Not the One
Raphael x Reader
Not the One
Prompt: It was hella long and hella good and basically, it’s a soulmate AU with a twist and aaaaaaaaaah I’m in love with this idea.
Note: AAAAAAAAAAAH I’M DYINGGGGG I’M SO EXCITED TO WRITE THISSSSSSS. Edit: this took so much longer than intended, but it came out a lot longer than I intended too, so…
“Yer kidding. A week. We have an entire week like this?” Raph looked at his very human fingers on his very human hands attached to his very (temporarily) human body. “An entire week?”
“Possibly longer.” Donatello scanned himself and his brothers. What had been a lab accident while handling the purple ooze had resulted in whatever this was. Raph had another concern. His soulmate timer was within hours now, and maybe being like this would help him meet the person he was meant to spend his entire life with.
“So…” Leo tried to come up with a plan. But if he was being honest, he had no idea how to handle this.
“We’ve gotta seize the opportunity, dudes. We’re only ever going to be normal once, we have to take advantage of it.”
“And?” Leo raised an eyebrow.
“We’re gonna go to school.”
“So these are your…” The counselor from the high school looked up to April and Casey, the boys standing in a line behind them.
“These are my nephews.” April said. “They’re kind of transfer students, but only for a week or so. It’s part of a program to let Queens students experience what school is like in the rest of New York City.”
“Sounds doable. Do you have their grades and records and such on hand, or do I need to contact their other school for the information?”
“It should all be here, but I can call Principal Mayweather if we’re missing anything.” April pushed her glasses up her nose and handed the counselor a flash drive Donnie had thrown together that morning.
“Great. Thank you so much.”
Raph glanced down at his timer. Minutes. Minutes now. The counselor gave them their schedules and sent them on their way. It was about ten minutes until class was supposed to start, and about ten until Raph was supposed to meet his soulmate. God, his heart was racing in his unusual human chest. He felt like he couldn’t breathe.
April and Casey said goodbye to the boys and told them they’d come pick them up after school. Next, they attempted to find their lockers. All the way up on the third floor above the art wing. Raph scanned the numbers for the four that belonged to himself and his brothers. It took a few minutes, but they found them. God, combination locks were confusing, but Donnie helped him figure it out with his clumsy human fingers. He wasn’t used to having so many. What were the extra two good for anyway?
He grabbed his math book and his notebook and calculator and dumped it into the red backpack that sort of made him feel like he had a shell again. It was a comforting weight, sort of. It gave an illusion that he was still who he had always been, despite looking and feeling so different now. Needing all of the same core classes meant that the boys were together for their first two hours, but they broke off in the afternoon to do the specials they had chosen.
So off they headed to Geometry, where they were sure Donnie would have to explain everything to them. When they got to the classroom, they were greeted by a group of fresh faces. Nerds, jocks, preps, goths, rockers, it seemed that everyone was represented. A few of the girls whispered to one another, subtly pointing to the group of attractive boys in front of them and giggling about the endless possibilities.
“Transfer students, huh? There are some seats over there in the back of the room. What are your names?”
“Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo.” Leo answered. Mrs. Russo’s skeptical face told them he should have given her their nicknames instead. “Our uh, parents are huge art geeks.” He offered.
“I can tell. Well, Renaissance gang, you can sit in the four seats to the left of Ms. (L/N). (Y/N), raise your hand please.”
You didn’t lower the book from your face when you raised your hand. Raph didn’t know what it was about you that was throwing him off, but there was something there. It felt like a wire had wrapped around his heart and was starting to squeeze. Great. A heart attack what- twenty seconds- before he met his soulmate. Wonderful.
He walked over and took the seat beside you, his brothers settling into the other seats. As the bell rang to signal class had started, you folded your bookmark into the center of the book and set it on the desk beside your math stuff. Finally, you glanced over at Raph just as his counter hit zero.
His green eyes widened as he took in everything about you. The cute black plastic frames that sat on your nose, the perfect bun of soft locks that sat atop your head, the music notes painted onto your fingernails and the piano key suspenders that held up your black skirt. You were so goddamned cute he could barely stand it. His heart hammered in his chest. And then he spotted the timer on your wrist.
You still had ten days left.
He looked around to see if anyone else had finished their timer, but there wasn’t anyone. Just him.
