle of his reasonin', his brother reached out to place a tremblin' hand on his head to quiet him, a way to say without words he understood and there was no need to keep explainin'. And with smaller sentences than he would've said, he mentioned how he always felt about him, how he wished he wasn't the eldest here and there. Samuel even said the fights they had hurt his feelin's as it only destroyed the bond he tried so hard to strengthen. Due to his current condition, he lost his speech half-way, but by then, Abraham was already bawlin' and huggin' him, apologizin' over and over again.
"That night changed the siblings' bond, and within time, the crippled boy regained his speech and full use of his hands, but he was to be forever handicapped. Luckily for him, they had sports for the disabled, and was able to participate in those in the long run. At home, he and Abraham would play basketball, video games and other stuff brothers do normally. The hatred in the family was gone, and though they still argue here and there, it was nothin' major anymore. Through thick and thin, the two stuck together at times of trouble. The terrible memories were still there, but they've been left behind to make room for the hopeful ones."
Leonardo yawned slightly, then raised a hand meekly. "Eh... bro?"
"You didn't hear about this on the news, did ya?"
He scoffed. "No. It's only a story, it can't be real."
"If it was, how old were they?"
"Erm... around ours. And in present times, probably settled down and married. Don't expect this to turn into a sequel, `cuz it won't."
His brother sleepily grinned. "So it's a happily ever after?"
"That phrase is a curse," Raph warned, pointing a finger at him. "One rarely has a happily ever after. And besides, it's too clichéd."
Leo giggled, a result from the medicine. "I see your point."
Nodding, the red-banded turtle had his turn in yawning, stretching his arms to find the pain had numbed over the course of however many minutes he was there telling the story. "Well, I'm off to bed," he said. "My arm's better now, and I'll be able to get the rest I need."
He blinked at his brother's response. "Um... yes, that's it."
"I was expecting something, though."
"Well, tough luck," Raphael stated, standing up. He made sure his brother was snuggled in his covers before cuffing his head lightly. "`Night, knucklehead."
"What, no good night kiss?" he slightly whined in disappointment. Well, the medication did, anyway.
"Good night, Leo," he sighed, exiting the room quickly. Leaving the door open a crack, he left for his room, shaking his head. "This isn't good on my part as the hothead," he muttered to himself. When he spotted the pile of toys in front of Michaelangelo's bedroom, he perked up. "Well, in the mornin', I'll be feelin' better anyway." He slipped through his door, cackling quietly and rubbing his hands together.
His reputation was still intact, it seemed, as he slightly fixed his alarm for five minutes earlier than normal. So far, so good.