Title: Training

Author: Stormy

Story Status: One-shot, complete

Warnings: Fluffy stuff, 5-year old Mikey, light-hearted Raph but still somewhat in-character I believe.

Notes: This fic takes place in the same fic arc as "Colors". Basically, Mike has been regressed to five years of age ala the eps "Adventures in Turtle-Sitting" or "Back to the Egg" instead of the others, and in this instance, there hasn't been a cure yet – nor do they expect one to be found any time soon. The other turtles and Splinter must learn to live with a five year old mutant. ^^

Additional Notes: Again, it must be pointed out that my fics are a combination of the cartoon and Image, not one or the other specifically. There will be elements of both in the story arc.

Written: 18 November 2002


Mike sat cross-legged on the mat Splinter had told him to stay on and watched, his brown eyes wide with excitement. His big brothers leaped and flipped in front of him, striking and dodging in a frenzy that made him think of people dancing.

He knew they were 'sparring', not really fighting. Leonardo and Splinter had talked to him before practise, explaining that while it looked like they were fighting, it was only for play. It wasn't real.

It was still interesting for the five year old.

His big brother Raph had promised to teach him to 'spar' too. Mike glanced up at the sidewall where a pair of nunchucks hung on the weapons rack.

Those were his. He knew they were. He had asked if he could use those, and Raph, Donnie and Leo's eyes had gotten even bigger then his. Leonardo had asked him how he knew they were his, but Mike could only shrug. He wasn't really sure.

He knew he hadn't always been that small, even if he didn't really know why. He knew that he used to be as big as his big brothers. He knew that the same way he knew the nunchucks belonged to him.


" Hey squirt! It's your turn!"

Mike whipped his head back around, a fierce scowl aimed at Raphael's direction. " Don't call me squirt!"

Scrambling to his feet, nearly tripping over his bandanna tails as he did so, he hurried over to where Raph and Splinter stood in the center of the floor. Donatello and Leonardo stood at the sides, leaning casually against the wall. None of them wanted to miss their little brother's first day of training.

Leonardo grinned at the look of excitement on Mike's face. It had been decided earlier that day that Raphael would be the one to assist in Mike's learning, rather then him. It had rankled him at first, until he had realized just why Raph was better suited. The red-clad turtle may have been a foul-mouthed, easily angered grouch – but around Mike, he had actually begun to mellow. He couldn't stay angry in Mike's presence, and Splinter had even confided in Leonardo that the darkness that so easily swept through Raphael disappeared when the two were together.

Yin to the yang. Leonardo nodded slightly. Raph was a good choice.

Speaking of which, Raphael was guiding Mike through some of the basic kata's – the first they had ever learned years ago. Leonardo narrowed his eyes as Mike did the next set of movements with very little prompting. Even though his mind and body had regressed to that of a child's, it seemed his body still knew the movements it had been trained to do over sixteen long years.

" Well done, Michaelangelo," Splinter praised the youngster as he finished. Mike beamed up at them.

" Can I spar too?"

Leonardo wanted to protest but Raph crouched down in front of the little turtle, poking him in the sides, eliciting a giggle from him as he reacted to the tickling.

" So you wanna spar? Think you're tough, is that it?" Raph grinned at his little brother. The change in his demeanour was unbelievable.

" Yeah!" Mike bounced up and down. " I wanna spar with you!"

" Okay kiddo – let's see what you got!" Raphael settled into a relaxed stance, his hands in the proper position but relaxed. Mike studied him for a second and then copied his stance, glancing at Splinter to see if it was right. The elderly rat stepped forward, corrected his arms slightly, and then nodded, smiling before raising his hand.

" Go."

His hand dropped. Michaelangelo flew at Raphael like he was turbo-charged, legs kicking furiously. Surprised at the quickness of the attack, Raphael actually missed a block and Mike's little fist struck his plastron.

" Point Michaelangelo," Splinter called the tag, chuckling. Donatello burst out laughing and he and Leo applauded.

" Way to go Mikey!" Donatello called out, thumping his Bo on the ground.

" Not bad," Raph allowed, his eyes glinting with suppressed amusement. " Betcha' can't do it again."

" Can too!" Michaelangelo hurled himself at Raph again, but this time, the older turtle was ready for him. Raph gently blocked each of his little brothers blows, inserting a helpful comment here and there as Mike tried again and again to hit him. Finally, Splinter called a halt to the match, and Mike obediently froze, his chest heaving with exertion, eyes alight.

" You did well, my son." Splinter smiled at the youngster and Mike rushed over to him, hugging him tightly.

" Thank you Sp'inter!" Mike planted a big kiss on the side of the rat's face and then slid to the ground, rushing back to Raphael who caught him in mid-launch, swinging him around and holding him upside down. Mike shrieked with laughter, struggling to break free. Still upside down, he reached out to Donatello and Leonardo. " Le'nardo, Donnie – help me!"

" Oh no you don't!" Raph threw the giggling child over his shoulder and raced out of the training room. " This brat's MY prisoner!"

" We'll save you Mikey!" Donatello could barely walk, he was laughing so hard, but he still managed to chase them out of the room. Leonardo grinned and looked back at Splinter.

" Go ahead," Splinter said wryly. "I do believe practise is over for the day."

Nodding, Leonardo grinned devilishly and took off after his brothers. Splinter stood in the empty training hall, keen ears tuned to the fracas in the living room. Laughter and much shouting echoed down the hall, so light-hearted, it almost brought a tear to his eye. It was amazing what the addition of a child could do. Such light-hearted laughter and innocence brought back the children in all of them, something he found he'd missed. While he and the others would continue to search for a way to bring Michaelangelo back to his proper age, the sentimental part of him wanted to keep him this age forever. Mike was the same way as an adult, always smiling and cheering the others up to the best of his ability, but only as a child would the others allow themselves to act the same way. This time would be filled with memories forever.

Splinter turned the lights to the training room off and went to join his sons.


The End

End Notes: I really think it should be illegal for the author to have this much fun writing. Chibi Mikey is based off every toddler I've ever baby-sitted, which is why he's written so easily. ^^

And so ends yet another fic in the arc tentatively being called the "Child's Play Arc". Reviews are always welcome – and thank you to those that received "Colors" in a favourable light. ^^ If you like it, then I write more, at least until I get told that the idea is now stale. Simple as that. ^^

So with that – Review! It's healthy and nutritious – honestly!