They Might Fall

By: Melissa the Damgel

"Hold still."

"Shit, it hurts."

"I know." Donatello's brows knotted together and he leaned forward, the curved doctor's needle easily piercing Raphael's flesh to sew the gash back together. He hated seeing him like this; cut up, bruised, battered, his heart hammering in his chest as if they were still in the middle of a battle, and Raphael's eyes squeezed shut, teeth gritted against the pain. It wasn't the pain of the needle; it was all the hours of suppressing every injury he received as they fought their way out of what felt like hundreds of Foot Ninja.

"How much longer?" Raphael snarled, his fist pounding into the dirt at his knees.

"This one..." Donatello trailed off, pulling the dental floss through the last stitch and tying it off. "...done. Now-"He frowned, looking to Raphael as he relaxed just minutely, amber eyes looking to him, his throat bobbing nervously. "Now the big one." He motioned to Raphael's shoulder.

Raph actually looked away from him and Donatello took a moment to re-thread the needle, putting a good amount of length on it. His stomach roiled in his belly. None of them had had a wound as deep as the one Raphael had received tonight. It was this very wound that had forced them to finally figure out a strategy of retreat. He hated looking at it, and Donatello typically could look at most injuries or situations with a clinical eye without his emotions getting in the way; but this? He swore he could see the bone.

"Where ya want me?" Raphael grunted, eyes still staring off to the side.

Donatello's lab felt so cold then, empty but for themselves and the swivel lamp Donatello had propped up on books so he could angle it just right and see everything. "You're going to have to lie on my lap. There's no way I can reach it otherwise."

"How bad is it?"

"Bad." Donnie whispered and swallowed hard. It was just so close. The ending slice - just an inch higher up his neck and Raphael's jugular...

"Hey." Raphael grunted, his eyes jerking away from Don's face then back, his skin coloring for just a flicker before the blood loss once again drained it pale. "Don't worry, I'm okay."

He nodded quickly, licking his lips then Donatello inhaled deeply, steeling himself. "I know. Come on." he said, much stronger than he felt. "Let's get this one fixed then you can sit down and we'll watch a movie while I force you to eat as much iron based food as possible to encourage your body to create more red blood cells."

He didn't move quickly; not that Donnie really blamed him. Who would willingly dive into surgery without anesthesia? Because this is what it was. Some rubbing alcohol, a needle, and dental floss to patch him up for an injury that needed a lot more surgical equipment than he had.

Raphael inched closer to him, leaning down and he pressed his forehead to Dontello's shoulder, his breath quickening. Raphael took hold of Donatello's obi in his good hand, gripping the leather as tight as possible.

Donnie touched his cheek, leaning into him to reassure him even as he tried not to breath. The scent Raphael was giving off was floundering him, reminding him just how scared he was.

Raph finally slid down, wrapping his injured right arm as best he could around Donnie's left thigh, his cheek resting on his opposite one, and Donatello very gently placed his right arm atop Raphael's neck and he gripped his elbow, holding it firmly in place. Then he began.

It wasn't like the other cuts and gashed. It was deep. He worried the muscle might even be damaged. He could use it - as was obvious just now - but would it work the same in battle? Would he have the same strength in it? Raphael hissed, stiffening as the needle pulled the two slabs of meat back together. Once Don tied it together to secure it in place, he swallowed, his thumb rubbing along Raphael's elbow, one last moment of reassurance before he set the needle down against the lip of Raph's shell then took the rubbing alcohol. He had to make sure it was cleaned out.

Raphael screamed. His body bucked, his hand tugged hard on his obi, and his injured arm twitched uncontrollably where it was pinned between hand and thigh. The room echoed with his pain and Donatello grunted, holding his much larger brother in place through sheer determination. Raphael kicked a foot out, giving his table behind him a solid kick in the leg and the whole thing moved several feet; the heavy metal engine atop it rocked once then fell back into place with a thud.

"Raphie!' Don shouted and Raphael snarled past a sob. Donatello bit his lower lip, trying not to release him. He had to get this done.

Raphael's body gave up suddenly, slumping against his lap, his knees drawing up under him and Raphael hugged him, trembling.

