Donatello stared up at the city lights through the sewer grate. The rain came dripping down, making ripples in the water near his feet. He rested in the curve of the tunnel, his shell providing him with the support his tired body needed. He laid his bo across his lap and sighed. If only the city would shut its lights off for one moment he might be able to see the stars. As of now, it was only the yellowed street lights illuminating the rain drumming on the battered buildings above. Sometimes he yearned to be topside, to be accepted into human society, to live and work among them. Anywhere expect the sewer, living the ninja life, as Mikey liked to say. He was tired of the scrapping by, tired of needless training, and most of all, tired of the fighting. He was glad New York seemed to be settling down. Glad their enemies were all dead or in hiding. He let his mind wander, envisioning himself working in a laboratory, a clean lab, his lab. Going home to his own apartment at night, maybe a cat would welcome him at the door. He wouldn't even have to eat pizza for dinner if he didn't feel like it.
A splash down the tunnel. He lept his feet. Stupid of him to let his mind wander, how unlike the ninja he was trained to be. He sunk into the shadows, eyes narrow, his bo at the ready. Another splash, closer now. He strained his eyes, attempting to see in the dark – no easy feat for a turtle. Not for the first time that night, he cursed his species. The tunnel grew silent except for the steady drip, drip, drip of rain from the grate. After what seemed like an eternity, his ears picked up another noise. His body relaxed, he stepped into the light.
"Raph, I can hear you breathing", he called.
"Damnit Donnie," Raphael replied, splashing towards him.
Donatello resumed his resting position. "What are you doing down this way, anyway? It's your night off, remember?"
"Hey, it's yours too, remember?" Raphael came to a stop and leaned against the wall next to his brother with a grunt. "You know how it is."
Donnie continued staring up through the grate. "Restless."
"Yeah," Raph replied, stretching his arms behind his head. "As terrible as it sounds, Don, I wish we had some action around here. Ya know?"
Don looked down suddenly, wishing Raphael had stayed in the lair or had been out patrolling the city doing whatever the hell it is that he did at night. Anywhere but there.
"What?," his brother said louder than was necessary, giving him a playful punch on the arm. "Don't tell me ya don't miss it."
Donatello looked up to meet his brother's eyes, hoping he didn't give too much away. It was a curse, really, being the most sensitive among a group of brothers. He saw Raph's expression suddenly soften. Damn it.
"Ya really don' miss it. Geez, Donnie, why didn' ya say somethin'. "
"C'mon Raph." He splashed his foot around in the water puddle on the sewer floor. "You're not exactly the one everyone opens up to. And you know, you all know, that I'd rather be in a lab than on a battlefield." He fingered the knot on his belt anxiously. He had never said as much to any of his brothers before, just assumed that they already knew.
"Yeah", Raph said after awhile. "I guess I did already know dat. I guess.. I jus' figured dat.. nevermind."
Donatello looked up to respond.. and Raph was gone.
"I hate it when he does that." He muttered to himself.
When he got back to the lair Leonardo was already in the dojo, training. He yawned, wondering what could possibly keep his older brother so dedicated after all they had been through. He had sat in his spot in the sewer and watched the city lights wink out, one by one, until the sun began to poke its rays down into the tunnel. He had walked home sullenly, not feeling any better after a night of contemplation. He couldn't escape this feeling that something terribly important was missing from his life.
"Where were you all night?", Leo called without a break in his routine.
Donatello rubbed the back of his neck. He didn't need a lecture right now, he needed sleep. "Can we talk about it later, Leo? I'm sacked."
"Later, sure. It's just not like you. Raph, sure, but not you."
"Raph was gone all night?"
Leo only grunted in response.
He sighed and headed up to his lab, rolling open the large metal door as quietly as he could. He slipped in and shut it behind him, hoping he didn't wake his youngest sibling. He flipped on his bank of monitors, waiting for everything to warm up. He rubbed his eyes, the exhaustion taking its toll on him. He crossed the floor, stepping over various unfinished projects, motherboards, wires, and tools on the way to his bed- and found it already occupied. Raph was there, sleeping soundly, snuggling with a pillow. Don chuckled in spite of his tiredness. But, why here? What could have possibly brought Raphael into his room? No one else ever ventured in here without expressed permission from himself. He wanted to be angry, to feel violated in some way, but instead he was only glad to have provided his brother with a place of solace and rest. He reached out and touched Raph's shoulder gently. He didn't stir. He nudged him a little harder. Still nothing. He briefly considered staying up, making some coffee, getting some work done. Instead he crawled over Raph and laid down on his stomach on the far side of the bed. He shut his eyes and instantly slept.