Author's Note: Sorry for the wait. This was one of those chapters that got deleted by accident. It was just tedious trying to re-write it all after having just finished editing it and having it be perfect. It was just...meh...and the idea of having to not only type it up again, but then edit it AGAIN, was disconcerting and I didn't want to. So i put it off. But last night, something was in the air, and I knuckled down and got like, 3 chapters done in 3 different stories. it was epic. So here is chapter 3, I hope you enjoy and was worth the wait
~Odd Men Out~
By: Melissa the Damgel
Two days prior:
"Let us begin." Splinter said and motioned for Leonardo to lead their opening katas.
"Father, Raph and Don aren't here yet." Leo's brows knotted up, glancing toward the door.
"Are they sick?" Michelangelo bounced on the balls of his feet, fidgeting in place with little wiggles of his fingers and tail.
Splinter shook his head, his hands settling upon the top of his staff reverently. His whiskers twitched and his tail swept the floor before he released a sigh. "No, my sons, Raphael and Donatello will not be joining us. I do not know how long they will be gone, for they have left on a journey of their own making to understand the turmoil and darkness within themselves."
Mikey's head snapped to Leo, his eyes wide and his mouth working uselessly. Leo squared his shoulders and stepped forward, stiff and tall. "I don't understand, I thought everything was going all right between them. It seemed like they had…uh-"
"We figured they were together because they were boinking each other! If something's wrong, why did they go together?" Mikey's eyes grew wide and he swallowed a giggle as he scurried to Leo's side, his hands raised near his mouth. "Is it a honeymoon?" He squeaked. Darting his eyes to Leo, he bounced a little as he turned. "Can we go on a honeymoon? It's not fair that they got to go!"
"Michelangelo, quiet yourself." Splinter waved his hand and then motioned to the mats at their feet. The three of them sank to the floor, kneeling, and with a slow and deep breath, Splinter looked each of his remaining sons in the eye before he spoke. "It is not my place to speak of their trials. But no, Michelangelo, it has nothing to do with a honeymoon. I'm afraid they have been cheating themselves through their….activities, for a long time."
Leonardo's head bowed, his fists tightening on his knees. Mikey glanced from one to the other, his brows knotting, his breathing increasing, a bit of sweat beading along his brow. "I…I don't understand." His voice quivered and he licked his lips, though his blue eyes weren't as confused as he acted.
"It's us, Mikey, they left because of us." Leo whispered and reached for his hand.
Mike's lower lip trembled, his fingers twining with Leo's desperately with a little hiccup escaping him.
Splinter looked down to his knees and shook his head, his shoulders slumping. "Yes, their spirits are darkened because of the rejected feelings that never had a chance to be expressed. But," he paused and caught both of their eyes, demanding their attention, "do not blame yourselves. That is not the only reason. Raphael and Donatello have created a situation of their own that needs attention, or I fear our family will never recover."
A week later:
Raphael swore as they dove into an alley near the shuttle they had hitched a ride on. It was insane, the amount of work they've gone through just to sneak out of the city; twisted up like sardines atop a van that left the airport with a young couple on their honeymoon. Donnie and he, hunkered down, hoping the duffle bags and suitcases hid them well enough as the van weaved its way through the busy streets, their legs twisted together to stay put. That was just the ride from the airport, now, waiting for the opportunity to hop aboard a ferry that would take them from the main island to the smaller one that held the resort; Raphael keenly felt the effects of over twenty-six hours of travel weighing down on him. What was he thinking when he said yes to this Destination Ninja-Nightmare?
Oh, right. Donatello smiled at him.
Brainiac waved him closer and they hunkered down behind a crate. Pointing, Raphael followed and stared out at the water. The sea sloshed against the docks and lapped at the stones, but nothing happened. He raised a brow and got an eye roll out of Donnie for that. He jabbed his finger back at the docks.
He still didn't get it, but Donnie was lead on this, and trust him he would. He shrugged and nodded and Don rolled his eyes again, grabbing his wrist to pull him along. "The anchor, shell-for-brains."
Oh! Well that made more sense. Wait, anchor? He shot him a look and Don waved him to follow, and he did.
They stalked the path of moonlight, using the patches of shadows the clouds created to stay hidden even as they left the concealment of the buildings and entered the open space between. When they reached the dock, they tumbled over the side of the pier and hung there before easing themselves into the water. Floating on their bellies, Raphael followed Donatello through the lapping sea water. It was warmer than he expected. It was really nice actually; even in the dark of night, it was relaxing to lay here in the water.
