Raphael slipped into the pharmacy after taking down the security and cameras using the hacking device he'd swiped from Donatello when his Brother wasn't looking. He dug around in his utility belt, fingers seeking the crumpled wad he'd stuffed in there earlier. Throwing the wadded up bills hastily on the counter, he purposely made his way to the correct isle. He already knew what he needed, and how much they cost. This wasn't his first rodeo.
He stood shamefully in the isle regardless, once again at a loss as to what, specifically, to get. April had told him last time, but he panicked in his haste to get to her, and he'd forgotten and brought the wrong kind, ruining everything and humiliatingly had to run back for the right ones before Casey could come home.
Fingers trembling, knees shaking, he tried not to think about how wrong this all was as he slid the box from the counter. He looked over the box, checking carefully to make sure he'd gotten the proper size. He would never make a second trip like that again. Once was enough, thank you. He picked up a second one since they seemed to run out so quickly, tucked the boxes under his arm, and ran for the door...
But he jerked to a halt as he came by the chocolates. Staring at them, he knew she loved them. What where those one kinds that Casey always bought her that she loved so much? Maybe he should bring her some of those, too. No... it was too intimate. WAAAAAY too intimate. He couldn't do that. There was just no way. Not with the way she was right now. Not with what she'd called him for.
Raphael walked three feet, then walked back, tapping his foot, impatient with himself. How could it get any more intimate than it already was? But he didn't bring enough money, so he left the isle. Then he turned around and stormed back, snatching the biggest box of Hershey's Pot O' Gold they had, and ran for his life, barely remembering to close the door behind him.
This was going to be the last time. Raphael had already decided that when April had called him in tears again. He couldn't say no to her, but he couldn't keep stepping in on his best friend's job either. Besides...
April was his Sister. He loved her, he'd do anything for her, he'd steal, kill and bleed for her but this... this was just wrong. So wrong. ALL wrong.
Raphael ran, the weird mixes of nausea, embarrassment and urgency causing his stomach to tumble over itself. His feet flew as he ran to her, carrying him faster than he'd ever ran before, yet with each step, his feet felt more and more like lead weights. This sneaking around thing is what he lived for, but it was so uncool to use his master Ninja skills for sneaking behind Casey's back, when he knew all April had to do was freakin' tell Casey what she needed.
Raphael leaped the final gap leading to April's apartment. He waited 5, 10, then 15 minutes, stalling, but he knew April was waiting for him inside. He couldn't make her wait any longer, even if he couldn't get his own heart and stomach to settle down.
'I should just dump this outside here, smack the window, and leave.' he thought momentarily before dismissing the idea as it might leave her with the wrong impression. That would be the only thing worse than what he was doing now.
He slid silently down the fire escape, opting to crouch on the bars rather than standing. He could leap away a split second faster if he was discovered. He glanced about nervously before tapping her window. All he needed was to be spotted right now. THAT would go over well. He'd have to run away. He'd never live it down. She seemed to be taking forever to answer. He fidgeted by wiggling his toes.
After a moment, the window slid up, and there she was, wet, untangled hair thrown up in a mess on top of her head and dripping down onto the sill, trotting around in that soft bathrobe she liked to wear after a shower. She wore no make-up and was prettiest that way.
"Uh... I got the... stuff." he mumbled. "Is Casey still out?" he asked tentatively, using his foot to shove her aside so he could peer into the living room and kitchen for his best friend. She squeaked then laughed in annoyance, pushing the grimy appendage away from her clean bathrobe. "No... get your foot off me. You're going to have to wash them if you want to stay here!" she demanded, moving aside to allow the red banded turtle in.
His heart pounded as he slipped gracefully into her home, slamming the window closed before pawing his sai to settle his nerves. This was it. This was the last time. It HAD to be. He couldn't keep doing this for her. Last time, he'd waited too long to find his voice and as a result, attempts to tell her "No" had failed horribly. If he was going to end it, it had to be now, or never. He spun on her, shoving the boxes towards her. His face darkened in color. Maybe the chocolates were too much after all.
Her eyes skipped over the first two boxes and at the sight of her favorite chocolates, she squealed with delight, standing on her tippy toes to plant a grateful kiss on the moody ninja's firm snout. Her eyes sparkled. He'd made her day. He was her Hero. He could be proud of that. He was proud of that, but he didn't want to be.
There was another Man in her life. He needed to do this for her. HE needed to take care of her, to make sure she got what she needed, when she needed it, even if it was hard... and Raphael knew she was the only one who could make him. It didn't matter if Casey was his best friend. There was no way he could confront him about this. If Casey didn't pick up the slack, Raphael was going whup him.
Raphael stood there stupidly as he watched his beloved Sister tear open the box of chocolates and pop one into her mouth, relaxing as the sweet worked its magic on her overstressed body. He decided, uncomfortably, that he was glad he'd picked up the candies for her after all. He would do anything for her... if she really needed it... even if it was-
'No... oh no' he thought, 'You're a Man, Raphael! A MAN! Stand your ground with her and LAY DOWN THE LAW!'
