Title: The Thing About Needles

Author: Stormy1x2

Fandom: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Arc: 4th in the Child's Play Arc

Warnings: WAFF, fluffyness, sap,

Notes: This is the 4th in my TMNT series with Chibi Mike. See "Gentle Steel" for the story of what happened to turn Mikey into a 5 year old. The turtles have to adjust to living with a toddler. Raph may seem a bit OOC, but I believe it's just a side of him showing that doesn't get the spotlight very often. And I did try to keep him in character. Let me know what you think.

Also, my turtles are a mixed bag - elements from the original cartoon, Mirage, and the new series on Fox (particularly the lair layout).

Finally, I don't know if there is such a thing as a Rufus nightlight but I'm sure Disney will have one eventually.

September 16, 2005

" Mikey! Come back here!"

Donatello stormed out of their home-made infirmary, scanning the main hall of the lair for his little brother. His much littler brother. It had been nearly a month since Mikey had been regressed back to childhood, and a cure seemed further away then ever. He sighed and rubbed the side of his head, wincing at the knot he could feel just above his bandanna knot.

Sometimes it was fun having Mike around in his current state. So playful. So cute. But then things started occurring to Donatello - important things like Mikey needing a flu shot all over again, since he'd regressed to a time when he hadn't had one. Donatello remembered a good portion of their childhood being filled with sick days - little turtle immune systems didn't function so well in cold, drafty sewers. Now that they had reached a point where they had the supplies to adequately provide care for themselves, it only made sense to inject Mikey so he would stay healthy.

Leonardo and Splinter agreed. Casey and April agreed. Raphael even agreed. The only one who didn't agree was Mikey himself. That's when the cute factor started to fade, and the brat factor started to kick in. The sight of the rather large needle heading in his direction had caused the young turtle to shriek and bolt. A quick lunge revealed that Mikey still had an incredible amount of agility and speed in him, and Donatello had learned first-hand that one shouldn't dive head-first in the direction wherein lies a great deal of heavy metal equipment.

He rubbed his head again and scowled, flicking his eyes upwards where a flash of orange and green had caught his attention. Mikey had scaled the TV's like a little monkey, and had managed to flip himself from the top of the unit to the second floor. He crouched there now, glaring down at his bigger brother.

Donatello stalked over. "Come here Mikey."

"No!" The brat turned and scampered along the corridor and - was that little monster giggling? - disappeared into his room. Hydraulics hissed and Donatello knew the doors were probably locked. A growl escaped him.

"Having trouble?" Leonardo chuckled, setting down his barbell. Slinging a towel around his neck, he approached his frazzled brother. "I see Mikey's not in agreement about his flu shot."

"That's putting it mildly," Donatello growled again. "Look, can you go get him? I whacked my head on the counter in the infirmary."

"Oooh - the metal one?" Leonardo winced.

"Yes. The metal one. And I now have a very strong craving for a Tylenol. Bring the child to me when you catch him. I'll be waiting." Donatello was almost proud of how evil he sounded with his last sentence.

Leo gave him a strange look. "Okay Donnie. But you know, he's just playing around because he's scared."

"Which is why I'll restrain myself from paddling his rear." Donatello finally smiled. "I know, I know - he's never liked needles, even when he was older. But he needs the shot Leo. Remember how sick we used to get? I don't want him to go through that again."

"None of us do. Don't worry, I'll get him." Leo clapped a hand on Don's shoulder, turned, and gracefully flipped himself up to the second level.

"Showoff."

"I heard that." Leo heard Don snicker as the purple-clad turtle headed back to the infirmary, and let out a chuckle of his own. He strode up to the large blue and green doors that blocked the way into Mikey's room, and knocked. "Mikey?"

There was no answer, save for a hushed giggling sound.

"Mikey, come on - open the door. We all agreed you need the shot. It will benefit you greatly in the long run."

More giggles. Leonardo sighed.

"Fine." Checking the door, Leonardo was surprised to see it wasn't locked. He put his hand on the key pad and watched as it slid open. Chaos visually assaulted him - there were toys and comic books everywhere, sketchpads - old and new - piled up on the dresser and the drafting table they'd gotten Mike for Christmas the year before. Some of the younger-aged toys they'd picked up for him since his 'changing' were piled in the middle of the floor, and all of his blankets had been wadded up into a ball and tossed haflway off the bed. The only area not cluttered was a 2-foot radius space around his Rufus nightlight. Leonardo grinned - it seemed Mikey wanted to make sure that the light had an unimpeded path to his bed to keep the dark at bay. "Mikey?"

