Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Fan Fiction ❯ Masked Insecurity ❯ What's Wrong? ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Raphael was up and moving before his mind was fully seated. He sprinted into the bathroom, locked the door, and started up one of the five showerheads at full blast, cold not warm. He hurried over to the mirror and, after checking the lock again, slipped his mask off. He stared at his eyes, having to make sure that they had turned colors, that they weren't black anymore. The turtle breathed out a sigh of relief. Leonardo's Enemy was wrong. He was wrong about everything…wasn't he?

Tears flowed freely down the green cheeks, and Raphael couldn't look at himself anymore. Leonardo's Enemy had been right. He was pathetic and weak. He sobbed softly and there was a pounding on the door.

"Raph!" Leonardo shouted over the sound of the shower. "Raph are you alright?"

Raphael took a deep, shuddering breath and wiped his eyes. He forced himself to sound normal as he said, "I'm fine, Leo. I just need a shower."

"Don't lie to me Raph! Whatever he said—"

"I'M FINE, LEO!" the upset turtle bellowed.

There was no more sound from the other side of the door. Raphael was grateful for the lock on the door. No other door in their lair had a lock on it. The bathroom hadn't while they were children, but once the turtles had hit puberty, Splinter had insisted that Donatello install one. He'd walked in to see his children "playing" with themselves one too many times. The rule was if you wanted to "play" you had to lock the door. Raphael really didn't give a damn if they thought he was touching himself. It was better than them thinking he was crying.

Raphael stripped out of his shell and caught sight of himself in the full length mirror across the room. Small fry, Leonardo's Enemy hissed in his mind. Or maybe it was his own Insecurity. He turned the shower up to just slightly too hot and let the searing sensation soothe him as he hid his tears in the water. An hour later, he turned the shower off and dried himself. He knew he couldn't cry anymore even if he wanted to. He slipped his shell and his mask on, made sure they were firmly in place, then opened the door. Leonardo immediately leaped in front of him.

"Raph, please, whatever he said—"

"Drop it, Leo. What's for supper?"

"Oh, Mikey's getting pizza. And I will not drop it. What did he say? You were covering your ears on the ground. Why?"

Raphael spun and grabbed the top of Leonardo's plastron, jerking the older brother toward him.

"Leave. It. Alone. Now."

"Dudes! Pizza's here!" Michelangelo's voice called.

Raphael released his leader then turned and hurried to the dining room, Leonardo following close behind him. When they came into the room, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Master Splinter all looked him. Splinter walked over and reached out to Raphael, but the red masked turtle ducked it and sat down at the table. He opened a box and began eating. The silence was absolutely deafening.

They all sat down and ate, too, and Raphael could feel them staring at him. He knew why. He was the tough one, the one that wasn't shaken by anything. And what Leonardo's Enemy had said shook him to the very core. It brought back memories of him sobbing on the floor, sometimes with Michelangelo, while Leonardo, and occasionally Donatello, teased and taunted and mocked him. It had cut so deep and jagged that the scars were horrible to look at. And now they were bleeding again, and it was incredibly messy.

"Um, Raph?" Michelangelo asked quietly.

"What?" Raphael snapped.

"That Leo that was talking to you, what was he—?"

"Nothing. He was saying nothing."

"C'mon Raph, do you honestly expect us to believe that?" Donatello asked. Raphael shrugged in response and took a big bite of pizza so he didn't have to explain anything more.

Splinter placed a hand on his arm. "Raphael, my son, talk to us. You always keep everything bottled inside. Talking will help."

"No, it won't."

"Are you afraid to be embarrassed?" Leonardo asked.

"No," Raphael lied.

"What about crying?"

"I don't cry."

"Then what were you doing in the bathroom for an hour?"

"Taking a shower."

"Seriously?" Leonardo asked incredulously. "You were crying in my mind, and you were crying in the bathroom."

"No, I wasn't," Raphael said stubbornly, keeping his eyes on his food.

"Raph," Leo murmured. "Please talk to us." It was said with infinite gentleness.

Raph felt tears well up again because of that tone, and he shoved his chair back to get away. The chair clattered to the floor as he sprinted for his room. He shut the door then collapsed on the little used bed. He buried his face in the pillow and screamed, which dissolved into a sob. There was a knock on the door.

"G-go away!" he sobbed. The door opened and his family came in.

"Raph!" Leonardo exclaimed, hurrying over.

"Go aw-way!"

"No! Not this time." Leonardo placed a hand on his shell and said in a soft voice, "Talk to us, Raph."

"No!"

Raphael felt broken. Sob after sob wracked his body, and he couldn't stop them. He felt weak and pathetic, and Leonardo was patronizing him with soft words. As he cried, his shell became more and more constricting, and it became harder and harder to breathe. His family realized that and they began tugging his shell off.

Small fry!

"S-stop!" he moaned.

"You can't breathe, dude!" Michelangelo exclaimed.

"I d-don't care," Raphael gasped, but he felt his head getting dizzy from lack of oxygen.

They finally got it off with one good tug, peeling it off his body. Raphael immediately wrapped himself in his blankets, hiding so Leonardo couldn't tease him. The blue masked turtle placed his hands on Raphael's back and gently began massaging it, cooing soothing things to calm him. Donatello crawled over him and joined Leonardo's efforts.

The massage felt good on his tense muscles, and Raphael found himself getting his breathing under control. Within a few minutes he was breathing evenly, but tears were still soaking his mask. Leonardo stopped the massage and placed a firm hand on his brother's shoulder.

"There. Better?"

Raphael looked at him, the visible part of his face twisted in pain and humiliation. He buried his head in his pillow, shaking his head.

"Raphie, what's wrong?" Leonardo asked tenderly.

Raphael felt something break. "You want to see the monster you created?" he demanded, sitting up and staring at Leonardo through his mask.

"Monster? That I created? I…If you want me to," he said, sounding very confused.

"Sit down," Raphael said to his family. They did so. "You want to help me so badly? Fine, but I doubt you can. Have fun figuring things out!"

Raphael grabbed everybody's minds with his own and drew them in.


Chapter 2
Chapter 4
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