“This will be a harrowing and grand adventure, I assure you,” Professor Honeycutt says, cheery and upbeat despite- despite- Leo can’t even think those words right now- and then, his attitude mellows, and he says in a kind, if robotic voice, “Though, I suppose you six are in need of rest before we begin that, now aren’t you?”
Leo’s arms are still shaking, and he can’t seem to relax his fingers out of their death grip on his swords. He can’t seem to relax anything. He’s over wired, and grieving, and confused, and furious,and-
-probably in shock.
He doesn’t have to glance at his family to know they likely look the same.
Honeycutt gives them- though his face doesn’t show it properly- an empathetic look. “I understand you’ve all just gone through a terrible experience; I believe some down time is in order. Sleep, perhaps?”
Leo kind of wants to laugh at the idea. How is he supposed to sleep, after seeing his father die and their entire world go with him? Their friends, their families, their everything- gone. Completely gone, and yet, right back where they were before. And now it’s up to Leo and his family to stop that future from happening, and while space and time travel and aliens are all very exciting and calling to a part of him that doesn’t get out much anymore, Leo honestly just wants for everything to stop for a minute. At least that long.
Maybe he won’t sleep, but a rest sounds nice. If he could just get his fingers to unlock, and his voice to come back. His throat stings and the scars there itch like mad; calling up the sensation of the moment they were put there. He’d scratch at them- scratch them raw, a habit he’s been trying and failing to shake- but his fingers aren’t responding right. They’re numb.
He feels completely shaken and nearly completely numb. Some leader he is.
“…sleep sounds great,” Donnie says, speaking for them all. He starts quiet, but seems to slip into doctor/caretaker mode partway. “Do you have medical supplies? Showers? I’ll take anything of those at this point. And. Um, food would be good, too…”
“Everything,” Honeycutt confirms. “There’s everything you’ll need and more. Please, right this way.” He starts to patter off, his metallic body whirring softly as he does. Leo feels his team look to him for the next course of action- they’re in literal alien territory, battle shaken and without backup, they don’t even know if Honeycutt is for real with his helpfulness- and Leo has to take an inhale that only hurts a little.
They don’t have many choices, here. He’s on his last legs- near literally, his old injury is flaring hot and bright and everything hurting to the bone- and he knows his brothers and friends aren’t any better off. They need help, and while suspicion and caution scream dully in his ears, Leo knows they can’t afford to refuse Honeycutt’s assistance.
Leo moves to follow Honeycutt deeper into the spaceship, and his family follows. He prays it’s the right call.
There’s a real shower block, with hot running water and stalls and actual soap, and Donnie kind of wants to cry a little.
But, he can’t. He’s official and unofficial team medic/caretaker/etc. etc. etc. and he can’t fall down on the job just because he’s reeling from time travel and earth’s destruction and oh, his father dying for the second time right in front of him.
Donnie sweeps all those painful thoughts right into compartmentalization, and sets the maelstrom of fear/grief/anxiety/confusion aside for later. He has a job to do, and that’s making sure that everyone is still in one piece and not suffering from any hidden injuries that could kill them without him noticing.
Internal bleeding is something he thinks of constantly, out in the field. Donnie knows he could try to stop it, but here and now he has none of the tools and not enough trust in Honeycutt. He prays to god that no one has anything on that level of injury or near it; he has only his field kit and cautiously trusted supplies from the alien robot that saved them.
After Honeycutt leaves them, standing filthy and still shaking in the pristinely white showers, Donnie is the first to discard his weapons. His hands need to be free for the act of healing, not dealing out further damage.
Its standard procedure at this point; the post-battle checkup and thrice over injury search. They have so little margin for error, Donnie checks everything in threes. His family are all so far into shock still; none of them make a peep of complaint about his thoroughness. Even Casey, who usually has a quip or two about being indestructible, lets Donnie do his checkup in peace. Casey’s eyes are unfocused, now that his adrenaline and endorphins are crashing. There’s just the slow sink of reality dawning on him, and it’s somehow hard to watch.
Donnie lightly pats the side of Casey’s head, calls him a foolhardy idiot who needs to watch his right flank better, and shoves him towards the nearest stall. That gives Casey enough of a jolt he turns in a quick movement to shove Donnie right back, before ducking into the stall and abandoning his filthy clothes on the floor. The interaction gets some of the bleariness out of Casey’s gaze, and he moves with a little less sluggishness.
