It's pitch black down here. Before he even opens his eyes he can feel it, the darkness pressing against him like something physical- and on top of that, there's something actually physical on top of him, pinning him down. And in that tiny space between newly conscious and actually aware, cool panic slips through the cracks of learned courage and Casey's heart kicks up a notch.
Claustrophobic, Donny had said once, voice gentle and just for the two of them. Casey had scowled but he hadn't denied it, because, yeah. Hell yeah. And now- right now, it's dark. There's no light reaching in from cracks or corners, nothing to hint at how much room there is- or how much room there isn't- and he's maybe a little bit starting to freak out because he can't even move his arms.
But then the rest of his senses come online, the rational side of his brain sprinting to save him before he can make a total idiot out of himself, and he recognizes one of those distant ambient sounds of the dark underground as someone humming.
Oh, yeah. Casey didn't fall alone.
Instantly the humming stops and the weight on him shifts, easing up a little and giving him more of a personal bubble.
"Hey, dude! You finally with me?"
God knows what happened or where they are, but Mike's voice is enough to clear Casey's head completely.
"Looks like it. How long was I out?"
"Not long. You missed the rock parade."
Large, blunt fingers are moving along Casey's arm up to his shoulder. They find his face, and feel around to the back of his head, and it takes Casey a minute to figure out why.
Once he gets it he grumbles, and swats Mike away with a newly freed arm. "Knock it off, I'm fine. I've had worse than a couple knocks on the head, believe me. What rock parade?"
The kid's giggling as he leans back. He's Raph's baby brother, but he's Casey's buddy, too. They have a secret handshake and a few inside jokes no one else understands, and in the darkness that makes them both blind, Mike's relief stands between them as stark and obvious as a neon sign. He's glad Casey's okay.
"The rocks that followed us down. Lucky thing I have a shell, 'cause they would have flattened you, bro. I didn't wanna move till you woke up, in case even more fell down."
Casey shoves his mask to the top of his head- his entire body aches, his eyes hurt from trying to adjust to the absolute darkness- but suddenly the pain and the dark are the last things on his mind, and he stares at the spot where he thinks Mikey's face would be.
He doesn't know a ton about turtles, which seems kinda dumb since he trusts his life to a few of them practically every other night, but to be fair he doesn't know a lot about people, either. But Casey plays a contact sport, and beats up criminals with bats and hockey sticks; he does know a little about bones, and especially how to break them. He knows damage to the spine is a major no- go. And he also knows- from listening to Don patch up his brothers all those times, lecturing angrily and fearfully as he smeared plaster across cracks in their carapaces with unending care- that their shells are infused with their spines.
He reaches out blindly to sock Mike square in the shoulder. A startled yelp echoes around them and Casey snaps, "You're an idiot! What if you got yourself hurt, huh? Next time, just drag me out of the way by my ankles if you have to!"
He doesn't need to see to know there's a wounded pout on Mike's face, 'cause he can hear the turtle's mutter just fine. And maybe it's not fair to yell at him- he's only down there in the first place because of Casey, and he only did the same thing his brothers would have done. And it sounds like he's moving fine, there isn't any underlying tension in the way he's talking, but Casey won't know for sure the kid's okay until he can see him.
"You got a light in that belt of yours?" Casey asks abruptly. "I can't see jack, dude."
"Um... I thiiink I lost my penlight somewhere... man, Donny's gonna be so mad... Oh! Here, you can use my T-Phone."
The shell-shaped cell is pressed into Casey's hand, and he's familiar enough with the battered thing that it's practically muscle-memory to unlock it with a swipe of his thumb. The glow is a hundred times brighter than usual in the dark of the underground, and Casey has to squint through the sudden light as he turns the screen towards Mike. Mike doesn't flinch the way Casey did, watching curiously through the narrowed whites of his eyes.
"What're you doing?"
The cheerful orange of Mike's ninja mask is stained dark on one side- Casey lunges closer, horrified- but the cut is shallow, not even bleeding anymore, and instant relief steals all the air away.
And the kid starts laughing, nudging him away with a friendly shoulder.
"I'm okay! Jeez, brothers are all the same."
Casey shoves him back gruffly; can't help the edges of a smile as it forms on his face.
The T-Phone chooses that moment to go off. The ringer is silenced but it vibrates in Casey's hand, and Mike snatches it away a second later. He answers the incoming call with a gleeful, "Raph? Dude! You guys okay? Yeah, yeah- yeah, we're okay. I think we fell down into a storm sewer. I haven't really tried to look around yet. Should we try to find a way up?" Mike's grin is bright even in the dark, tapping his fingers as he listens to whatever Raph's saying, and after a moment he laughs. "Gotcha! Okay. Sure, here he is."
Casey's not really surprised when the phone gets handed over to him. He puts it to his ear and says, "Hey, Raph."
"Hey, Jones." Raphael's voice alone is enough to make Casey wince; the guy's obviously been freaking out up until this point, and the forced calm would be obvious to anyone who knows him. "Don's tracking Mikey's T-Phone, and he's already mapped a way down to you guys. We're on our way. You good?"
The turtles know about his phobia, they just never mention it. Casey smiles a little in the dark even though what he says is, "I'm fine, you dork. Man, feels like I'm talking to Leo."
"Shut up. And Mikey- Mikey's okay? He said he was, but- "
"He's okay. A little banged up, but yeah." Next to him, Mike rolls his eyes.
"Okay. Good. He didn't do anything stupid down there, did he?"
"Well, let's see," Casey says, slowly. "I guess it depends on how you look at it. Like, on one hand, practically jumping into a black pit and taking a ton of falling rocks on his back just to protect me sounds majorly stupid, yeah." Mike gapes at him while Raph splutters something incoherent on the other end of the line, and Casey grins at them both.
On the other hand, Mike really saved Casey's ass- the same way he saves complete strangers all the time from thugs and low-lives- and there's nothing stupid about that. But Casey figures the guys already know that much. They sound pissed off now, as Leo's voice erupts from the speakerphone in the lecture of a lifetime, but they'll be proud of him, too, once they have him back safe and sound.
"You got me in trouble. You suck," Mike mumbles a few minutes later as he hangs up, and Casey barks out a laugh and slings an arm around Mike's shoulders, tugging him closer.
"Any time, little brother," he says. The kid's head fits against his shoulder almost perfectly, the same way his sister's used to; and when the young ninja innocently suggests a game of I Spy to pass the time, Casey grins and settles in with him to wait for the rest of their family in the dark.