"Mas'er Splin'er!" Mikey cried, jumping up and down, threatening to burst with joy, "Mas'er Splin'er, wake up! It's Chris'mas! Mas'er..." he was cut off when his Sensei opened the door to his bedroom. "It's Chris'mas!" he informed him.

"Yes, Michelangelo," Splinter replied with a fond smile. "So I heard. But please try not to wake your brothers."

But Leo and Don were already in the main room, jumping around and shaking presents wrapped in makeshift paper. Splinter looked down at his youngest son, who was bouncing on the balls of his feet.

"Very well," he said, "I will go check on Raphael."

A few minutes later, the three brothers were sitting quietly but impatiently, each with a present in his lap. They seemed to be opening them with their eyes, so intense were their stares. Splinter cradled his son gently in his arms and set him on the couch. Raphael coughed.

"You brothers will find you your presents, Raphael," he said. Raph nodded.

"Wait!" cried Mikey. "Not yet! There's somethin' I gotta give you first." He dove under the couch and retrieved a brightly decorated sheet of folded paper. "It's a get well card. I've been workin' on it for a long time."

Raph's eyes were downcast, but he gave his little brother a small smile. "Thanks, Mikey," he said.

Michelangelo's young eyes were quiet and full of understanding as he looked his brother in the eye.

"Must be a bummer," he said quietly.

Raph muttered, "You have no idea," so quietly under his breath that even Sensei couldn't hear him. Mikey looked sad for a moment, but brightened suddenly.

"I have an idea!" he cried. "I'll be you!"


"I'll be you! You're sad 'cuz you hafta stay on the couch, so I'll be you and get your presents so you don't hafta miss out on getting them!" The three brothers exchanged dubious looks.

"Mikey," asked Don slowly, "Have you hit your head on something recently?"

"Cuz you're sounding kinda psycho," said Leo.

"So, what else is new?" Raph pointed out.

"No way!" Mikey cried. "It's a great plan! Watch." He folded his arms and scowled. "Look, I'm Raph and I'm real tough. Whatev-ah." Mikey punched the armrest of the couch as hard as he could, then let out a girlish shriek of pain. "Ow," he whined, cradling his knuckles.

"Hey, stupid," said Raphael as Don and Leo roared with laughter, "That's not me."

"I didn't mean that part," said Mikey indignantly. He scowled again and said in an exaggerated deep voice, "I'm gunna go find my presents now. Try ta stop me and I'll... punch ya." It was all Splinter could do to contain his laughter as Mikey proceeded to pounce on the pile of presents, zealously root through them for one with Raph's name, fish it out, and bring it back. "There," he said proudly as his sick brother took it in his hands. "Now I'm Mikey again. See that?"

There was a momentary pause.

"It is pretty clever," Donatello admitted.

"Thoughtful, too," said Leo.

"You," Raph said to his youngest brother, "Are so dumb."

Mikey's face fell. Raph grinned.

"But thanks anyway, bro."

Mikey beamed. There was another pause as the two brothers looked at each other. Michelangelo hugged Raphael fiercely.

"Hey, hey," said Raph, "Quit with the mushy stuff before I... cough on you or somethin'."

"Wouldn't matter," said Mikey, "Donnie says moo-nony-a is nonc... no- non... noncom... nonconnun..."

"Noncommunicable," said Don.

"Yeah," said Mikey. "That. So," he stuck out his tongue and said in a sing-song voice, "you can't hurt me. Nyah nyah..."

"That is enough," said Splinter. "You may now open your presents."
"Razor," the young girl chided, "Be patient. Stop moving."

Dr. Cartagan smiled. "Don't worry about it, Brittany. I've measured squirmier little guys than this one before. There," she scribbled some numbers down on to a piece of paper. "Almost finished. Just have to pop him on the scale, and they'll be done."

"Are we really your last patients ever in New York?"

"Yep. I leave tomorrow."

"See that?" the little girl poked one of the three turtles in the cage. "You should feel special." The turtle waved his head and looked at her hand closely. "No," Brittany said, sighing, "I don't have any food. And for the last time, neither does she. You'll get a treat when we get home, if you're good."

"Bean?" Cartagan asked.

"Yep. What's so funny?"

"Nothing. They just kinda remind me of some friends of mine."

"Really? People or turtles?"

Cartagan had to hide a smile. It took her a second to come up with the right word.

"Teenagers," she finally decided on. "There you go," she said, picking up Razor and placing him back in his cage. "All done."

"Good. See that?" Brittany shook a finger at Razor. "All done. Hey. Don't you look at me like that. It's for your own good. And maybe your next Vet won't be so nice. Then what will you do? Bite them?" Silence. "He wishes."

Cartagan smiled.

"Well, bye," said Brittany. "Have a nice time in Vermont."

"Thanks. Bye."

It was with a slightly sad smile that Jeanie shut the door behind her for the last time. She hadn't told the others, though some of them may have suspected, but part of her reason for moving was a fear that if she stayed too long, her former employment might come back to bite her. She knew that April had burned the pictures, that the henchmen Ratcliph hired had returned to their normal lives, and that Mr. Miller had a new job in Britain. But of Sir Ratcliph himself, she knew nothing. Was he alive? Was he dead? Was he climbing back up to power? Cartagan didn't know. And she didn't want to be in Manhattan if he ever got back on his feet.

