Raphael grunted in annoyance and rolled back over, after pounding the pillow with a fist. He had no idea what had woken him, and it was too late or early to care. He was almost asleep when he thought he heard a dull thud.
Raphael slid his eyes open to the odd sliver of sound. Still lingering in that odd disorientation between sleeping and waking, he only listened for a moment heard nothing but silence. Yawning, he rolled over, and surrendered to the warmth of his pillow. The welcome oblivion was rudely interrupted by the soft lurching footfalls. Raphael's eyes shot open, and he propped himself up on one elbow, the other hand instinctively going towards the sais he kept at his bedside.
He heard the shudder of breath, the hesitation, and then watched the flicker of light as the shadow over the floor staggered, and nearly toppled. Raphael heard the sharp grunt of pain, as somebody collided against the wall, and righted himself.
Warily, he leaped from the bed and halted, tersely.
He heard the footsteps erratically shuffle past the bedroom door, towards the bathroom.
He opened his door, and relaxed a bit. The darkness was too much for him to make out any more than the curve of shell. One of his brothers.
Raphael was now wide-awake, sleep-deprived, and pissed.
Scowling, he shoved his bedroom door open, and squinted in the wan light. His brother-whoever it was-suddenly jerked his head over his shoulder,and was standing rigidly as a trapped animal. Raphael sidestepped back into the darkness,and stood still, waiting. His brother was cloaked in the shadows too deep for him to decipher the identity. The fear radiating from him was almost palatable, from the trembling, to the huge-eyed stare at the vacant hall. Raphael could see nothing of the face but the ivory glimmer of the eyes. His brother bowed his head, and shook it with a wince, clutching at a temple as if in pain.
The only thing Raphael heard was the groan, as the figure doubled over, and clutched his arms against his gut. There was the panicked whimper, as one fist balled against his jaw,as if to stop it shut, before he staggered into the bathroom.
The shaft of light imploded over the darkness as the bathroom door was flung open, showing the bright flare of blue over the bent shell. Raphael stepped forward,alarmed. He heard the sounds of Leo's abdominal distress, complete with gagging, and small grunts of pain.
Leo was too preoccupied with attempting to reach the commode to even note Raphael's presence. The sick turtle's face was pale and twisted, as Leo frantically lurched forward, slithered downward,and fumbled to his knees before crawling again.
Leo struggled with the monumental task of arranging limbs to stay upright. He wobbled like a newborn foal, propelled onward by the bile that was burning its way up his throat.
Raphael heard the small, pleading whine as Leo clutched at the toilet lid, hauled himself a few more inches, and then the sob as Leo lost his grip, and fell. There was only the low groan of pain as Leo's face contorted, and stuffed a fist in his mouth to muffle his crying.
Suddenly, Leo lurched upward, with a panicked squeak towards the commode. Leo shut his eyes, and choked it down but was unable to stop the searing that was threatening to erupt from his stomach. Raphael heard the agonized groan. Leo was shuddering and in tears as he leaned over the commode's edge, propped up on nothing more than willpower and his shaking limbs There was another low moan, and the tortured gasps as Leo's stomach emptied itself only after convulsing as if to deepen the anguish. It was a sickening sound, the retching. Leo rocked back on his haunches when it was over, and stared down at his plastron, the pale line of the aftermath shimmering. Raphael watched as Leo lay a finger over the mess, lowered his head in defeat, shut his eyes, and sobbed.
Raphael regretted the bellow as soon as he heard Leo's shrill cry. Leo instinctively scuttled backwards a few inches, and stared up at Raphael in absolute terror. Dumbly, Leo's eyes flickered downward towards the mess he had made, and then back towards Raphael.
"Raph?" His voice was shaking and barely above a whisper.
"Leo, what the hell? What's wrong?"
Leo only quaked in answer, his eyes ravaged and bloodshot. Raphael glared down at him, eyes narrowing in scathing appraisal, before he stepped away uncertainly.
"Leo, are ya hurt?" Raphael's tone was soft, and scared, as if he were addressing a frightened child.
The white line of pain between Leo's eyes only sharpened, as he warred between the truth and the last sliver of his dignity. Raphael scowled at Leo's paltry attempt to preserve the last shred of it, however foolishly.
