Hey everyone! So this is an idea that I've been playing around with since the start of season 3 but had no motivation to actually do anything with it until now. It is a multi-chapter fic, but the updates will be very dependent on my uni schedule, so i'm not promising anything as of yet. Mainly I just wanted to post at least one chapter to see if there was any interest in it. Anyway, enjoy!
"Hey Mikey, have you seen the…Is that a chicken?"
Mikey looked up from the TV to meet the gaze of a very confused Raphael. And indeed it was a chicken. One of five chickens that Michelangelo had decided to smuggle into the farmhouse and were now settled around him in front of the TV.
"Umm, feathers, beak, red….thingy on top of its head…Yep. Sure looks like a chicken. Man Raph, I know we grew up in the city but I at least thought you knew what a chicken looked like," Mikey replied.
Raphael balked, the cheeky response from his youngest brother unexpected. It was not an acceptable answer for the hot-headed turtle, whom had been watching over a comatose Leonardo for the past five hours and quite frankly was in no mood for his little brother's sass.
Rubbing a finger to his temple, both slightly annoyed and exasperated with his younger brother, who seemed quite pleased with the reaction he got from his older brother judging by the smirk, Raph tried again "Okay, next question. What the heck is it doing in the house Mikey?!"
The outburst from his brother spooked the chicken that was currently sitting in Michelangelo's lap, and prompted a few squawks from the others. April's head popped around the corner of the living room entrance, Raph's outburst having caught her attention as well.
"Guys? What's going…Mikey what is that chicken doing inside?" She asked referring to the little brown hen that was currently sitting on Mikey's lap. Walking into the living room, April also took in the presence of the three other hens as well as a dark brown rooster perched on top of the rocking chair. "And where did you even find them?"
"There's a hen house out the back and I found these little guys in there."
"Huh. I remember having chickens when we lived here when I was little, but I thought that they would have all escaped when we moved to New York." April shrugged "I guess some of them managed to breed and survive on their own."
"They're pretty awesome right?" Mikey beamed. He stood, holding the chicken that was sitting in his lap and held it up eye-to-eye to his still dumbfounded older brother. "Can I keep them Raph? I'll take real good care of them. Promise!"
Raph had to admit that the little chickens that his brother had apparently adopted seemed very calm around the usually hyperactive turtle. While he was still confused as to why his brother had decided to bring his new pets into the house, he couldn't help but wonder about the benefits this responsibility would have. Mikey had been especially quiet as of late. Not to mention that this was the first time that his little brother actually seemed happy since their escape from New York just over a week ago.
At the thought, Raph's face softened, as he met his younger brother's pleading expression "Alright Mikey you can keep them," his words greeted with an excited 'whoop' and energetic twirl from his brother as well as several indignant squawks from the chicken that he was currently holding. "If that's okay with April of course," Raph added, remembering that being her family farm, the chickens rightfully belonged to April. A look over to the redhead who in turn gave a nod of consent eased his worry though.
"And you know it does have its benefits. We won't have to buy eggs as long as these girls keep laying them." April said, reaching down to pat one of the hens, a fluffy white one, which had taken an interest with her shoes.
"But on one condition, Michelangelo." The use of his full name cut through Mikey's excitement as he calmed slightly to give full attention to his brother. "They can't stay in the farmhouse. You said that you found them in the hen house out back and that's where they belong."
"But Raph," Mikey whined. "The weather guy on the news said that there was a blizzard coming tonight and its already super cold out there! I can't just leave them out there. They'll get cold!"
"Mikey, the hen house is designed to keep these guys warm during the winter," April explained, placing her hand on Mikey shoulder. "It's also sheltered from the wind so that they'll keep warm."
"But there's a massive hole in the roof," Mikey said. "I think a branch fell down from the tree that's next to it. It's still there and blocks the hole up a bit but it's really starting to snow out there and the snow was already starting to fill up on the inside!"
April and Raph stopped at that, shifting their focus from Mikey to each other. Now Mikey's decision to make the chicken's new home inside the farmhouse seemed justified. However, they both knew that this arrangement could not be permanent, especially given the situation they were in.
Raph turned to his despondent sibling "Mikey, they can't stay in the house" he said gently, "There's just no way to confine them to one place in here."
"And with Leo still recovering from his wounds it won't be good for them to be in here," April added. "There is always the risk of infection, especially this early in his recovery."
At the mention of his oldest brother Mikey's face crumpled. "I didn't know that they might make Leo worse," he said sadly.
Raph's arm went around his younger brothers shoulders. "I know you didn't bud, and we would never, never think that you would purposely do something like that. But what April said is right though. They can't stay in here Mikey."