"Raph, I couldn't figure out a way to board the ferry itself. The crew members are free to move around the boat to do what they need to do. I couldn't risk us getting caught, so, it got me thinking, what if we hung from the anchor?" They stayed as silent as possible, and Donatello pulled himself forward once they reached the large and heavy steel of the ferry. "It's hidden from view from the crew and most of the people wandering on the docks wouldn't see us in the dark, and we could use the anchor to ride to the island." He whispered.
The ferry was wide and tall. Raphael could see the railing that ran its length and disappeared around a bend with the captain's window sitting atop it tall and proud. "You're the leader, Brainiac." Raph smirked and Donatello wrinkled his nose at the jab. Raphael cautiously reached for the chain, his fingers slipping against the thin layer of sea foam and grime that layered the links. "What? You ain't one for bein' in charge?" he poked Don in the side and felt a little thrill at the way Donatello's cheeks colored.
"I do just fine." He huffed, dark eyes flicking up to him.
Raphael swallowed, treading water with quick movements of his arms. The moon caught in Donatello's eyes. They looked like caramels in this light; rich and heady. He turned away and stared at the ocean moving under them, so dark and mysterious, not really knowing what was swimming around beneath them, yet so bright with the moon's light.
"Shit…" Donatello hissed and glanced up at the top of the ferry.
"I just realized, this anchor has a sensor, see?" He pointed up at the deck and Raph couldn't see anything that would give Donnie that idea – the hole that the anchor went into just looked more shiny than the rest of the boat.
"If we grab onto the anchor after its being pulled up, the sensor will alert the captain that the anchor snagged something on the way up. We need to be on the chain itself."
"Well," Raphael smirked and took hold of the chain and grunted as he hauled himself out of the water in a wet rush, slipping a foot into a chain link and then wagging his brows down at Donatello "Easily enough fix." He said and offered Don a hand up and into the chill air.
Donatello raised a brow and took his hand. He climbed the chain easily, settling himself just a little above him. Raphael felt his knee bump Donatello's as he settled, and he looked away, admiring all before him. The lights of the city that he could just barely see over the edge of the docks, the movement of the water that rose and fell, like he sat upon the breath of mother earth , and from this height, he could just make out hints of fish darting about nervously below them in the shallows, attracted to the lights of the docks.
It was all so new, so beautiful. Even in the darkness, at an ungodly hour, with very little sleep, Raphael's heart raced and he smiled, catching Donatello's eyes and feeling himself swell in anticipation. A real jungle…
The chain jerked suddenly as a loud whirling noise above them made the ferry shudder. With a nod from Donatello, as the chain began to move up, they climbed down its length, slipping on the algae that had formed over the steel. Sea water, seaweed, and twisting chains cascaded over them as he scrambled to keep up with matching their ascent. All the while, Raphael kept an eye on Donnie, his movements graceful, but his bag twice as heavy as his own. He just couldn't convince the Brainiac to pack lighter. With every thump of the motor inside the ferry as it wound the anchor up, they rose closer and closer to the top and Raphael's heart beat a rhythm against his ribs. His foot slipped as it touched the curved surface of the anchor itself and his toes curled, gripping at it. His eyes darted to Donatello as he too gasped and lost his footing. Raphael jerked his hand out, grabbing blindly for Donatello and his fingers curled into the strap that ran across his chest. Knuckles white, teeth gritted, Raphael snarled and moved with Donatello's fall as he fell backwards, away from the ferry. The anchor swung and the chain scraped loudly against its port, and Raphael's nails dug into the slime and steel and Donatello stopped with a jerk, straining his bicep. Donatello's hands scrambled against his arm, holding tight. God he was heavy. Raphael looked to the chain, how the edge of the ferry was right there, men talking, lights moving and getting closer and closer as the chain pulled them relentlessly closer to the ship's crew. He turned back to Donatello, the brainiac's eyes so wide, so full of shock as he dangled there below him, and he was just a slip of Raphael's grip away from plummeting back into the ocean.
He'd never let go. A fire burned and as if his muscles felt no strain, he grunted and held to him as tight as he could.