"I'm fine, Raph." Leo's voice was trembling, and slurred, but the eyes that slid up to Raph's were brittle.
Raphael snorted at that, even as he held out a hand to haul Leo off the floor. Leo cringed away, and snarled, "I'm fine, Raphael. Damn it, just leave me alone!"
The words exploded between them, as Leo just slumped against the wall, as if even speaking was too much. He could feel the weight of Raphael's glare almost like a burn.
Raphael only exhaled sharply, as he grit his teeth, tore into Leo's shoulders, hauled him upright, and slammed him shell first into the wall. Leo went rigid at the touch, as Raphael hissed, "Ya wanna tell me what's with ya, Leo, or do ya need some more-"
Raphael's eyes widened, when the stench of the alcohol, laced with vomit, rolled up between then. Raphael hurled the accusation without thinking and waited for the denial for long, scared seconds.
"Ya ain't sick. You're drunk!"
Leo winced at the loud sound, and only gave him a hazy glare in answer.
"Answer me, Leo. You're drunk, ain't ya?"
Leo's shoulder hitched, and he gave Raph a curt nod. "Fine, Raph. I'm drunk, okay? Happy now?"
Leo's voice was tired, bitter and trailing off, as he lowered his eyes to the floor.
Raphael smirked. "Well, well, well. I guess Fearless ain't such a good boy all the time, then. Nice to see this side of ya!"
He sarcastically clapped Leo's shoulder in cruel congratulations, as Leo flinched at the touch.
"Don't call me that!" It was a snarled hiss, as Leo wiped some of the muck from his jaw.
Raphael's mouth quirked, as he tilted his head to the side, half amused, and half enraged. "I think I'll call you whatever the hell I please, Fearless. You ain't in any position to argue, 'specially not now."
Leo only growled and tried to shrug the grip off of his shoulders. Raphael only grinned, and held on tighter. "Ya ain't goin' anywhere, Fearless. Not if ya can't even walk upright."
"Let go of me." The order was as brutal and sudden as a slap.
It was ground out between his quaking jaws, as he tried and failed to jerk his shoulder away from the insistent fingers. Raphael only growled in answer, knuckles curling deeper into Leo's arms, as Leo tensed and struggled.
"Raph...let go of me!" It was shrill, and scared as Leo floundered through the uncordinated rigid spasm and sharp jerks.
Raphael only smirked at him, as Leo whimpered, as his face contorted, and his hand flew to clamp his mouth shut.
Leo shuddered against the increasingly invasive hands, and with a cry, suddenly flung himself backwards. Raphael snarled as he slammed Leo into the concrete, shell first. It was truly a harmless blow, only intended to sober Leo up enough to get some damn answers.
Leo hit the wall with a thunderous crack, and winced, doubling over, trying and failing to shove Raphael away.
"Raph, let me go! Please! I'm going to-"
His eyes bulged in panic, and he tilted his jaw upward, his free hand frantically gesturing towards his throat. Raphael cursed as he held Leo upright with one hand and quickly snatched the wastebasket with the other.
Leo buried his face in the small trash can, as his body convulsed and he heaved in tears, gagging and choking. Raphael numbly lowered him into sitting, set the can down between his knees, and just held onto Leo.
Leo rocked back on his haunches, panting and grimacing as he shut his eyes, and shook his head.
"Ya better now?" Raphael quirked an eyebrow as Leo just whispered, "Raph...I'm sorry."
Leo's voice was scaped raw, as he just shook his head, ignoring the tears that were silently sliding down his trembling chin.
"I'm sorry." Leo just flung a helpless hand up, let it flop in his lap, defeated.
Raphael stepped back, blinked, drew a deep, cleansing breath, and rolled his eyes heavenward, as if for guidance. Hell, he was no good at this comforting crap.
"Okay, Leo...geeze, take it easy, will ya?" Raphael whispered, oddly gentle, as Leo only lowered his head, ashamed.
"I..I never planned on anybody seeing me like this." His voice was torn, and so very tired with guilt.
Raphael smirked, as he shook his head. "Never mind about now, bro. It's the morning hangover that's gonna suck."
Leo only gave him a tired smirk back. "It would hardly be the first morning that I do practice hungover, Raph."