"Oh, I know!" April piped up "We can put them in the barn until the snow clears up enough that we can fix the hen house. I'm sure Donnie and Casey won't mind sharing for a little while. And when the weather clears up a little you could probably ask Donnie to help you do a patch up job on the hen house."
At the suggestion Mikey visibly brightened. The barn was pretty warm despite the wear and tear, which included multiple cracks in the roof and walls. Since their arrival to the farmhouse, between Donnie and Casey's efforts to do so, they had managed to insulate the barn quite well so that they wouldn't freeze whilst working on their late night projects or on those particularly cold days.
And whilst Casey didn't really care about the chickens taking temporary residence in the barn, at the mention of sharing his workshop/lab with five chickens, Donatello was less than pleased. With some delicate experiments in the process, some of which involving mutagen, he argued that having five wandering chickens in the barn was too risky. However, the pointed glares sent his way from both Raph and April told him that there was no discussing the matter. The chickens were staying in the barn and that was final.
Donnie's mind was changed over the course of the chickens stay after watching Mikey interact with them. Each day following the chickens move into the barn, Mikey would stay with the chickens, often just sitting there with them, taking it in turns holding one of them and often striking up conversation with either Casey or Donnie. In Mikey's rare quiet moments, Donnie would look over to his little brother reading a comic book or dozing with the chickens nestled around him. Having not seen Mikey look happy since their defeat in New York, Donnie didn't have the heart to say no to Mikey keeping them. They had lost so much as of late and while it was weighing down on all of them, it seemed to show more with Michelangelo.
Over the course of the next few days that the chickens stayed in the barn, Mikey had begun to see obvious personalities in the chickens.
There was the alpha female who Mikey had dubbed as Mrs. Cluckingsworth. She was the largest of the hens, the majority of her large size consisting of fluffy white and brown feathers. She would usually be close by to the rooster, snuggled up against him when she wasn't claiming the spot on Mikey lap. Later into their stay however, she had taken an interest to Donatello's workshop, much to the genius turtle's annoyance, and Mikey found himself having to constantly drag her away from his brother's experiments.
Then there were the twins, named Henny and Penny. Both were a sleek white, Henny being entirely white and Penny having some light brown speckles around her wings. They were inseparable and Mikey fondly thought of them as team 'Double Trouble'. Though thankfully, for Mikey's sake, they chose to keep their shenanigans away from Donatello's work.
Then there was little Chickpea. She was somewhat smaller than the other hens and was a hazelnut-brown fluff-ball. She was the most clingy of the group and if was not found nestled contently in Mikey's arms, she would be snuggled against his leg, always keeping contact with him.
And last but not least there was the rooster. He was almost twice the size of the girls and was a beautiful dark brown with black speckled around his neck and face. He was the overseer of the hens, a gentle presence when around them but was swift to discipline with a sharp peck on the head if one of the hens (or sometimes Mikey himself) got out of line.
Mikey never told anyone, but he named him Yoshi.
Leonardo sat on the front steps of the O'Neil Farmhouse porch, his crutch leaning on the railing beside him and his injured leg stretched out as he massaged out the twinges in his knee. It had been a week since he had awoken and learnt that he had spent three months in a coma since his defeat to the Shredder. And while most of his injuries had fully healed within that time, his knee was still giving him trouble, especially after fighting against The Creep not forty-eight hours after waking up.
He had insisted on going outside today. The past week he had been cooped up in the farmhouse, confined to the living room sofa. Not that it had been bad though, considering he usually had one of his brothers, Casey or April to keep him company. However, after seeing the spring sunshine seeping through the lower storey windows of the farmhouse and then having a lengthy "discussion" with Donatello on why he should be allowed to go outside, Leo was finally granted his freedom to get some much needed fresh country air and vitamin D.
A squawk from across the yard briefly distracted Leo from the pain in his knee as his attention shifted to the activities of his youngest brother. Michelangelo, currently wearing a worn, straw, wide brimmed hat, was near the barn feeding what looked like, chickens?
Wait, what? When did Mikey get chickens?
"He found them about a week after we got here."
As if reading his mind, Raphael settled against the railing beside his older brother as they both watched their youngest brother before he continued.
"He was really quiet that first week after we got here. The day he found them was the first time I actually saw him somewhat happy after everything that happened. There was no way I could say no to him."
Leo glanced up at his red-clad brother, "You know we can't take them back to New York, right?"
Raph met Leo's gaze "Yeah I know," he said, his attention drawn back to their orange-clad brother, who was currently sitting cross-legged on the grass petting the little brown hen that was nestled within his lap, while the other chickens pecked at the food in his outstretched hand.
"But for now, let him enjoy his time with them."