Written & Performed By: WINNYCHAN
Length: 17 minutes 4 seconds
Leonardo frowned, barely glancing up from where he was sprawled comfortably with his beak buried in a paperback manga. "Don't put those back on."
Raphael had been working out the knot in his soiled leather knee-pads with the obvious intention of retying them, but now he paused to peer up at his brother. "How come?"
Leo did lift his head fully at this and leveled him a look of amicable reproach. "Are you kidding me? Look at them. They're disgusting."
Raph gave a snort of amusement and went back to picking at the knot. "Yeah, well... seems to me that ain't entirely my fault."
"I'm willing to concede that, Raph," Leo grinned, "But don't put them on, just the same. They're caked with filth.. In fact, if I'd noticed how filthy they were earlier I would have never let you set them down on my rug."
Raphael paused again to give him an incredulous look before countering, "Don't lecture me about it. You're the one who yanked em off and tossed em there!"
"Details," Leo smothered his grin and shrugged. Already his gaze had fallen back into the black and white paneled world inside his book, sounding distracted as he went on to point out, "Anyway, we've got P.T. in less than an hour."
"What's that got to do with anything?" Raphael leaned over to make a playful swing at Leo with the knee-pad.
"Gross." Leo flinched away from him with a short grunt of laughter, bringing the paperback closer to shield its pages from the knee-pad-wielding maniac. "You're not training in those." He eyed Raph warily over the edge of his book.
"An' why the hell not? We gotta dress code in the dojo now?"
"I don't want to have to listen to them squishing all through cardio," Leo explained with a shrug. "They'll drive me crazy. I would have to take drastic measures." Already, most of his attention had returned to the manga in front of him. He'd waited months for its release, and it had finally arrived by mail just this afternoon. He'd been at a really good part when Raph had intruded and successfully dragged him off into the sewers to fool around. It had been fun, but they were both sated now and he was eager to get back to it.
"So... what, you're gonna ban me from training if I wanna wear 'em?" Raph said this like he was still speculating whether or not he should test this.
Leo dragged his gaze up off the page and gave Raph a patient grin. "Trust me, Raph. You're distracting enough all by your charming self. You don't need a slimy pair of knee-pads to get my attention." He dropped his eyes back to the pages of his book as he added, "Look, just borrow a pair of mine if you don't have any clean ones."
Raph shook his head in mild amazement. Sometimes the things Leo chose to obsess over were hysterical. "Okay, fine. But only 'cause I know you ain't gonna let up until I give in about it, ya nutcase."
Sinking back against his pillows, Leonardo seemed content with the name-calling so long as it meant he would get his way. "There should be some in that dresser to your left," he said, indicating it a slight tilt of his head.
Raphael snickered as he moved towards the drawers, muttering under his breath, "Also, I'll go along with it so I can pretend you got some crazy kink for seein' me work out in your gear."
"Mmhmm," Leonardo murmured in vague agreement, which let Raph know he had been tuned out completely. Leo was squinting in confusion at something that had just happened in his book. When he reached the last panel he widened his eyes anxiously and blinked several times before carefully turning to the next page. The book looked small and delicate in his large three-fingered hands.
If the title of this book could be trusted, it was about vampire knights. And if those were the vampire knights being featured on the cover, well – Raph did not think they were very scary looking. These were very pretty vampire knights, and they all had big watery eyes and hair that went everywhere, defying gravity. Also, the whole book was printed backwards. Suffice to say, Raph had no desire to read any of Leo's Japanese funnybooks himself, but that did not stop him from taking secret pleasure in watching Leo read them.
Turning back to the drawers, Raphael tugged one of them open and began to root around for some knee-pads. "Damn, Leo," he smirked. From his peripheral vision Leo could see him dangling a brown leather article, pinching it between thumb and forefinger and holding it up critically. "If this is all you got for me, your knees are WAY skinnier than I thought."
"Next drawer, wiseguy," Leo suggested, not sparing him a glance but lifting his brow ridges and letting the edges of his mouth quirk up with wry humor. "Those are all wrist bands, elbow pads, some hand wraps."