Just then the anchor trembled to a stop. The Brainiac moved about, planting a foot onto the side of the ferry and with some maneuvering he was wriggled up the side of the ferry. Raphael cursed as he flexed his arm, pulling him straight up, and as Donnie's fingers curled into his belt and the other grabbed the chain, the genius made it safely back atop the anchor.
Donatello fell forward and Raphael panted, reaching around him and tugging him close. "Don't do that again." He hissed, his nose brushing Donnie's.
"Sorry." Donnie's face flushed and Raph snorted, weaving his fingers into Donatello's belt, tightening his hold. With a shiver, Don slid his arm about his hips and Raphael swallowed hard, watching Donnie yet never catching his eyes. "Thanks, Raphie. I'll…I'll make it up to you." He said suddenly, and Raphael felt his belly twist, his mouth dry. What?
Donatello refused to look at him, though he could see his cheeks blossom to a deeper shade, and he saw the way his throat bobbed. Raphael licked his lips and shrugged, holding onto him a little tighter. "Don't worry about it. It's my job ta watch yer back, remember?" his voice sounded hoarse, even to his ears. He couldn't seem to look at him either; so he looked out at the ocean and thought of everything but the way Donnie's arm was wrapped about his waist, or the way his thigh was so warm where it pressed against his.
The ride to the island was rather uneventful after that; though beautiful. The sun began to rise halfway there, just barely brightening the sky even as it still hid beneath the edge of the world. White waves kicked up and shoved out of the way of the ferry's path with fiery reds in the clouds above making the ocean burn around them in flickers of brilliant light.
The ferry pulled into the docks an hour later and as the anchor lowered, Raphael and Donnie let themselves slide into the water with it and beneath the surface, letting go to swim away from the pier. Being under the water, following Donatello, watching how even in the water he moved with grace, he was instantly glad Donatello was in charge at the moment. They swam off a ways, hiding in the chillier water within the shadows beneath the docks before they slid back into the air and took a breath of air, treading water as they looked about.
It was easy enough finding the abandoned boat. It was a dingy; old and white-washed by the sun, and by the looks of the dried, salt encrusted rope tying it to the dock, it hadn't been out to sea in at least a year or more. They crawled into it, staying hunkered and low as they shoved their things into the watertight compartment at the bow, Raphael jerking about to keep watch.
The engine didn't work. Donatello, quick to work, pulled the cover off and fiddled with the guts of the engine. Raphael peeked over the dock, swaying with the rise and fall of the swells. It took longer than he wanted; at least by ninja standards; but after ten minutes of work, the engine squealed to life and rumbled into a clunky, clattering machine. Reversing, Raphael sat down hard at the abrupt movement. He cursed again under his breath and Donnie smiled at him.
Once they got out into the open water, zipping past the few slow moving boats out there and sleepy eyed fishermen in dingys, Raphael leaned back and enjoyed the ride. The sea air was – strange at first. It wasn't like how New York's bay smelled. It was muggier for one, like he was breathing in the moisture from a steamy shower. It was fresh too. He hadn't considered that possibility, how the air and water would smell and look so pure. He could see hints of fish darting about below them beneath cerulean waves even as the motorboat sped past and danced across the top of the water.
It was actually relaxing, the ride there. It was less than half an hour, but as Donatello slowed the boat and turned it toward shore, Raphael missed the last half of the journey already. He raised a brow and glanced at him, gripping the side of the dingy.
Don chuckled. "We're about a six mile walk from the resort. I found this little beach in my research. It's not much, but it'll hide the boat and give us some breathing room."
"Fair enough." He shot him a grin of his own – but then they lurched forward and Raphael reeled with the momentum, banging his head against the edge of the boat.
It was Donatello's turn to curse as he flipped the boat's engine off.
"What the shell?" Raph shouted, touching the back of his head and coming away with blood.
"The rocks! I forgot to account for the tide." He cursed again and Raphael glanced down. Water began to seep into the boat.
"I know!" he snapped, and stood sharply. His temper cooled instantly as the boat rocked upon the rocky outcropping, effectively stuck. "This is just great." He grumbled and hunkered down to check the damage. It wasn't so bad, but the fact they were stranded had much to be desired.
Raph's head swiveled about, looking from one side of them to the next and scowled; then he punched Donatello in the arm. "Seriously, Brainiac? You got us stuck on the only set of rocks in the entire area?"
