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Early enough that his brothers were finishing their morning routines, Leonardo opened the dojo, kneeling at the altar to light sandalwood incense. A holdover from when Splinter was still young enough to lead practice—he sighed. Splinter did not join them for practice any more. And Leonardo didn’t really care that the incense burner was a the statue of Buddha, but the brass dish at his base held incense well, and practice didn’t feel right without that scent in the air.

Then he went to the pile of athletic tape in the corner. He’d forgotten how many stores they’d cleaned out for the rolls upon rolls of black tape, but they’d gone from hitting the local convenience shops to stealing boxes from warehouses. Sitting down by the pile, he stretched his long legs for a moment, then relaxed with a tired sigh.

Sometimes…he really hated waking up this early just to practice. To bother his siblings to rise and work out even when Saki was dead and the clan war was over. At least Donatello had coffee to look forward to. Raphael was still dragging himself out of his hammock, and Michelangelo—

Michelangelo plopped down in front of him with a grin too cheery for the morning. Leonardo blinked, pausing with the tape at his wrist.

“You’re in here early,” he said, but he glanced at the clock. “Or did I lose track of time?”

“Hey, I don’t always play hooky in the kitchen.” Michelangelo plucked the tape out of his hand, stretching a piece and holding it out. “Here, I’ll do your arms if you do mine after.”

“…okay.”

Leonardo put his hand out and watched his brother wind the tape beneath his shoulder, fitting it snugly, slowly bringing it down to his hand. The repetitive movement lulled him into quiet, and he remembered how late he’d gotten to sleep the night before.

“Raph needs to learn to be a little nicer,” Michelangelo said softly, chuckling as a flush colored Leonardo’s face. “He should remember you like to get to bed early.”

“I should’ve known better than to say yes,” Leonardo muttered. “He’s as bad as you when he gets going.”

“Aw, you wound me.” Michelangelo began tending his hand, wrapping the tape around his fingers. “I thought I take good care of you.”

“You’re a sex weasel,” Leonardo said without any heat, simply stating a fact. “You’re just nicer about it.”

“So I’m worse than Donny, too?”

Leonardo’s eyes closed. Michelangelo understood. Donatello was as attentive as a scientist hovering over his experiment, always watching, gauging for expected reactions. Sleeping with Donatello was pleasant if unnerving—monitored every moment.

Now Michelangelo started working on the other arm. Leonardo let himself drowse, snatching what small form of sleep he could. Raphael hadn’t come in yet, so he could afford to snooze without fearing being teased. And Donatello was still finishing breakfast…

Leonardo frowned.

“What’s the matter?” Michelangelo asked.

“Don’s still not here,” Leonardo said.

“Is that bad?”

“It means he’s probably snuck back into his lab and I’ll have to drag him out again.”

“I don’t think so,” Michelangelo said mildly. “I mean, you’re probably right. He probably shot off to watch his slimes, molds and spores creep across a petri dish.”

Leonardo sighed.

“But I don’t think that he meant anything bad by it,” Michelangelo said. “Since I’m the one who told him that you called off practice.”

A moment passed before Leonard understood what Michelangelo had said. “…what?”

“Told him practice was canceled,” Michelangelo repeated with the same cheerful smile. “Told Raph, too. He just flopped back into his hammock. And Splinter’s sleeping in—don’t’ worry, I checked. So no one’s coming in besides us.”

Confused, Leonardo sat straight…and looked down at his arms—completely taped, yes, and completely tangled together. The tape from each arm had been wrapped over and under the tape around the other arm, and with a firm tug, Michelangelo pulled the ends, taking out the slack so that his forearms drew together.

“Mikey—”

“Like I said.” Michelangelo finished by wrapping the tape over and over and over his wrists, reinforcing the bindings as he tucked in the ends. “No one else is coming in. You’re in here with me for a few hours.”

Michelangelo watched the way Leonardo pulled and shifted to test that he really couldn’t pull free. The way Leonardo didn’t panic or try to run, instead lowering his arms and meeting Michelangelo’s look.

Michelangelo felt his suspicions confirmed. Leonardo even waiting for his little brother to take the next step. To dictate the next step. Michelangelo reached over to  cup his face, brushing his thumb across his brother’s cheek. The tip slid into Leonardo’s mouth up to the first knuckle, then withdrew to hover his mouth.

“What are you doing?” Leonardo whispered.

“I’m testing something,” Michelangelo said. “Can you get loose?”

“…no.”

“Are you going to run when my back is turned?”

“No.” Leonardo smiled with a faint laugh. “Not like I’d get far anyway.”

Michelangelo paused. “Do you like that?”

Blinking in confusion, Leonardo tilted his head. “What do you mean?”

“Me tying you up, knowing I’m gonna do stuff to you and you can’t stop me.”

The flush returned to Leonardo’s face twice as strong, and he lowered his eyes, refusing to look at him even when Michelangelo tilted his face up.

“I’m going to kiss you,” Michelangelo said, “so no one hears you pounding you into the mat. And I’m gonna come before you can, and then I’ll see if the coast is clear so I can take you back to my room and do it again. And I’ll keep doing it until you beg to suck me off just for a break. Then I’ll let you come.”

Leonardo’s breathing had grown labored. Michelangelo slid his thumb back into his mouth, pressing deep so that Leonardo balked. But when he tried to back away, Michelangelo caught his brother’s jaw, holding him tight.

“Do you like this?” Michelangelo asked.

“Don’t make me say—” Leonardo whispered, his voice muffled.

“No, you’re going to say it.” Michelangelo leaned close, pulling his bound arms so that Leonardo was yanked close. “Do you want me to keep doing this to you?”

He felt Leonardo’s pulse against his knuckles, felt the warm breath panting over his fingers. Leonardo’s eyes shut, and he gave one more struggle to pull away. Michelangelo held him tight as if he was holding a fluttering bird. The blush was down Leonardo’s throat, and he absolutely would not look up.

The answer was a small, silent nod.

Michelangelo wondered if his brother would have admitted that to anyone else, if he would have admitted it now if he hadn’t been captured first. Michelangelo held his brother a moment longer, savoring that unbroken vulnerability.

The kiss that followed was as fragile as a wisp of incense.