Donnie is finished with his brothers and Casey’s checkups, and April is waiting her turn for the showers just outside the shut door. She still needs another onceover; a more specific type, since her Kraang mutation always leaves room for questions. He starts to move towards it, on automatic and just following the patterns he laid for himself years ago, but the door opens before he can reach it.
Raph enters- when did he leave? Donnie was so focused on keeping his patients still, he didn’t notice- and he puts a hand on Donnie’s chest.
“Hey,” Raph says, firm and low. “Breathe.”
Donnie’s thoughts, running mostly on learned patterns and set guidelines, stutter for a moment, and he realizes his chest feels tight. He didn’t notice how shallow it’d gotten, his breathing.
On command, Donnie takes a deep inhale, and feels the dizziness in his head clear a bit.
“Good, keep doing that,” Raph says, still firm. He’s holding himself together well, all things considering- though still obviously wound up and repressing the inevitable rage storm that will come later- and Donnie is distantly grateful for that. He can’t handle having to calm that sort of rage right now; he doesn’t think any of them could, the states they’re in. Leo silent and scratching his throat roughly, Mikey buzzing with nerves and aimless energy, Casey swinging between focused and aware and seeming lost in a painful way, and April-
Raph reaches up, and tugs off Donnie’s mask. It comes away with a slight stickiness, and Donnie notices then that he’d sustained a minor cut on the side of his temple. No wonder he feels dizzy.
“I checked April,” Raph says, and he’s steering Donnie back towards the showers without letting him fight it. “She doesn’t have anything life-threatening, and you can do a triple check after you take care of yourself, Donnie.”
“After,” Raph says again. “You can’t play doctor if you’re the patient, Don. Get in the shower before I make you.” He herds Donnie towards the stalls, and Raph gives the leather straps across his shell a tug. “Unbuckle these and get in there. I’ll dump ‘em with the rest.”
“What about you?” Donnie asks, hands moving to unbuckle his gear before he realizes they are. He’s still dizzy, but not concussion dizzy. Just… not breathing quite steadily and experiencing a severe headache in the making.
“Someone has to keep watch,” Raph replies, taking Donnie’s belt and gear from him. “Me and April will watch our backs until you four finish primping, got it?” Then, in a less gruff and nearly soft tone, “Breathe, Donnie. You can chill out for ten minutes, we’ve got you covered.”
The hand on Donnie’s shell is immensely helpful in forcing his lungs to expand fully. He takes a couple breaths, trying to shake the panicky shallow breathing, and manages to find his center again. A trillion terrified and overwrought anxieties beckon for attention in the back of his mind, but he sweeps them away once again. For later. Not now, later.
“There you go,” Raph says quietly, giving Donnie’s shell a pat. “Now clean up. April will want in pretty quick here. Never works out well if we keep her waiting.”
Donnie shakes his head wryly, and manages to stay steady long enough to shower off the dust from their world-ending battle.
Mikey has to physically pry Leo’s swords from his hands, and then tug those hands away from the scars on his brother’s neck right afterwards. Mikey’s own hands and arms are sore as hell, still feeling the bone creaking blows from the massive Triceratons, but he hustles Leo into the shower before they give out.
Leo needs some time to find his leader self again, which Mikey can understand, because he himself needs some time to find his happier self again. The flashes of the battle they’ve just come from blink fast and painful across Mikey’s vision- his dad, his friends, his home, the black hole swallowing them all- and he drowns them quick as he can with hot water, the second Donnie releases him from checkups.
Everything feels raw and achy, and Mikey can’t keep track of his own thoughts or emotions; they’re all jumbled up with one another, relief and grief and anger and fear and hope and rage and love and loss, and he gives up trying to control anything and just burns it all away with the horrible images.
He’s shaky all over, adrenaline leaving him without much else than empty feeling lungs and frayed nerves. His head is all clouded up with too many things and he feels like bouncing against the walls until that’s gone, but also feels like lying down and never moving again he’s just so tired all of a sudden-
And he turns the water up hotter scalds his scales, so it drowns those things too.