A flash of green streaked by him and he whirled around to catch him - and wound up with a face full of stuffed rabbit as Mikey switched himself for the toy, darting past the elder brother. Leonardo pulled the toy away, spitting out a mouthful of cottontail and turned to give chase. His first step landed him squarely on Mr Duckerson, Mike's rubber bathtoy. The duck let out an agonized squeak, and Leo let out a surprised bellow, crashing to the ground.

"Owwww..."

A giggle was heard again, and Leo opened his eyes, sitting up partway to see Michaelangelo peeking at him from the doorway. A faint hint of questioning concern was evident in those big brown eyes, but as soon as he saw Leo start to get up, he grinned and disappeared. Leonardo growled.

"That's it Mikey - no more games."

He stomped out of his little brother's room and saw the brat racing away down the circular corridor. Leo gave chase.

Mikey looked back, saw his brother coming and proceeded to flip himself over the railing. Leonardo cried out in alarm. "Mikey!"

Reaching the railing, he saw Mike land on the sofa, bouncing off and hitting the ground running. Leo followed, skipping the sofa entirely. "Mikey! Stop!"

The evil one - as Leo was coming to think of him as - headed for the small bridge that crossed the water access way in the center of the room. Reaching the center, he easily jumped on to the railing. "Can't catch me!" With a wave, the younger brother executed a clean dive into the water.

"Michaelangelo!" Leonardo did a half-sigh, half-growl, and undid his shoulder harness, placing his katannas to the side. Then he dove in after him.

The water was a bit murkey, but the floodlights Donatello had installed under the water gave a great deal of visibility. Leonardo saw his brother darting in and out among the scaffolding and tried to snatch him. No such luck.

It figures, Leo thought with a mental sigh. In his regular state, Michaelangelo's natural atheletic ability easily matched that of any professional Olympian. As a child, Leo had hoped Mikey would be easier to catch. But it seemed that the young turtles body still posessed the training and ability he'd always had - and he seemed to be faster, particularly in the water. Well, duh. He's smaller, sleeker in this form, and his muscles still remember how to move the right way. And Mikey always was the fastest swimmer of us all.

Another snatch-grab yielded nothing but a fistful of water, and suddenly Mikey was swimming back up to the surface. Leonardo threw himself into a powerful frog stroke, trying to make up some lost ground.

Breaking the surface, Leonardo caught sight of his troublesome brother bouncing across the room, water dripping and flinging everywhere. Donatello poked his head out of the infirmary door.

"Haven't you caught him yet?" His brow furrowed a bit as he took in Leo's watery location. "What are you doing in the pool?"

" Taking a bath," Leonardo spat out. "What does it look like I'm doing?"

"Whoa, careful Leo - you almost sound like me."

Leonardo and Donatello turned to see Raphael in the main doorway of the lair. He had a pizza box in one hand, and two cartons of chinese takeout in the other. "Raph!"

"Don't tell me you two are having problems catching the kid?" Raphael set the food down on an end table and took off his leather trenchcoat. " Fearless Leader and the Brain can't match wits with a five year old?"

"I'd like to see you do better," Leonardo grumbled, hauling himself out of the pool. "I don't care how cute he can be -- he's pure evil!"

Raphael chuckled. "Relax bro - I'll get the squirt."

"Don't call me squirt!" came a shout from the tunnel housing the Battleshell. Raph turned and headed over.

Only one of the lights were on, but that was fine - Raph had the best night-vision of them all, and he could easily make out the long orange bandanna tails that trailed out from behind the rear tire of the Battleshell. "Mikey?"

A giggle wafted out and he could hear skittering sounds. With a grin, Raph thanked his lucky stars that Mikey never really bothered mastering ninja stealth, and silently leaped onto the hood. He froze, utterly silent, and could easily make out the soft sounds of Mikey creeping along the side of the Battleshell. He reached out and up, unscrewing the light bulb quickly. The lights went out, and Mikey stopped short. A whimper wafted up from the front right tire.

" Raph?"