Raph shut the drawer and opened up the top one, which was just above it. "You sure you even got any clean ones? All I'm seein' is like... buncha... what the hell?"
Leo shot his brother a questioning look, but Raph hadn't fully turned yet to reveal what it was he was holding. He almost went back to his book then, but gave a sudden double-take and bolted upright when he saw which drawer Raph was pawing through. "No, that's – I meant the one beneath it, Raph." he clarified in a voice that came out somewhat sharper than he'd intended. "The third drawer."
"What IS this? Some kinda fancy new smoke bomb? Don's been holdin' out on me, huh."
Leo's eyes widened. "Get out of there."
Raph didn't catch the panic in Leonardo's voice, or the fact that he'd set his book down without even remembering to save his place. "Naw, it's no big deal. Not even surprising..." He scrutinized the small, egg-shaped object, turning it over in his hands and scowling thoughtfully. "Ever since I learned how to make 'em for myself, he's been sore about sharin' any of his. Looks pretty slick compared to mine, I guess. But what's the point? Why put all that effort into a fancy acrylic casing if you're just gonna toss it once, and then BLAM! Waste of time and resources, if you ask me. Geez... and wouldja check out this cute little deploy button? He even--"
Suddenly the object began to buzz loudly and vibrate against the palm of his hand. "Gaagh!" Raph cried out in surprise, dropping the small device like it had bitten him.
The silver sphere bounced off the rug and rolled onto an expanse of poured concrete. Leo lurched forward, supporting part of his weight on both hands now as he stared after it in horror. The object continued to hum as it clacked and clattered in a mocking, merry little dance across the floor's hard surface.
Zzzzzztt-zzt! Zzztt-zzttt-ztt! Zzzzzzzz...
They were frozen in this awful state of limbo for another five or six seconds, though to Leo each one seemed like an eternity. Both of them were held fast, unable to tear their eyes off the sight of the metallic egg as it skittered and bounced in little circles not far from Raphael's feet.
Leonardo's face grew hot with shame. "Turn it off," he croaked, starting to look ill.
But Raph had not overcome his shock, and was ill-equipped to follow such an order. "What the... Leo?"
"Raph, please--!" Leo hissed, his expression becoming desperate and strained.
"Is that--?" Raphael looked up suddenly. Leo's stomach bottomed out as he watched the slyness creeping into his sibling's smile. "You mean, that thing... you actually...?"
Leo flew into action, scrambling forward and leaping off the bed in his sudden determination to silence the wretched buzzing noise himself. It was perhaps the least graceful moment of his young life. He sprang without realizing that some of the bedding had wound itself around one of his ankles. It cut his leap short, so that he landed hard on his chest plates and ground his chin into the rug below. Leo gave a sharp grunt as he hit the ground, more from surprise and having knocked the air from his lungs than any pain from the impact.
Raphael was staring again. This time he was dumbstruck by the sight of his older brother pitching headfirst onto the floor in front of him. It only stunned Leo for about half a second, and then he kicked his foot free of the blanket and scrabbled forward, not willing to let any amount of embarrassment deter him from his goal. His arms shot forward and both hands clapped over the buzzing sex toy, cupping it to the ground as tightly as he could.
The buzzing sound was muffled now. Very slowly, Leo dragged his gaze off his vibrating hands and peeked up at Raph mutely. In that brief moment, his humiliation was painfully apparent. Then he dropped his eyes and didn't stir, except for the slightest of movements that accompanied his thumb sliding over the egg's surface, feeling for the little rubber button. He found it. At last, the dreadful noise stopped.
Leo remained very still at first. His head bowed and his hands still locked, one atop the other, keeping a tense-knuckled death grip on the silver sphere. Very slowly, he pulled his hands in towards himself and dragged himself back, away from Raph and out of this undignified position. Pulling up onto his knees, Leo kept his head down, elbows and wrists to the ground, hands cupped together. He shut his eyes and pressed down on the sphere harder, then harder still, briefly wishing he could smash the evidence into a million pieces under his palm.