He narrows down what emotions he’s going to let in right now- really, just what emotions he can use and not have get out of control- and drinks some too-hot water to finish the temporary cleanse. He’ll freak out a lot more later on, a lot more, but he’s not panicking right now. Panicking is tiring, and he’s seeing in his brothers and friends that none of them can handle panic any more than he can. Not at the moment.
He’s still jittery, though. Jittery and needing somewhere to channel his energy. Leo, still in the process of finding his own center, presents a good enough target.
Leo’s got smudges on his shell, from being thrown against the pavements and dirt. Some scratches, too. Mikey taps his brother’s shell as he enters the space, and waits for Leo to turn and look. Mikey waves the bar of sweet smelling soap, which reminds him of flowers and fermenting fruits, in a silent offer.
It takes a beat, where Leo unwinds whatever reflex Mikey almost triggered, and his brother accepts the offer with a wane smile.
Shells are great for a lot of things, but they can be a real pain to keep clean. Technically, they all can reach the spots that are hard to get, but that takes effort and none of them have any of that left right now. Staying standing is hard as it is, and coordination like that is asking a little much.
So Mikey lathers the worst spots directly, and scrubs with his bare hands. Space-robo-guy didn’t give them any loofahs, odd since he seems to have everything else, so elbow grease will have to do. The hot water Leo is tilting his face into sprays onto Mikey as he washes, and for a brief second, Leo relaxes just a fraction with both sensations at work.
Mikey smiles and finishes scrubbing Leo’s shell clean. He barely has to ask for Leo to do the same for him; just handing off the soap is enough, and Mikey gets a gentle push under the hot water again. He always manages to get chilled after a fight, no matter if it’s the height of summer or he goes for the hot drinks right after, so once more being in the spray further chases the cold out of Mikey’s body.
Leo doesn’t speak- he’s going through the whole ‘re-finding his voice’ thing right now, and Mikey won’t push him- and works with steady pace. The atmosphere is a sharp turn from all the hyper stress Mikey has been riding all night, all freaking night, and the comfort of having someone literally watching/washing his back calms some of the burnt out nerves in his limbs.
Then the sight of his father’s impaled body hits his vision with utter clarity, and it nearly ruins all his work to keep everything under control.
Leo catches the hitch in Mikey’s breathing, or maybe the full body recoil he can’t suppress, and moves a soapy hand onto the back of his neck. Leo’s grip is soothing, because he immediately starts massaging stress points there.
“Shh,” is all Leo says, quiet and hoarse. “…’s okay.”
It’s not much, and Mikey can hear the strain for Leo to manage just that, but it’s enough. And Mikey sucks in a breath, and shoves everything back into order.
He’s fine. He’ll be fine until they can sit down properly and know they’re secure enough to talk and grieve. Leo’s thumb works out a knot in Mikey’s strained feeling neck muscles- a bit of whiplash, maybe, those Triceratons can hit hard- and only removes it once Mikey is breathing steadily again.
“Thanks,” Mikey manages, “…I think I needed that.”
Leo runs a hand down his shell, a gesture that further soothes the anxious energy Mikey has, and goes back to scrubbing.
When he’s done, they go nab Donnie before he can escape and skimp on self-care he definitely needs. Between the two of them, and some help from a boxers-clad Casey, they drag Donnie back towards the showers for a good shell scrub. He fights them weakly, because while he can hide it well, he’s obviously starting to really lag, and there’s only so much he can do to fend them off. Which is nothing.
There’s soap everywhere and Donnie gripes quietly, and it’s another notch up for the comforting atmosphere Mikey managed to establish with Leo. Even with Casey butting in to be a nuisance, fake-complaining about the exclusionary action of no one scrubbing his shell, and Donnie kicking his shin without real force, and snippily saying, “Shut up, Jones, and keep your jealousy of our superior physique to yourself.”
There’s a brief tussles and soap fight, and it results in Leo finding the energy to lock both Casey and Donnie in holds, while Mikey spreads drippy shampoo all over their noggins, because they’re idiots who so deserve it for their squabbling.
Their gear and belts were apparently kidnapped at some point, including Casey’s clothes, so they have to go out in just the towels left in their place. Mikey doesn’t even wear clothes anyway, so the towel is in fact a step up from that. And also cozy. Space towels are cozier than earth towels, in his opinion.