Donatello blinked his eyes quickly, his hand shaking a little as he tossed the empty alcohol bottle to the side and picked up the needle once more. The first few stitches were shaky, but once he found his center, found that clinical Donnie once more, he got to work, ignoring Raphael's shudders and whimpers and the way Raph tugged on his waist consistantly.

It took nearly an hour with several refills of dental floss before he finally had the wound stitched up. By the end, Raphael lay limp against him, unable to even growl anymore. An occasional twitch was all that Don got as he poked him with the needle again and again till the final knot was sewn and he clipped the stray ends off.

"Raphie..." Donatello said, finally lifting his arm off of Raphael's neck and his bloody fingers reached out to him, touching his cool cheeks. "You with me?"

He didn't answer and Donnie's heart skipped a beat. He shifted, groping at Raphael's arm and shell but relaxed as Raphael grunted.

Leaning over him, hugging his head against his belly, Donatello sighed, kissing the top of his head. "It's over."

Raphael relaxed a bit more. His injured shoulder gave a spasm though and he flinched.

His butt was numb and cold, and Don still didn't want to move and force Raphael away. He rubbed along his neck and stroked his cheek, gazing down at him. Several minutes passed before Donatello finally resigned himself and Raphael to needing to get up, and he stood quickly to help him up. He cupped Raphael's cheeks, wiping away the last traces of tears.

Raphael slid an arm about his shoulders, leaning heavily on him, head bowing, "Dun tell the others." he whispered.

"Never." Donatello whispered, holding him even as he kissed the corner of his mouth, his lower lip trembling.

"I'll be fine." Raphael's voice was so quiet, so weak and even with the reassurance and the logic of knowing he was indeed all right; Donatello couldn't stop his own delayed fear from finally bubbling up. Raphael's breathing continued to stutter and Donnie pulled him along, still intending to do what he said - plop Raphael down on the couch and force him to eat and drink everything he could find in the lair that would help his body produce as much blood as possible in the next twenty-four hours.

Once they were situated and Donnie had laid a blanket over Raphael's legs and chest, he stood there, mapping out his latest wounds along his chest and shoulders.

Amber eyes caught his darker ones and Donatello stared back, his lip quivering. Rapheal reached a shaky hand out to him, sliding his fingers along Don's wrist. "I'm okay, promise. I wouldn't lie to ya, Donnie-boy."

"That's what you always say." Donnie sank down to the sofa, curling up as close to him as he dared. With a wince but a determined grunt, Raphael lifted his good arm and wrapped it about Donatello's shoulders and pulled him against him, kissing his cheek and then kissing his eyes closed. His tongue flickered out to wipe away his tears.

Raphael pressed their brows together, his hand rubbing along Donnie's neck. Though he was weak, his scent had changed a little and Donatello cupped his cheek, swallowing hard. "I ain't been wrong yet."

"I'm afraid of the day you will be."

"Well, today ain't one of them. So suck it up, Donnie, I'll be fine."

Don actually smiled at that, weak and watery and he nodded, wiping at his cheeks. It didn't solve anything, but it put him at ease. He leaned out to the table and pushed a glass of orange juice into Raphael's hand, "Drink." he ordered, his clinical Dr. Don voice once again taking over to keep his emotions distracted.

"Eggs, steak, is that a potato?"

"And a banana, yes. Now eat it. All." He said as he straightened, holding the plate of random food up for Raphael to select from.

"Next time, I'm picking the restaurant." He grumbled but did as he was told, popping some of the cold meat into his mouth and chewing, sipping at the orange juice in-between bites.

Donatello nodded in agreement and simply watched him, his belly twisting. At least, it did until Raphael grabbed the tails of his mask and pulled him down.

"Stop over thinkin' it, Brainiac." He grunted and kissed him, nipping at his lower lip to make a point.

It worked. Donnie sank against him, returning the kiss warmly. He was right. He was just fine. They might fall, they may even die someday in the future, but Raphael was always the one who found the truth in everything. They were all right at this very moment in time. He kissed him one last time and pulled back, sighing softly. "Eat your food."