Raphael slid off the hood and gathered the whimpering turtle up. Holding his brother with one arm, he reached back up and screwed in the bulb. Light restored, Mikey's fearful face was revealed, and a scowl replaced the fear.

"That was mean, Raph!"

"But it worked." Raphael grinned at his baby brother. There was a faint twinge of guilt for having frightened Mikey, but he couldn't argue with the results."I'm sorry I had to scare you to catch you, but this has gone on long enough. You need a flu shot, little buddy."

" I don't want one!" Mikey shouted, and then clamped his beak shut, his eyes wide. Raph sighed and sat down on an old work bench of Don's, settling his brother on his lap. Mikey leaned into him, curling his legs up into a pose that had become a familiar sight over the past few weeks.

It was common knowledge that Raphael was a source of strength and comfort to Michaelangelo. He knew his big brother wasn't afraid of anything, and that he would never let any harm come to him. He knew it deep inside himself, from the same place he knew Splinter's nunchakus on the dojo walls belonged to him, really. It was a surety he didn't question, and even though Raph was trying to make him get a needle, he couldn't resist the lure of feeling safe in his big brother's arms.

Raphael watched as Mikey grabbed one of his bandanna tails, tugging the red fabric out enough to lay it alongside one if his own orange ones, before grabbing onto both and holding on tight. He sighed, and gently knuckled the small head.

"So what's so scary about a flu shot?"

"It's a needle. And needles hurt."

"How would you know? You haven't had any yet," Raph said dryly. Mikey shrugged.

"It's big and sharp. Like Le'nardo's kata's-"

"-katanna's," Raph corrected.

"- and your sai's." Mikey poked the three-pronged daggers at Raph's belt. "You guys always say 'don't touch 'cause it'll hurt and I'll bleed' and now you want to poke sharp needles in me."

Raphael chuckled. "Well, it's nice to know that you have been listening when Leo lectures you." He rubbed Mikey's shell soothingly. "Still, a poke from a needle is a lot different then a poke from a sword or a sai."

"It is?"

"Yup. See, needles aren't actually that big. And it's done so fast, sometimes you don't even notice that it happened."

"Really." Mike didn't look all that convinced. Raph shrugged.

"Bottom line kiddo, Donnie, Leo, Splinter and myself? None of us would ever do anything to hurt you. The shot Donnie wants to give you will keep you from getting sick."

"Sick?"

"Big-time sick. Where you're coughing all the time, sniffling, throwing up, you know. Sick, when you drink lots of juice and water, drink medicines every day and you can't eat pizza."

"No pizza?" Mikey's eyes became very wide at the thought. Raphael chuckled.

"No pizza." His eyes suddenly became serious. "I don't want you to get sick like that Mikey. It'll probably happen anyway - one of us is usually sick, especially during the winter - but the flu shot will help keep down the number of times you get sick, or how severe it can get." He lifted Mike's head up so the little turtle could see his face. "I don't want to see my little brother sick, when it could have easily been prevented."

Mikey thought about it. Raph could almost see the little wheels churning in his head and stifled a smile. Then the smaller turtle looked at Raph.

"Will you sit with me when Donnie gives me the needle?"

"'Course I will. Gotta make sure he does it right, right?"

Mikey nodded solemnly. Raph stood up, easily carrying his brother's slight weight. "Speaking of pizza, guess what I brought home for dinner after you have your shot?"

"Pepperoni and cheese?"

"You got it!"

"Yeah!"

The cheers attracted the attention of Leo and Donnie who looked up to see Raphael heading over to them, a happily chattering Mikey sitting on his shoulders, tugging his bandana tails. The older turtle was agreeing to whatever their brother was saying, tweaking his toes and making Mikey squeal.

"Amazing," Leonardo murmured. Donatello nodded.

"Just when I thought I'd gotten used to the sight of a playful Raph." He shook his head as the two arrived. "Are we ready to do this? Or is our little birdy here gonna fly the coop?"

"I'm a turtle, not a birdy," Mikey corrected him. Raph chuckled.

"C'mon, let's get this over with. I hear pizza calling our names."

"The pepperoni and cheese one is saying Mikey," the little one informed him. "You'll have to eat the crusts."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah!"

Donatello followed them into the infirmary, shaking his head. Leonardo grinned, shook his head again, and then headed back to his weights.

End

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