April and Raph laugh at Casey, who is shameless about being in nothing but a towel and soggy boxers. It’s the first laughter from any of them all night, and it gives Mikey a boost he didn’t notice he needed.
April is hard pressed not to just… sit down, and curl up. Her powers are still spread outwards, opened up wide in a large net, just in case something tries to sneak up on them all. It kind of hurts, since she’s already overwhelmed by everything earlier. She feels raw and off-balance, and can’t find her center no matter how she tries to stabilize her mind.
Her boys are showering, while she guards the door. She’s got aches appearing all over her as she stands there and a throbbing migraine on the way. Her last explosion of power burst some blood vessels in her eyes; she can feel the itchiness already starting. In her desperation, and fury, and grief, she’d opened the floodgates and-
A useless act. Earth has been reset- her father, her Sensei, her friends, her home, they’re all back and she can try to save them more time- and now she’s got a power that still wants to grow larger, and has to calm that instinctive reaction. There’s no need for it right now, she needs to reel it in before her headache gets any worse.
She knows who exiting the shower block before the door even opens; her tendrils of invisible power reaching out and brushing against the swirl of angerangergriefconfusionfearconcernconcernrageconcern coming towards her. It’s Raph, and while she can’t hear his thoughts per say, she can feel them. She can feel all of them, her boys, and it’s likely all that’s keeping her steady. The assurance that they’re here, they’re alive, and not going anywhere until they all do. Together.
Her heads throbs, though. Too much input. And she’s so tired right now; exhausted from emotional whiplash and from pretty much everything else she’s had to deal with today. (Yesterday? Six months from now? Time travel is confusing.)
She pulls her powers away from the boys in the shower, and center most of her focus on Raph’s mind alone. His own emotions are jagged, rubbing both him and April rawer than they already are, but it lessens the throbbing migraine in April’s head.
He doesn’t speak as he comes to stand beside her; weapons in his hands and a posture that’s forced into attention. She can feel his exhaustion as well as her own, and knows how badly he’d just like to lie down. Don’t they both. Don’t they all.
For a bit, they just stand there, waiting for their turn to get clean. April had opted to go last, since she knew that once she stepped into the hot spray, she wasn’t going to want to leave it any time soon. Better to get everyone else through before she went inside and pressed pause on herself.
She, thankfully, only has a few scrapes here and there. Nothing requiring more than a wash and maybe a small band-aid. She has bruises- oh does she ever have bruises- but nothing open or bleeding. Small mercies.
She feels like she’s bleeding, though. Somewhere in her chest, a wound that’s been torn open and then scarred over again too many times now. This is the umpteenth tragedy in her life, and it hurts deeply. Pierces straight to her core, and threatens to let misery and hopelessness swallow her whole. So many times, so many times she’s dealt with losing battles they couldn’t afford to lose, and this time they lost their whole world. An entire planet’s population, just gone, because they’d failed.
If she reaches out again, she knows she’ll feel Leo’s own miring emotions. Failure and the fear that haunts him when they lose battles; it sticks to him in ways that are not easily removed. April wants to reach out and nudge those thoughts away from him, but her own precarious control might not be strong enough to keep a bleed-over from happening. Like Mikey’s tightly wound scattered emotions are too bright and sharp to get near, and Donnie’s winding, pacing, spiralling anxieties are too likely to pull her own into their circles, and Casey’s staccato thought process jumps between confidence and confusion, likely to unsettle what little balance April has achieved-
And that leaves Raph’s ever burning anger, solid and steady and furious, to concentrate on. So long as he doesn’t let that anger swallow him, April can stand to hold onto it and not risk harm.
But, as they stand there, watchful and quiet, she feels him doing just that. She feels the rise in the strength of his emotions- they’ve always been so powerful, she couldn’t ever imagine feeling so much all the time- and he starts to slide downwards. He’s trying to not, trying hard as he can because he knows none of them can handle anyone truly melting down just yet, but it’s happening and it’s out of his control.
He’s scared and furious and grieving and sorrow filled and just plain terrified all at once; it’s overwhelming, even to April, as she hastily withdraws most of her power from him. Neither of them has moved since he came out, but April feels tenseness all through his body, and he audibly clenches his jaw. Teeth clacking loudly against each other.