“You’re the new kids?” You asked. God, your voice was so sweet. It hurt. Maybe you weren’t meant to be with him, but he knew with all of his beating heart that he was meant to be with you.
“Y-yeah.” Raph replied. “I’m Raphael. Call me Raph.” He smiled at your unknowing gaze. You didn’t know how much you had crushed him in the instants he had known you.
“(Y/N) (L/N).” His eyes wandered to the book on your desk.
“Beastly.” You replied, handing him the worn book. “I’ve read it like seven thousand times. It’s honestly amazing. I’m in love with Beauty and the Beast, so this is just- ugh it’s so good.”
“Hmm.” He flipped through the pages before handing it back to you. “I’ll have ta check it out sometime. Never seen it.”
“You what?! We’ve gotta change that.” You smiled at the little interaction.
“Might just have to take ya up on that offer.” He grinned. You felt your heart melt a little.
Mrs. Russo started the lesson, and it didn’t take long for Raph to become completely and utterly confused. Donnie was busy helping Mikey and Leo seemed to understand what was happening, but Raph was so lost. And based on the notes on your page, you seemed to get it.
“Hey,” he whispered. “Can you uh, I don’t get it.”
“Sure!” you nodded. “What do you need help with?”
“How are ya supposed to use the whatever-it-is to find the side? I keep getting’ the wrong numbers.”
“Okay so this is the hypotenuse.”
“And so you just add the squares of the other sides to-”
“This is a triangle, what do squares have to do with it?” he asked. You giggled.
“You’ve never taken Geometry before, have you?”
“How’d ya guess?” he offered a sheepish chuckle and shook his head. “It may as well be written in Chinese.”
“Well, tell you what, I don’t have any plans after school. If you need a tutor, you could come to my apartment. We’ll watch Beauty and the Beast and do math. Two birds in one stone.”
“Sounds great.” He felt his heart start hammering again and wished it would stop. He couldn’t have you. You weren’t his to have. He wasn’t your soulmate. The universe didn’t care about his feelings. And yet, he accepted the invitation knowing full well that the more he built up momentum, the harder he’d fall when he lost you.
“I can’t believe you’ve never seen this movie.” You told him as you sat down with the popcorn on the couch of your apartment. The math was done, and now all that was left was to expose him to the movie you held nearest and dearest to your heart.
“Grew up with four boys, there’s not a whole lot of Disneying that goes on.”
“Well, I guess that’s what I’m around for, right?” You asked, tossing a few kernels of fluffy popcorn into your mouth. Raph grabbed a handful too.
“Guess so. That and math assistance.” He chuckled. You pressed play and draped a blanket over your legs and his. You had only met Raph that afternoon, but it felt like you had known him for years. Maybe he was just meant to be your best friend. Maybe there was a secret internal clock that had stopped ticking while the one counting down her true love was still running.
As the movie started, Raph watched every second. He loved every minute of it, but maybe only because he had you beside him, reciting every word right along with it. He was surprised the DVD even worked at all with how many times you had probably watched it. It was unhealthy, but this perfect little quirk was one of the many things he’d miss when he’d have to let you go.
After morning classes the next day, you found Raph and his brothers at lunch and took a seat with them instead of sitting with your other friends as you usually did. The other three smiled at you. They had talked to Raph the night before in a conversation that had basically consisted of Raph telling them about his soulmate that wasn’t his soulmate and the movie they had watched about loving people beyond their exterior. Donnie had called it beautifully tragic and pretty damn ironic. Raph agreed. But he was determined to be friends with you at least. He wanted to get to know you. He’d rather know you for a week and then never see you again than never know you for who you really were before it was too late.
“Hey (Y/N),” Raph grinned.
“So, I figured, if this is your only week here, we’ve gotta make the best of it. Mall. Tonight. Do you have plans?”
“No.” Leo answered. “No plans.”
“Good. I have a car. Meet me by my locker after school.”
“All right, angelcakes.” Mikey winked. “We’ll be there.”
Here they were. The mall. It wasn’t what they had expected, but in a way, it was. There were pretzel stands and pop-up Chinese food places, a bunch of clothing stores that they could smell from the other end of the mall, and of course the movie theater. You and the boys nestled into the corner booth of the food court with giant pretzels, nachos, and giant red slushies. And they just watched.
“You guys act like you’ve never been to a mall before.” You chuckled, taking a sip of your slushy. They offered apologetic shrugs.