Leo's smirk deepened in sad triumph as Raph tilted his head, dubiously. "Ya mean you've done this to yourself before?"
Leo's head flopped into the nod, as he nodded, exhausted. "Sometimes, it's just too damn much, Raph."
"Leo..." Raph stared down at his brother, wilted and slumped against the wall, absolutely defenseless, and still in tears.
"What made ya decide to do this tonight?"
Leo's eyes were dulling and already half closed, as the words slid into dreamy murmuring, "I'm not fearless, Raph. Hell, I'm more scared than the rest of you will ever, ever know."
Raphael saw the tired remorse flicker over Leo's face, as he stared at his brother, pleading. "I'm sorry, Raph."
And with that, Leo's boneless sprawl was nearly complete,as his hands flopped uselessly, and he shut his eyes. Raphael watched as Leo's tense frame slumped into drunken oblivion. Leo had passed out.
The barrage of insults died in his throat, as did the sarcasm. Somehow, seeing Leo lay there like that, broken, scared, lost, and too drunk to really punish, made all of those things useless now.
Shaking his head, Raphael gently propped Leo up against the wall, and eyed him to make sure he wouldn't topple. Raphael was wordless as he opened a drawer, scooped out the pile of clean rags, turned on the sink, and started soaking them.
Leo was completely limp and mercifully oblivious as Raphael grumbled, but gently wiped away the muck and the stench from Leo's face. His brother stayed lax when Raphael flung the rag away in disgust, and poked Leo's shoulder.
"Leo, time ta get up. Ya need to go to bed."
Leo moaned,and Raphael nudged him harder. "Leo. Come on, let's getcha to bed."
Raph whispered softly. Leo slud dull eyes open, at the sound of his name. "Raph? Wh-" It was slurred out, as Leo's eyes shut and his head drooped.
Raphael shook his head with a sigh. He was infinitely careful as he hefted Leo off the cold floor, and draped him over his shoulder.
Leo did not stir, other than tossing his head and muttering something too disjointed and soft to make out. Raphael said nothing as he padded into Leo's room, balanced Leo with one arm, and yanked his covers back with the other.
Carefully, he eased Leo down onto the mattress, rolled him onto his side,and propped him there with a few pillows in case he vomited in the night. He pulled the quilt over his brother as Leo sighed and curled deeper into the warmth.
Raphael stared long at the tilted face of his brother, eyes shut in sleep, that tense, wary line between his eyes finally smoothed away, even if it took alcohol to reach this point. Raphael shook his head, stared at the clock on the wall, and settled himself down in the chair to keep a quiet vigil. In the morning, when the grey shards of light swept over the lair, he would deal with Leo's hangover, headaches, vomiting. In the morning, he would make his excuses to Master Splinter for Leo, and say nothing of scrubbing the puke off his brother, or holding his head above the toilet as he wretched and sobbed. In the morning, he would be there at Leo's bedside with a smirk, a glass of water, and the headache medicine, as he would somehow keep Donny occupied, and Mikey away.
But, for now, he'd just sit and watch Leo slumber away the torture that drove him to this. In the morning, when Leo would finally emerge from this stupor, he's be humiliated and apologetic, and anguished over what he had done. Raphael had briefly pondered the merits of exposing Leo's drunken, stumbling mistakes to the amusement of his brothers. And then, he watched, as Leo stirred, whimpering in the quiet. Raphael was at his side in seconds, worryingly staring as Leo twisted in some troubled dream.
Raphael felt awkward as hell, when he eased his hand over Leo's shoulder, and whispered, "Easy, Leo. It's alright. I'm here,bro. I'm here."
Leo tensed, and shifted in the sheets, as he hazily opened his eyes. Raphael halted, as Leo's shaking fingers slid over his, and brushed them.
"I know." It was faintly spoken, with a tired, tired smile. "You've always been there, Raph."
The words trailed off as Leo yawned, blinked, and went back to sleep. Raphael said nothing as he pulled the blankets around his brother, hand lingering under Leo's.
Yawning himself, Raphael stared with longing for his own bed, but shrugged it off as he settled back into his perch, to watch his sleeping brother, and keep away the nightmares.