He’s just barely holding on, for the sake of all of them, and it makes April’s frayed emotions rise into her throat.
So she reaches out, with the hand that doesn’t hold a weapon, and grasps his large trembling wrist.
Words are hard, and sometimes they’re not enough. They lost everything and then got it all back within mere minutes of each event, and the shame of failure is dragging each of them down. No gentle words of comfort can make that better; not all at once, and maybe not at all.
Actions are easy. Actions make sense to them both. So April holds onto Raph’s wrist until it stops shaking, and he eases his death grip around his sais’ handle. His shoulders slump ever so slightly, showing for a moment a vulnerability that he never likes to make known.
He’s big, and strong, and sometimes mean, and he’s a kid who just lost his father. April understands those feelings too well, and feels old and young at the same time.
He lifts his hand to slide hers close to it, and turns it so that his thumb can catch her fingers. For a second, they let go of bravado; linking digits together and just holding on. Breathing, and not letting emotions or painfully fresh memories drag them down.
Words are hard, and sometimes not needed at all.
Breathe in, breathe out.
Raph’s emotions stabilize, and recede to a level he can handle. April’s skull aches still, but she reaches out a psychic touch regardless. Sending comfort and I’m here we’re here we’re all here along the tendril she brushes him with.
He doesn’t relax, but some of the tenseness leaves him. Now, if anything were to happen to them in this moment, Raph wouldn’t lose his head in the fight. True relaxation can come later, when they’re regrouping and can actually see one another is fine.
April already knows that the professor is sincere with his actions; that he really does want to help them. No one can lie to her anymore; not if she’s opened up her mind’s eye and is staring straight through any barriers they try to hide behind. For the moment, they have an ally and a safe place to rest.
Of course, telling that to her still battle-fresh reflexes and her ingrained triggers of fight or flight is a bit of a challenge.
Holding onto Raph, physically and mentally, helps to calm those reactions, as bizarre as the idea might seem. Two hot-heads, keeping each other calm. Wonders never cease.
They remain like that, linked together by their fingers, until Casey comes sauntering out in nothing but a towel and his pride. Then, laughter takes the place of sorrow for a moment, and April feels lighter in the same way Raph does.
So they were in space. Holy shit they were in space. In a space ship, with a space robot, and they’d used space showers and gotten space towels to use while a space washer/dryer thing space cleaned their stuff, and now they were sitting in a space living room with a space TV and a space couch, and-
Casey watched his own planet get pulled apart into tiny little pieces and sucked into a black hole maybe a half hour ago.
He’s… still not sure how that’s supposed to make him feel.
On the one hand, planet scale destruction is kind of cool, but… only in fiction, as it turns out. Mostly, seeing everything fall apart like that had been sort of really… scary.
Casey’s always considered himself up to the challenge of anything; including space invasions and massive alien brawls. Those things had been really fucking metal, since all there was to it was to hit the enemy with his weapons until they stopped trying to wreck everything. Facing foes five times his size? No sweat. That’d actually been really exhilarating.
They’d failed, and his little sister, and dad, and all his normal friends… the brothers’ dad, and April’s too, all their families had gotten sucked into the black hole, and…
Yeah. That hadn’t been cool at all.
Casey rubs his right cheek, feeling a bruise starting to really form there. His mask took most of the damage, but the power behind the swings that’d been aimed at him hadn’t been stopped by it. Usually he embraces the aches that follow a good fight; they’re just a part of the packaged experience, kicking ass on a nightly basis and coming out the winner of things.
But they didn’t win this time. They lost, and they lost badly.
The aches don’t feel so pleasant, knowing that.
But hey, they get to try again! Time travel is a thing and it gave them back their world, so they can do things over a second time. Somewhere on earth, his dad and sister are fine and everyone else is as well. They’ve got six months to stop the Triceratons from finding the black hole generator, and that’s plenty of time in Casey’s opinion. They’ve got this on lockdown.
But… that doesn’t quite erase the fact that he watched his whole world die just a short while ago.
Casey will save the world… later. He admits to himself, while he spaces out a bit during whatever the professor robot is saying, that he’d actually rather just. Sleep. Not think about anything in particular for a couple hours, get up, and go from there.