“Would it be bad if we told ya we haven’t?” Raph asked. You raised an eyebrow.
“Seriously?! This trip has taken on a new importance. After we finish these pretzels, we have a mission.”
“What are we gonna do?” Leo asked.
You had promised everything, and you had pretty much delivered. Hollister? Check. Target? Check. The arcade? Check. Photo booth? Check. Movie? In progress. Raph as seated beside you with Mikey on his other side. Mikey kept making attempts at signaling his older brother to get him to make a move on you. Raph shook his head. The move wasn’t his to make. He couldn’t push himself on you. Not like this.
But when there was a huge jump scare, you clung to his bicep, causing both of your heart rates to soar. A slow smile crept across his lips.
“Oh, I-I’m sorry.” You apologized. Raph leaned into whisper a reply.
“No harm done. If ya need someone to protect ya from the monsters, I’m right here.”
“Oh hush, you.” You giggled as a timid blush settling across your cheeks and gave his shoulder a tiny shove, earning a deep chuckle. Another distorted creature jumped out of the shadows on the screen. Mikey spilled popcorn, and you pulled one of Raph’s large hands in front of your face. He laughed and smiled at you, a soft smile that his brothers had never seen before.
But it faded just as fast as it had formed with the realization that he only had a few more days with you before he’d have to say goodbye. Forever. He had been human for so long now that he had forgotten he’d have to go back. The clock was ticking. He had to take advantage of this while he could because before he knew it, he’d lose his soulmate just as fast as he had found her.
The week passed in a breeze. Your school days consisted of helping Raph with math and having lunch with him and his brothers. After school hours, all five of you would pile into your car and go back to your apartment for pizza and movies. But today…today was different. Today was goodbye. Raph wanted to make it special. If he was going to let you go, he certainly didn’t want you to forget him.
April had helped him pack a picnic basket and assisted him with his surprise present. So at noon on Saturday, he arrived at your apartment to pick you up and then you took the train to Central Park.
He had told you that the rest of the boys were busy packing up, but really they just wanted to give their brother space to say goodbye to you on his own. After all, he was the one losing the most when they became turtles again. He had hours.
You sat down on the red and white checkered blanket and helped him unpack the food and such. You popped a bright strawberry into your mouth. It was a few minutes before Raph brought up the topic of goodbye.
“So uh, we’re goin’ back to Queens tomorrow.” Raph said. You nodded. “So uh, I wanted to say goodbye.”
“It’s not like we can’t still hang out, right? We can still be friends.” You looked at him. He smiled sadly. “Can’t we?”
“I don’t know. I just…I’m not what you think I am…I’m not who you think I am. You’re meeting your soulmate in three days and-”
“How did you know about that?” you asked, heart racing at the thought of the future being so close. Too close.
“It’s on yer wrist.” Raph shrugged. A sad look formed in his green eyes and a sudden wave of realization washed over you. You grabbed Raph’s hand, pulling his wrist so you could see it. He tried to pull it back from you, but didn’t want to fight you, and he didn’t want to lie to you either. Well, more than he already was anyway.
“Your timer…” Your face scrunched up. “Who’s your soulmate?”
“That’s a…complicated question.” Raph answered. You looked at him slowly, hesitating to meet his gaze. As soon as your eyes fell on his, his hand tensed up.
“No.” your voice was quiet, eyes wide and heart trying to escape your chest. “It can’t…I can’t…Mine is still…” Your eyes locked onto the numbers as they ticked lower and lower. You denied it, and yet maybe you had known the moment you met him. Something was off. Something about the way h talked to you, the way he interacted with you.
“I know. It’s impossible. But uh, I never really expected to have a soulmate anyway, so…I guess at least I got to know ya before I gotta say goodbye.”
“It’s all right.” Raph read the hurt on your face. The broken that came with the hand the universe had dealt the two of you. “I’ll be all right. So will you when you meet him.” He reached into the basket. “I got ya something to remember me by.”
Raph pulled out a little velvet box and opened it. Inside was a necklace: a silver turtle pendant on a leather cord. “I…I know it ain’t much, but-”
“I love it.” You told him. You wish you could tell him more. That you loved him, that you were his soulmate, but one of those statements wasn’t true. Raph did the clasp around your neck and pulled your hair over the cord. He smiled sadly. You took his hand in your own. “No matter what happens…no matter what the universe has in store for either of us…I will never forget you, Raphael. I promise. And I know it doesn’t matter much, but…I love you.” You stated quietly. He pulled you into his arms and held you as though you would disappear.