He sensed and smelt, more than heard it when Raphael took a step forward, then another, and reached out as if to take him by the shoulder. Leo's response was violent and immediate, swinging hard to knock away his brother's outstretched hand.
"Hey. You okay down there?" Raph sighed. "Leo. Come on. I mean it's funny, but I'm not gonna--"
"You don't gotta--!"
"There's nothing funny about it. Now get out."
Raphael's mottled brow wrinkled with frustration. "Will ya just calm down a second? It's not like I--"
Leonardo sprang to his feet suddenly, blazing mad. "I SAID GET OUT!" he shouted. "GO! GET OUT OF MY FACE, WILL YOU? AND YOU CAN TAKE YOUR NASTY LEATHERS WITH YOU!" His arms were shoved down to his sides, the silver egg clenched in one shaking, pale-knuckled fist.
"Geezus, Leo!" Raph brought up his hands in vague self defense as his soiled knee-pad was hurled at him viciously. It bounced off the heel of his palm, like Leo had been aiming for right between his eyes. "Look, I'm going! But yer gettin' crazy over nothing, okay? I keep tellin' you, it don't mean a thing to me!"
"It means something to me," Leo hissed.
Raph's brows went up pointedly. "Yeah," he agreed, stepping forward now and taking a hold of Leo's stiff upper arms, which were still tightly folded. "You know, I been getting that impression."
Leo flinched and looked away. But even when he did, he could still feel Raphael's gaze burning into his neck as he continued to look at Leo stubbornly. Somehow it began to feel like a challenge, and then Leo had no choice but to look up or risk seeming afraid to do so. Slowly, carefully blank, his gaze lifted. Raph wasn't laughing at him. Leo felt a stab of guilt as he wondered for the first time if maybe he never had been. In any case, he seemed to be trying very hard to project that he wasn't laughing now.
Quite suddenly, it was painfully obvious to Leo that he did, in fact, owe him some kind of an explanation. His reaction had not been fair to Raph at all. "I'm sorry," he said, looking at Raph with new eyes. The words came easy, now that he could look back and see himself clearly. The rest was harder to say but he wrinkled his brow and pressed on "It means something to me, that you see me as – I don't know, the strong one. And--"
"You're plenty strong. Kick my ass all the time!"
"Still, every stupid thing like this that happens – you'll see me differently after this. You can say that you won't, but I know you will. And I can't just stand it, I--"
"Leo!" Raph tugged Leo's tense frame into a sudden hug. He jumped as if startled, then only seemed to relax marginally. "Enough, okay...?" His arms, pinched between them at first, began to slowly unwind. Raphael continued to crush him fiercely against his chest for another few moments. Leo carefully hung his arms around Raph, hooking his fingers gently over the edges of his shell. "Maybe you're right," Raph mumbled. "I will see you different." He drew away enough to take the back of Leo's head in his hands, pressing their temples together briefly as he added, "I see you better each day."
Leo blinked rapidly. He found himself suspended, both torn and grateful when Raph released him after that and backed away to heed his order from earlier. He'd said he would leave Leo alone, and now that's what he intended to do. And Leo wasn't sure he wanted him to leave anymore, but was ultimately too proud to stop him. He'd already made such a fool of himself, after all.
As he was slipping out the door, Raphael paused and looked back at him. "And, uh. Just so you know. I could come in and just, y'know, watch. If you ever wanted to--"
Leo widened his eyes and smothered a grin to properly glare at him. He stabbed one finger – the hand that was not gripping the sex toy – towards the door and demanded, "OUT."
"Yeah, yeah..." Raph could be heard snickering, easing the door shut behind him.
Leo stared after him and slowly shook his head. He looked down at the sex toy for several long moments before going to the top drawer and set the small device inside, careful to slide it further to the back this time and arrange several items around and over top of it. Then he gently shut the drawer, letting his hand linger on the cool painted wood a moment before returning to his bed.
After that, Leonardo settled back down on his bed, head propped up on some pillows, but set his manga face down on his plastron. He let his gaze wander up to the ceiling above him -- and after a moment, he began to laugh.