He misses pretty much everything that’s going on- but suddenly the brothers are carrying bedrolls into the room and April is tugging him out of the way. Wow, he totally blanked out there. Raph shoves a bundle of soft fabric wrapped around itself into Casey’s hands, and he winces a bit as the push hits his sternum. He got nailed there pretty hard, couldn’t breathe right for a solid minute.
Everything hurts and he can actually feel his energy crashing. Time to sit down.
The bedroll pops its clasps without much fuss, and unfurls and expands. It turns into something that resembles a sleeping bag, but with more padding and softer fabric than Casey’s ever found on earth. No pillow to be seen, but hey, Casey is definitely not complaining right now. He’ll probably pass out on the first horizontal surface he can find that isn’t made of bees.
He’s not really sure where to put his bedbag- in the middle of the floor, across the room, where?- and ends up just dropping it in front of the couch. He doesn’t have energy for actual brain power right now; he’ll just put it wherever.
And maybe everyone else has the same sort of feeling, because after Casey drops himself onto his bedbag, everyone else follows one by one. There’s plenty of space in the room for them to spread out, but… kind of feels less exposed, clumping together in one spot. It feels warmer.
Casey sinks slowly backwards, leaning on the couch behind him. He’s got his clothes back, even his bandanna, and they’re actually even cleaner than they would’ve been if he’d washed them at home. They’ve got the option to go get food, as much as they want and whatever they want, whenever they want it.
But Casey kind of just wants to sit for a while. Maybe figure out how to get rid of the uncomfortable feelings he’s got swirling around his head.
He doesn’t like failing, and he certainly doesn’t like losing. He failed to protect his city, and he lost his family. It’s weighing heavy on him, and he’s not sure what to do with those feelings, even though he knows they’ve undone all that stuff already.
Doesn’t change that at some point it did happen. Doesn’t change that they fucked up so badly they cost themselves everything. Doesn’t change that his dad and sister were dead, and so was Splinter, and Mr. O’Neil, for at least a couple minutes.
That horror drenched thought suddenly slips from his grasp, and he blinks at the seeping comfort that isn’t his. Casey turns his head, and finally figures out just who sat down next to him.
April’s curled around herself, but Casey can feel her invisible threads of power brushing over everything. Her head is down and her eyes are shut, but she’s still aware enough to send some comfort towards him.
Casey doesn’t have to be a psychic to know she’s not doing so hot herself. They’d talked about it sometimes, during the months on the farm, how April sometimes feels like she never gets a break anymore. That she can’t hold onto anything good in her life without something trying to take it away.
Casey came into the game late, and has only heard about some of the stuff the brothers and April have dealt with the past few years. He thinks they’re all pretty amazing for that, and now he’s starting to understand why some nights they’re just… tired.
Casey feels tired. He put out a lot of energy tonight, and had the rest yanked right out of him without his permission. He gets why April is curled up and small, and why Donnie looks like he’s staring hard at nothing; why Leo hasn’t said a word since they boarded the ship, and why Mikey’s usual volume has all but evaporated; why Raph is on his other side and slumping boneless against the couch. He gets it.
Casey slumps a little more, and rubs his face; covering his eyes from the dim lights of the room.
“…so,” Donnie finally says, a long pause later. “Who wants to go first?”
Casey takes a deep breath. It might as well be him. Talking helps, right? “So my dad and sister were dead for about two minutes there, and I now understand how that can really fuck a guy up, since I know you guys have lost your dads a couple times already. Let’s not do this ever again, since this is honestly the shittiest I’ve felt in a long time, and also am I in the dead dad club yet?”
There’s a brief silence, and then Mikey bursts into tears. Leo and Donnie are the ones beside him, and they immediately go and start making shushing sounds, holding Mikey between them as he hiccups and cries.
“Too soon?” Casey asks, wincing. Raph smacks him over the head, and then drags him into a rough hug. Casey’s arms are shaking- hey, when’d they start doing that?- as he hugs Raph back. “Jeez, Raph, ease up there I’m kind of- kind of choking, what’re you- hey, I’m fine, don’t- don’t-”
Casey didn’t really notice he started crying.
Funny, not noticing something like that.
“-fuck,” He whispers hoarsely, and hides his face in Raph’s shoulder.