“It matters more that ya could ever know. I love you too.”
Raph woke up the next morning the way he grew up. A turtle. Big and bulky and covered in muscle. His scales and shell had reappeared as his extra fingers and hair had disappeared. He rolled over and stared at the wall. You were gone. He had lost you forever, and two nights from now, you would move on. You would forget about him.
He rolled onto his shell and stared at the ceiling, cursing the universe for everything. He wanted to punch something, so off to the dojo he went to punch the shit out of their punching bag. This went on for two days. Raph listened to his loud music and punched their bag until it fell off of its hook, only to pick it up and repeat the cycle. He barely ate, and every time he tried to sleep, all he could see was your face and the sadness in your eyes when you realized you were his but he couldn’t be yours. The heartbreak he had caused. The heartbreak he had received.
He should have just left you at the very beginning. Then he wouldn’t be like this.
When Leo announced a patrol on the night you were going to move on from him, he was ready to bust some heads. How else was the emotion supposed to get out of him? His anger, his sadness, his regret, he was going to get rid of all of it.
And so out they went, out of the sewers and onto the surface, hopping from building to building until finally, they found what they were looking for: crime. Some lowlife gang members were harassing some chick, and they were going to put a stop to it. Except, the chick wasn’t just any old girl. It was you. Raph stopped in his tracks, the anger bubbling up inside of him before diving in to pull the guys off of you. The guys were going to help him, but he didn’t need it. He was so powerful, zipping through the shadows like, well, a ninja. The guys left standing ran for the hills, terrified of the huge green creature that had beat up their friends.
You took a few shaky steps backwards. What if whatever had helped was coming for you next. You couldn’t see him in the dark, but Raph could see you. Even now, you were stunning. You took a few steps forward, causing him to step back.
“I ain’t who ya think, (Y/N).” Raph said. Your breath hitched, eyes awash in realization.
“Raphael?” Your broken voice sliced through the silence. He didn’t answer. “Y-your voice sounds d-different.”
“Ya don’t gotta be afraid.” He tried to reassure you. His voice came from much higher than it had in the past. Had he always been this tall? Your heart hammered and your face reddened and you didn’t know why you were scared, but you were. “It’s okay.”
“Raph, let me see you.”
“I uh…don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“Please.” You whispered. You glanced down at your wrist. There were seconds left. “Please.”
“I want ya tah remember me that way. Not like…this.”
“What do you mean?” You knew what he meant.
“Please, just go home, (Y/N)! Forget about me!”
“I…I can’t, Raph! I can’t just pretend you don’t exist!” You stared at the numbers before holding up your wrist to show him, if he could even see. “I think you’re my soulmate! And for some reason the wires got twisted somewhere, but…Please, Raphael. I love you.” You looked up at where he stood in the dark for a few more seconds before collapsing to your knees, tears rolling down your soft cheeks. Raph carefully, slowly knelt before you so quietly you hadn’t heard him.
He pressed his hand against your cheek, wiping away the tears with his large green fingers. Your eyes opened gradually, rising to look up at his tear-filled green eyes in time with the ding of your timer. The large, rough green face in front of you was a little more than a shock. Your eyes widened. He began to pull away, but you grabbed his huge green hand, keeping him there.
“I’m sorry. About all of this.” He didn’t dare to look at you. Not now that you knew what he truly was. Your small hand ventured up to his cheek, gently travelling across the scales there. Your tentative touches sent shivers up his spine.
“Sorry for what?”
“I’m sorry yer stuck with-”
“Shhhhh…” You shushed him, wrapping your arms around him tightly. He held you against his chest, his arms moving slowly to embrace you. He had never imagined you could love him. Not like this. But here you were, hugging him as though he was human.
“But I’m a freak.” Were the only words he could manage to put together.
“You’re not a freak.” You pulled away so you could look at him. “You’re a hero. If it weren’t for you and your brothers, I would be dead three times over.” You paused, watching the slow smile that formed on his cheeks. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” His voice was muffled by the fabric of your sweatshirt as he buried his face in the crook of your neck. “I love you so freakin’ much.”