"Just shut up, will you?" He grumbled and threw the anchor overboard, settling them firmly upon the rocks.
"We'll have to swim. We'll probably have to drag the boat behind us." Donnie explained, holding up a series of ropes tied to the bow.
Sighing, Raphael reached for one and considered it for a moment. "So much for relaxation."
"It'll be worth it." Don assured, that soft smile of his appearing and Raphael frowned, gazing right back at him and he didn't miss the flicker in the darker eyes, the hesitation, the way his fingers gripped that much tighter on the rope as uncertainly clouded his features. "I'll…I'll make it up to you. Promise." He said and his dark eyes dimmed even if the smile remained. He didn't believe that smile for some reason. It just reminded him of that time when he had gone into Donnie's lab and flicked the lights off, then without really saying anything, had pulled him from his chair and bent him over his workstation. He hadn't really been gentle. He and Leo had been bickering about his night out with Casey and the way Leo had pointed that finger at him and poked him in the shoulder had infuriated him as well as made him horny. A few more shoves and Raphael stormed off. He had taken out his frustration and lust on Donnie…and afterwards, after they had had a moment to breathe again and Donnie was sitting beside him with a tremble rolling through his body, he had apologized, and Donnie had just smiled, small and sweet.
He realized now, it was because it didn't reach his eyes.
He rubbed his neck and glanced away, his cheeks coloring. "Don't worry about it." He mumbled. "Our plans never go the way we want them to. Turtle luck and all that."
A second later, Donatello hopped into the water. Raph followed, holding tight to his rope.
They pulled on the ropes and the boat hissed and shrieked as they dragged it across the rocks. "The anchor!" Raph shouted over the waves and without hesitation, he dove under the water, following the chain down.
It was so pretty. Honestly. Raphael hadn't seen anything like this. He glanced around, spying Don's legs kicking in the water to keep him buoyant, the rainbows of color as fish darted by in schools of shimmering silvers and reds, a vibrant blue starfish inched its way along the bottom, its spindly legs rolling and curling and Raphael thought it looked like a Christmas bow with bumps and spines than a sea creature. Prickly anemones lined the bottom like pincushions, a striped shark with a wide mouth twisted, and the light from the sun filtered through the water-
Raphael lost his breath as the shark rounded toward them, no more than a hundred yards away. Flailing, he swam for the surface and shouted before he could even take a breath, "Shark!"
Donatello jerked and twisted, the fin just breaching the surface. Donnie's mind instantly worked as Raphael reached for him, pulling him back toward the boat.
"No! The shoreline! We don't know how long he'll circle us if we get in the boat.
And Donatello turned, kicking and stroking as fast as his muscles could. Raphael roared and took off after him, panic racing through his blood, his heart galloping against his ribs. He couldn't look back, he couldn't – he could see the fin gaining on them.
He plunged his hands into the water, head over end, his thighs burned as he pushed himself, forcing himself to go faster. He passed Donatello then reached back and grabbed his hand, yanking him forward and ahead of him.
He could see it now, under his arm with every stroke, the striped shark's black eyes, emotionless and predatory as it moved closer, his mouth opening wide to reveal three rows of serrated teeth.
Suddenly his fingers jabbed into sand and just like that, he was on his feet, scooped Donatello up under his arm, splashing wildly into the shallows s he dragged them both to shore.
He collapsed, coughing and sputtering sea water and Donatello wretched beside him, pulling his toes from the last inch of water with a shiver and gag.
Raising his head and feeling as if he were spinning, he saw the shark circle along the very edge of the beach, as close as he could get without getting stranded.
Donatello coughed again, his breaths hiccupping and ragged, sand clinging to his cheek and lips where he lay. Wild eyed and shaking, he lifted his hand to touch Raphael's head where it still throbbed from when he hit it on the boat, and his fingers came back bloody.
"Shit." Raphael's head throbbed and his forehead thumped back down onto the sand, his fingers gripping at the beach as he sipped at the air to try and keep himself from coughing.
"Welcome to the Philippines."
"Fuck the Philippines. I want my money back."
Donatello smiled, and his dark eyes seemed to glimmer before he collapsed, his head on his shoulder and they just laid there, his arm wrapped about Don's waist, the sun heating above, and a hungry shark circling at their feet.
I love the shark XD ahahahhaha!
Tiger sharks are known for eating sea turtles ;)
~Melissa the Damgel