A/N: This is a companion piece to my fic "Sleep in Heavenly Peace", though "Solo" and "I Dare You" are also referenced. It takes place directly following "Solo".
Disclaimer: I do not own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Sitting on the floor in Michelangelo's room, April thumbed through the young turtle's photo album as the sound of brother chasing brother rolled in through the doorway. She smiled over the pictures of the four siblings as Mikey's laughter cut through the noise of running feet and various objects being knocked to the ground. Apparently Raph hadn't caught the little eavesdropper yet.
As Mikey had promised, she had already stumbled across some highly amusing photographs. Aside from the aforementioned toilet paper-ing of the lair and Donnie creating a rocket powered skateboard with hilarious results, she'd also found ones depicting a sleeping Raphael with graffiti all over his face and Leo wearing a homemade Captain Ryan costume. It seemed there was rarely a dull moment growing up for the young turtles. But as she turned the page again, it wasn't a photo that caught her eye but a folded piece of paper with Mikey's name scrawled in childish letters.
Picking it up, she opened it, curious as to what sort of note the youngest turtle would deem important enough to keep tucked away amongst his precious childhood memories. The grin on her face grew as she scanned over it, and she couldn't help but let out a soft chuckle. It was a letter from Santa, but by the handwriting and grammar alone it was obviously written by one of his older siblings.
"Did Mikey sneak in here?"
April looked up at the sound of Raph's voice. He was standing in the doorway, his eyes scanning the room for any sign of his little brother.
"Huh?" she said distractedly, "Oh, no, he's not in here. But while you're here, what's this all about?"
As she held up the red piece of paper, she could see the turtle's green eyes widen slightly with surprise before he quickly replaced it with his normal scowl.
"It's a letter from Santa, what's it look like?" he mumbled as he quickly turned to leave.
"You found my letter from Santa!?"
Before Raph had the chance to escape, Mikey barreled into him excitedly and both turtles tumbled into the room. The elder only managed a quick bop to the younger's head before Mikey had scrambled past him and up to April, snatching the letter from her grasp. Holding it out in front of him, he stared at it in awe.
"Oh man, I totally forgot I put it in my photo album! You're the best, April!" He gripped her in a tight hug before letting go and settling down next to her. "You know my teddy bear, Mr. Claws? That was the first present Santa ever got any of us. He brought it a day early, though, so I didn't have any snacks ready for him and his reindeer, so Sensei helped me write him a letter telling him to expect two helpings the next year."
Catching the older turtle trying to retreat out of the corner of her eye, April raised her voice. "So, was this the year he brought you your drum set, Raph?" The annoyed look he shot her at being brought into the conversation only made her smile grow.
"No," he said shortly.
"This was the year before that," answered Mikey, "Remember? I told you I asked Santa to bring one for him? This is the note he wrote back after that. Raph got his drum set the very next year." The young turtle seemed quite pleased with himself, as if Raph receiving his drum kit was thanks to him alone.
Glancing from the handwritten letter to Raph fidgeting in the doorway and back again, she couldn't help but smirk. The pieces were beginning to come together.
"So, you were the only one to get something that year?" asked April. Mikey nodded in confirmation. She again caught the older turtle's eye. "I'll bet you were pretty upset at being left out, huh, Raph?"
Folding his arms with a huff, he nervously looked away. "No," he said bluntly, "Why would I want a stupid stuffed bear anyway?"
"But, that is kind of weird, isn't it?" she pushed, trying to sound as innocently curious as she could, "And why would he bring it a day early?"
"Sensei said that Santa brings gifts to kids that really needed them," said Mikey, "We'd just moved into the new lair, and I'd been having trouble sleeping, so Santa wanted to make sure I got a good night's rest so I could have an awesome Christmas."
With that, the full puzzle at last came together. The childish handwriting, only Mikey getting a gift, Raph's odd behavior - she smiled at the thought of the tiny turtle going out of his way to look out for his baby brother. Still, that didn't mean she wasn't enjoying having a bit of fun at his expense.
"Doesn't anything else strike you as odd with this letter, though?" she asked Mikey, catching the nervous glance that Raph shot her.
Mikey merely looked at her curiously. "Whaddya mean?"
"Just look at the handwriting. Not only that but the grammar. I mean, is this really from Santa? This doesn't look like something an adult would write. Doesn't it seem kind of," she sent a pointed look toward Raph, "childish?"
Before Mikey even had a chance to respond, the anxious turtle jumped in. "So what? What kind of guy gives away free toys, anyway? Maybe he put so much work into making the toys that he didn't have time to learn how to write properly." Shifting uncomfortably where he stood, he glanced away. She could see his cheeks beginning to redden. "If it says it's from Santa, who are we to say it's not?"
April smiled, trying her best not to laugh. It was too easy to unnerve the grumpy turtle. She didn't know why he persisted in hiding the truth behind who was really responsible for the bear and the letter, but she decided to let him off the hook, for now, anyway. She raised her hands in defeat.
"Alright, fine. Clearly you are a much bigger expert on Santa Claus than I am," she teased before patting the floor next to her. "Why don't you come sit and look through the album with us."
Raph hesitated. The older turtle didn't appear all that interested, but she could tell he was weighing his options carefully - either stay and possibly encounter further embarrassment or leave and allow Mikey to spill the full stories behind each photo. As he at last had made up his mind, he opened his mouth to reply but found himself cut off by his baby brother.
"Ooh! Raph! Look at this one!" He was excitedly waving his older sibling over as he pointed to a photo of the Atomic Robo-X arcade machine. "This was the very first high score we ever recorded, remember? I did so awesome!"
Rolling his eyes, Raph stomped over and sat down on the other side of April. "You were the first to play a full round on it, you dork. I beat your score right after."
April giggled as the two debated the details of their childhood until something caught her eye. Looking closer at one of the photos she noticed the corner of something behind it peeking out. Curious, she reached down and pulled out the hidden photograph.
The two turtles paused and looked at her before noticing what was in her hand.
"Care to explain how you managed to take a picture of this?"
Raph snorted while Mikey quickly grabbed the photo and hid it from view, though the damage was already done. April had already seen the image of a very much under fifteen year old Mikey clutching his teddy bear under a bench up on the street, a human pair of legs in the background. The young turtle laughed nervously.
"Now there's a good story…"
I am glad you like Mr. Claws. You are really good at naming stuff. Your brothers sound like awesome guys, especially Raph. I will try to get them cool stuff next year.
HO HO HO Merry Christmas
P.S. No algae cookies.
P.P.S. I'll see what I can do about that tire swing.
A/N: On "Sleep in Heavenly Peace", guest reviewer SarahlovesTMNT had mentioned having Raph write a reply back to Mikey as Santa, and it sounded like a cute idea. Not sure it came out as I wanted, but it does count as short fic number three for the week, so I'm still on track!
Speaking of, I'd like to try doing this another two weeks putting me at a full month, but I don't quite have enough prompts. If anyone has any prompt ideas, I'd love to hear them! Just remember I only need a few, so don't be upset if I don't use yours, please!
And as always, critics and grammar police appreciated!