Donnie stared at Leo.
Leo stared at Donnie.
They both had their arms crossed.
“I have work to do,” Donnie said.
“No you don’t,” Leo replied. “You’re going to bed.”
Donnie narrowed his eyes at his elder brother, who happened to be blocking the way into his lab. “I need to clean up.”
“You can do that tomorrow night,” Leo said stubbornly.
Donnie might’ve felt like collapsing- everything ached, literally everything- but he had things to do, he always had things to do. Sleeping right now wasn’t the priority, everything else was.
Leo didn’t seem like he was moving any time soon.
Donnie tried reasoning with his brother. “My lab’s a mess; I have to check if my experiments weren’t completely ruined in the explosion, and I’m not even sure if the lights work anymore-”
“Bed,” Leo said, giving Donnie the ‘I-know-better-than-you’ look he always did.
“No,” Donnie said, even more stubbornly than his brother.
Leo gave him a measured look, and then clapped his hands. “Raph, Mikey?”
Donnie didn’t even have time for confusion, as he felt two sets of arms wrap around his waist. “Wait, no- guys-!”
“Bed time Dee, no ifs ands or buts!” Mikey said, hauling Donnie away from his ruined lab. “Ha, butts.”
“You were literally turned into dust tonight, you’re resting whether you like it or not,” Raph said gruffly, ignoring Donnie’s struggling.
“I have work though! I need to clean up, and- and check on my experiments-”
“Tomorrow.” All three of his brothers said.
Donnie’s feet slid uselessly against the stone, and his aching muscles couldn’t muster enough strength to resist both Raph and Mikey’s dragging. They pulled him down the steps into the media pit, and he was forced to sit down on a mattress they’d dragged out from somewhere.
“Stay,” Mikey said, pointing a stern finger at Donnie before he scurried off.
Donnie huffed, and couldn’t have moved even if he tried; what with Raph’s strong arm holding him in place.
“I have things to do,” He tried one more time.
“You have sleep to catch up on,” Leo corrected as he passed by, heading for the television.
“It’s not even two AM yet,” Donnie protested. He never went to bed this early, not until at least eight AM. “The night’s still young!”
“Not after what we went through its not,” Raph said, still holding Donnie on the bed with an arm slung around his shoulders. “If I feel like sleeping for a week, I don’t wanna know how you feel.”
“I feel fine!” Donnie snapped. Then he winced, because he hadn’t meant to go off like that.
“Yeah, clearly,” Raph scoffed.
“I got blankets!” Mikey exclaimed, reappearing with a mountain of soft fabrics in hand. “Pillows too!”
Donnie didn’t have a chance to protest as three pillows were tossed behind him, and he was forced to recline against them. Followed in quick succession were at least five blankets, and Mikey throwing himself on top of the pile, probably to hold Donnie further in place.
Leo came back from the television, a soft blue light coming from it as the VHS tape started playing. He slid onto the huge, old mattress they’d all piled onto, right next to Mikey. With all three of them clustered around Donnie, he felt like they were kids again; having a sleepover all together like they’d used to.
Donnie shifted his limbs, but found he was pinned by the combined weight of his brothers on the blankets. “Guys, seriously.”
“Donnie, seriously,” Raph mimicked back.
“You said I was supposed to go to bed,” Donnie started, thinking of the half done gadgets he had hidden in his room. He could work on those instead of cleaning his lab. “How come I’m not in my bedroom?”
“Because,” Leo said, tossing an arm behind Mikey to pat Donnie’s head. “You have stuff in there you’d work on, and then you’d never go to sleep.”
Donnie opened his mouth to defend himself, and then shut it and slumped into a sulk.
“Ha, gotcha,” Mikey teased, gently elbowing Donnie’s side.
“Shut up,” Donnie grumbled irritably. “You’re all horrible for my work ethic.”
“You’re a workaholic, so we’re all going to chill out for once, and you know, be happy we’re all still alive,” Raph said, tone getting heavy all of a sudden.
Donnie shifted uncomfortably, fresh and painful memories coming up. “I’m fine guys, really. Let me go work.”
“Are you actually fine, Dee, or are you just sayin’ that?” Mikey questioned, eyeing Donnie with unmasked sharpness for once.
Donnie stared down his brother for a moment, taking in the pointed and very aware look in Mikey’s eyes, and then he sighed, slumping further into his blanket and pillow shackles.
“No…” Donnie mumbled, admitting what he’d hidden earlier, while April had still been around.
“See? Now was that so hard to admit?” Leo said.
Donnie ignored the playful jab, focusing his tired eyes on the television screen instead.
So maybe he ached all over. So maybe his head felt like one enormous migraine. So maybe he wasn’t as fine as he’d claimed to be.
None of that meant anything.
But, the way Raph’s solid arm held him in place, and Mikey’s unabashed snuggling warmed his side, and Leo’s hand was left hanging on Donnie’s shoulder, wrapped around Mikey and just touching Raph’s arm, completing their small circle of mutual closeness-
That? That meant a lot.
Donnie wasn’t even sure what was playing on the television anymore. His eyesight was drifting, and starting to blur with sleepiness. He felt warm for the first time all night, the blankets and bodies surrounding him chasing off the chill that had settled into his bones.
He felt his head nod to the side, but caught himself before it fell.
“Go to sleep Donnie, we got you,” Raph said quietly, minding his volume. A soft hum from Leo, and Mikey’s head bumped against Donnie’s shoulder. Unanimous agreement then.
Maybe work could wait till tomorrow.
Donnie’s eyes slid shut, welcoming blackness for the sting that had been plaguing them, and he let his head fall sideways onto Raph’s shoulder.
Donnie didn’t even make it through the first ten minutes of the movie.
The last thing he felt before he fell asleep, was the combined warmth of his brothers, his family. Solid and real and exactly what he needed, even if he’d denied it.