He lunged towards her, almost tripping over himself, abruptly closing the distance between them. She startled as he spun her roughly and held her at arms length by her shoulders, "MPH"-ing through a mouthful of chocolate that had accidentally smeared onto her cheek. She could melt him, but he was determined not to allow it. There would be no hugging, no babying... no pussy-footing around the issue. April cringed slightly at the look on Raphael's face. She knew that look. She swallowed in a hurry, the sugar stinging the back of her throat.
"Raph! Raphael... I'm sorry! I know this is hard for you too, but you're Casey's best friend and I thought-" she started before he could say anything. He blushed furiously, words strangling his throat before the dam broke and he cut her off, more in desperation than harshness.
"Shut up, April!" he squeezed her shoulders, shaking her gently "You listen to me, okay? Just listen, cuz this is too hard to say..." He waited for her nod of agreement, breathing deeply, forcing himself to look into her eyes, those crazy bright, deep green eyes that could bend even the most hardened Ninja warrior to their whim.
"Casey's your boyfriend. I know he can be an insensitive, clueless, knuckle-dragging, thick-skulled bonehead, but he LOVES you, he'll LISTEN to you if you do what I'm doing right now. THIS is how us hard-heads get the message." He rapped his knuckles firmly on the top of her head. "Just TELL him what you need, like you did me, and he'll DO IT. He might whine but he'll give you what you need, Sis! Cuz I don't think he'd appreciate you coming to me for this sort of thing, it's just weird, and..."
The flow of words trickled to a stop as April's eyes went wide then fell with the chastising. She clenched her fists and curled her toes with embarrassment. Raphael heard a sniffle, followed by soft plops of tears falling to the floor. He let her go, horrified that he'd made her cry. Looking around nervously, he spotted the nearest thing available with which to dry her tears. He left her there for but a moment, grabbing the doily off her table while clumsily knocking aside a chair and tipping over the salt and pepper shakers, then hurried back to her.
"Hey..." he grabbed her under the chin, tilting her face up and wiped the tears away. God, he was such an idiot. She needed someone sensitive, and instead she chose Neanderthals. Donnie was good at this sort of thing, and she and Donnie were as close as he was with Casey. Why didn't she pick him instead? But here he was, scrubbing tears from her as though pressing hard would make them stop, rather than make her even more red and uncomfortable. And in the end of everything, there's no greater purpose in his life than to make her happy.
The wheel turned for him just then. That's why she trusted him with these private, intimate needs, that's why she came to him instead of Donatello. He had no finesse, no tact, and the Female Mind was his kryptonite, but he was kind and reliable. Raphael reminded April of Casey, so it was only natural for her to turn to him for help.
"Hey now, c'mon. Don't.. don't do that. Don't cry. No more tears. Dry it up, for me, okay? Please?" He dropped his voice to a whisper, even though they were alone. He only wanted her to hear the joke. It was for her sake that he cracked it anyway. "You know I can't handle those tears cuz I'm a big weenie."
A giggle burst out of April involuntarily, followed by a bubble of snot from her nose. He clapped a hand to the back of her head and pushed the makeshift hankie into her face until she obliged by blowing her nose. There. That was enough, wasn't it? He could wrap this up and go home, and forget this whole mess ever happened. He pressed the doily into her palms and snapped up another chocolate, offering it to her.
April spared him a smile. Somewhat sheepishly, she took the sweet and ate it. It was the least she could do after dragging Raphael into her personal affairs. Before she finished swallowing the first one, another was ready to take its place. She accepted that one as well, then the entire box was crammed into her arms.
"Here, you keep eatin' these." Raphael commanded, relaxing marginally only after he saw that she regained some of her happiness back with each bite.
Take THAT, Leonardo! The t.v. doesn't always lie about the habits of human females! April was proof that Women loved chocolate and it made them docile, compliant. It was Man's greatest invention over Woman and he now understood why Valentines day, Anniversaries, Birthdays, apologies, and anything regarding getting Women into the "right" moods revolved around throwing the best chocolates at the opposite gender.
She scooped up the other boxes and held them in her arms as he turned heel and walked briskly back to the window to make his exit. He had to leave on a manly note. It was the only self-redeeming thing he could do.
"TELL Casey what you need, and if Casey DON'T start takin' care of it, you tell me and I'll-" he vowed to her by smashing his fist into his palms a couple times. Promises via threats. He had one leg out the window, but when April didn't answer, his eye forced itself to her against his will. She stood there, sadly nodding while mechanically jamming confections in her mouth as directed.
Raphael kicked himself every step of the way as he marched back over to her. He couldn't say it to her face. He just couldn't. So he spun her around in the other direction and held her there, leaning as far back away from her as he could, ready to run for the hills.
"Listen... you're my SISTER, Ape, and if you needed it, really, really needed it, there's nothin' I wouldn't do for you. And I mean, NOTHING. Even... this.' he reached over her and tapped towards the contents in her arms "Cuz... cuz I, I l...lllooo... Cuz you don't suck." And with that, he darted for the open window, calling madly backwards as he scrambled to flee into the darkness before she could look at him.
"BUT YOU GOTTA TELL CASEY TO START BUYIN' YOUR DAMN TAMPONS!"