April’s arms wrap around his torso, and he feels her press her face against his back. Her hold is as tight as Raph’s, and Casey can feel an invisible one brush over his body. He’d hug her back, but Raph’s got a vice grip around him and Casey kinda has the same on his friend.
It feels a little like they’re trying to hold each other together. Casey’s not sure how well that’s working.
“…s’rry ‘bout Mike,” Casey mumbles, hearing Mikey’s hiccupping sobs still. He isn’t sure why he said that stupid shit. He’s not ever sure why he does.
“ ’s okay,” Raph mumbles back, “was gonna happen anyways.”
April makes a ragged little “—!” sound into Casey’s back, and it’s just- so sad. Everything feels sad. Everything kind of is sad.
The dull static that’d been holding down most of Casey’s emotions lifts, and he feels the full impact of everything all at once. It hurts, a lot. Everything hurts. His face, his chest, his head, and his heart.
Casey misses his dad and sister with striking pain; misses master Splinter, misses their home. It’s cold in space, and the only warm things he’s got around him are his friends.
It’s awkward to do so, drop one hand from his hug with Raph and angle it to find April’s, but he manages it and she holds the grip tight as he does. Trembling until they squeeze so tightly it doesn’t.
One, two, three- breathe.
They’ll figure this out. They’ll save the earth and then everything can go back to normal.
That can come later.
Casey’s a bit too tired for heroics right now. He’s always up for a challenge, usually, but right now… he doesn’t think he could manage it at all.
However, holding onto his best friends for a bit- that sounds way more manageable.
They take turns.
First it’s Mikey, then Casey, the most vocal members of their team with their emotions and reactions. Theirs are incoherent for the most part; buildup of events and thoughts that just couldn’t handle anymore, hard as they’d tried. Then it’s Raph and April, their teammates with emotions so big they sometimes can’t contain them. Theirs are louder, angrier- an expression of how helplessness to stop what happened makes them so mad and scared they can’t keep it to themselves. Then finally, with the other four moving through the worst of their breakdowns, its Donnie and Leo’s turn.
Donnie’s is controlled. Silent. It’s hard to watch, though; seeing Donnie slowly deflate and just… lie there. He’s the tallest of Leo’s brothers, and yet, manages to look so much smaller; curled into a hug between April and Mikey on either side of him. There are so many things in Donnie’s head none of them will ever really know, let alone understand, and doubtlessly Leo’s brother is running scenario after scenario of what they could have done differently. How they could have won. How they could have saved their father.
Donnie doesn’t make a sound, and barely shows his distress as he works through it, clinging to April and Mikey both. They all know anyway, how deeply he’s hurting.
Their lineup shifted into a cluster at some point, and their beds are overlapping as much as they are. Leo somehow found his way near the center of it, where Donnie is at the moment, and finds himself corralled there by Raph and Casey.
His throat itches and his leg aches, and Leo doesn’t fight the gentle persuasion for his turn at things. Raph is strong again, back in control of himself and ready to catch Leo the moment he falters. Casey’s brief expulsion of his terror and grief is gone, and replaced again by his steadfast determination. They’re here for Leo. And, Leo admits he needs them.
He failed. He failed his father, he failed his brothers, he failed his friends and he failed his world. Leo’s head swirls with that knowledge, and it pulls him down the moment he lets it. He should’ve been a better leader, should’ve been able to plan to prevent this, and should’ve found a way to stop the blades and the man who wielded them long before they went through Splinter’s back.
The death of an entire world is on their hands, on Leo’s hands, and it’s too much for him to handle.
And as he collapses under that impossible weight, air leaving his lungs and his voice gone completely, his brother and friend catch him, and don’t let it crush him.
Leo leaves most of himself behind, trying to gasp around the pressure that’s on his lungs. He’s there but he’s not, and a part of him goes back to the moment he gained the scars that wrecked his voice and maimed his leg. He thinks a part of him will always go back to that moment, no matter how many years pass.
He’s back in the moment he watched twin blades go through his father’s chest, helpless to stop it, and the moments that followed where he watched an entire world die. He’s there, and it hurts, and he can’t breathe-
-and then he’s back, and pushing past the horrors. Numbness recedes and his lungs inflate again. Guilt and shame still cling to Leo like life sucking leeches, but they’re not so bad he feels like he’s being pulled apart at the seams.