A strange noise, like a footstep on metal, echoed from the alley behind her. Cartagan spun around, but upon hearing and seeing nothing, unlocked her car.

She was certain by now that he knew, or had a strong suspicion, that she had a part in his failure. The thought of what he could do to her... she shuddered. Best to move to rural Vermont, where she could settle down, raise a family among Mountains and trees and grass... maybe even take up skiing again.

"Going somewhere, Doctor?"

Jeanie froze. Her blood ran cold; she clenched her keys hard in her hand to keep it from shaking.

Sir Ratcliph appeared from the shadows, looking none the worse for the wear. His hair had been well-kept, his clothing pressed and spotless. The only sign of failure was in his eyes. And the knife in his hand. Cartagan jumped a mile.

"Ex-excuse me Sir?"

"I asked you if you were going someplace, Doctor Cartagan. Because I have an important matter of business I wish to discuss with you."

"I'm sorry," Jeanie said, doing her very best to keep her voice even. "But I was under the impression that my services were no longer required."

"That is true, Doctor," said Ratcliph, his polite British tone clashing with the glare in his eyes. "But there is a matter on which I wish to speak to you. I believe," he moved the dagger just enough for it to catch the glare of the street light. "That you could spare a minute or two of your time, Doctor?"

Shadows were moving in the alley. Dark ones. They didn't look friendly.

"Of-of course," Cartagan stammered. "How may I help you?"

"Walk and talk?"

The shadows were still moving. Jeanie didn't like them.

"I really don't have that much time, sir," she said, fighting to keep calm. "I would rather just talk here."

"Very well," Ratcliph sighed. Jeanie's pulse slowed, but slightly. Why wasn't he resisting her?

"I've found," Ratcliph continued, as if he had heard her thought, "That when in America, one does as the Americans do, and when in the Big Apple, one does as New Yorkers do." He snapped his fingers. Several dark shadows began to take the shape of several men with black clothing, with clubs and smirks on their dark faces. Cartagan's heart pounded. She fumbled to unlock the door of her car, but a strong hand grabbed her wrist and an arm grabbed her waist and soon her keys were no longer in her posession.

"Hellllll-" her cry was cut off by yet another hand over her mouth. She struggled and clawed and even bit, but there were too many and they were far too strong. This is it, she thought, resigned. I'm going to

A long, loud cry interrupted her thoughts. She heard a thump and a gruff 'oof,' and suddenly was free. Cartagan scrambled to climb into her car amongst the scuffle. She didn't, however, drive off. The henchmen who had come after her all seemed to be fighting one person. And that 'person's' silhouette looked awfully familiar...

Jeanie grinned widely at the sight of his mask tails flapping as he spun. So they were back.

Soon every last henchman was either flat on his back or running away. The turtle didn't bother chasing them.

"You," he said, pointing a green finger at Sir Ratcliph. Ratcliph gaped; Cartagan wondered if he recognized this one or was just terrified of the turtles after what they did the first time around. "This lady is under Official Turtle Protection now, got it? Leave her alone, and we'll leave you alone."

His voice sounded so different...

Ratcliph fled. The turtle spun around as Cartagan climbed back out of her car. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Jeanie nodded breathlessly. "I'm fine, Mikey. Thanks."

"No problemo, dudette," Michelangelo grinned. "Just doin' my duty. You saved my life, and I save yours, right?"

"Yeah. I take it you're feeling better, then?"

"Good as new. It's great to be back in the sweet New York City sewer air." He took a deep breath with an exaggerated sort of contented smile on his face. Cartagan laughed. "Thanks a million."

"Anytime," Jeanie replied. "And I mean that. If you guys ever need me again, just call. April has my number."

Mikey's face fell. "Do you really have to go?" Jeanie nodded.

"'Fraid I do. I had my last day today at work, and I'm all set and ready for things in Mendon."


"It's where the house is. A big, nice rural area. Very woody, lots of mountains. It's by Killington."

"You mean that big ski resort? Sweet! So you could go snowboarding like every day!"

Jeanie smiled. "Pretty much. Though I'm more of a skiier, actually," she said.

Mikey made a face. "A skiier? Bo-ring." Cartagan laughed again.

"I'll see you around, kiddo. I'm sure we'll meet again sometime."

"With all the trouble me and my brothers get into? Count on it, dudette. See ya later."

Jeanie climbed into her car and started the ignition, but when she turned around to give Mikey one last wave, he was gone.
A/N: And... wow. That's it. I always get this weird feeling when a long story like this one is over... like, what do I do with myself now? It's all done. Except with all the College orientation crap (go being a Freshman) and jobs, I'm sure I'll find something. But it's sad, ya know? I love the guys, and writing them is so much fun. 'Specially Mikey. But Don is my second favorite, and as I get more and more into this, he's growin on me a little more. Who knows, maybe something of mine will come out on him. But I make no promises. We'll see.

And thanks. Seriously. For the millionth time, you all rock. There were times when I was having a really crappy day and I would come check for reviews and see a couple new ones, and it would seriously make my day brighter. They just put me in this fantastic mood. So thanks to you all. (And LilPup... yes, in fact, I am going to major in writing. Hopefully if I can support myself that way, I will become a writer. So there you go.)

Till next time...