He can’t tell if he’s crying- god knows it wouldn’t be the first time, pushing through this state of mind- but it doesn’t really matter. He doesn’t care if he is. Between the six of them right now, there’s no barriers, no bravado. They’re all they have at the moment, and trying to hide anything about themselves will only hurt them worse.
Leo, somewhere in the haze of flashbacks, had ended up leaning almost entirely onto Raph’s shoulder. Leo’s head still feels fuzzy beyond use, but he’s got back his senses enough that he can take stock of his surroundings. His head is lolled sideways, cheek against the bone of his brother’s shoulder. His hand is clutched by Casey’s humanly warm one. Both grounding sensations are welcome.
He breaths steadily, and finds Donnie’s eyes through the cluster of bodies. Donnie looks about as well off as Leo feels, with shadowed eyes and an obvious exhaustion.
They pass an understanding between the two of them, in that moment of eye contact. They’re both blaming themselves right now, for not stopping these events before they played out. Their siblings and friends are reactors to a situation; Leo and Donnie are planners. It’s their job to plot the course of things, and find the path that presents the best outcome.
They failed miserably at their job this time, and that weighs like lead on them both. They don’t have to say so, they just know.
Donnie’s grim and grieving expression says all that, and Leo conveys the same with his own. Whether or not their family will agree, this is something they’ll place on their shoulders together. The responsibility for everything, even if it’s not entirely their fault.
But it feels like it is, and that’s enough to push them to take that responsibility.
The moment of understanding passes and Leo breaks eye contact with his brother. They can discuss plans later, as well as strategy and how to avoid something this catastrophic from happening ever again. Analyze where they went wrong, and how to become better for their mistakes.
But that’s for later, much later.
Right now, Leo is still edging a part of his mind that’s been dragging him down this whole while, and he needs to pull himself together lest he fall into that black pit. Donnie is probably doing the same with his own mind, tucking his endless questions and anxieties away so they don’t interfere with his work.
Leo closes his eyes, breathes, and works on pulling everything back together for his family.
Eventually, he does, and they all go quiet. The stages of shock and grief have run their course, and now they huddle together as they accept their situation.
The attempt at creating a neat lineup of sleep spots had been mostly pointless. Inevitably, with their post-breakdown moods slowly dissipating, Leo finds himself tucked into a pile of beds and bodies. It’s crowded, and squished, and it makes the ache of loss so much more bearable.
Leo can’t remember when they started doing this; piling together whenever they ended up sleeping in the same room. Whenever they did, it was probably out of self-preservation. If Leo were in his room- or alone at all, really- he likely wouldn’t have been able to find his center again. He doesn’t doubt the same goes for everyone around him.
Leo has Donnie on one side of him, and Mikey on the other. Either Casey or April is by his head, since he can feel hair tickling his skull. Beyond that, it’s too much effort to figure out who ended up where. It’s better to just sink into the feeling of being safe and warm, than to do anything else.
Leo still can’t sleep. Can’t even imagine sleeping with what waits in his subconscious. But, he can lie here, and listen to the breathing of each family member he has. It sets the worst of his fears at ease, and he manages to actually relax for the first time in hours.
He’s clean, freshly bandaged, and he’s surrounded on all sides by the people he trusts most. Everything still hurts soul deep and bone deep both, but that’s alright. He has his family, and they have him. Even the scars around his neck and leg hurt less, so long as he has his brothers and friends to support him.
So long as they’re together, they’ll make it through.
Leo can’t sleep, but he can lay awake and listen to the steady breathing and near silent shuffles of his family. Maybe they do the same, lying awake and reassuring themselves that they’ve still got each other, even after all that’s happened. Maybe they don’t, and some of them manage to find sleep, despite the mind bending horror they’ve seen tonight.
Whichever it is, Leo can at least close his eyes, and know that he isn’t alone. He’s comfortable, pressed into the pile like he is, and he doesn’t think he’ll move for hours. Not with the quiet murmurs between Raph and Mikey happening close enough for him to hear, or the soft huffs of breath coming from Donnie, April, and Casey. Those insignificant sounds make all the difference in the world, for Leo.
So he leaves his eyes shut, and drifts.
Later, they can resume being heroes. For now, they can lie down, find a sense of safety again, and be a family.