Title: Loss

Author: Stormy1x2

Notes: Fic number 5 in the "Child's Play" arc. Shorter then the others, and based on a review left by someone who wanted to know whether or not the others missed Adult!Mikey. My turtles are a mixed bag, combining elements from the comics, tv shows (both new and old) etc, etc.

My eyes can't believe what they're seeing, but as I've never been prone to hysteria or bouts of delusion, I can safely assume that what's occurring in the living room is really happening.

Leo and Raph are sitting on the couch with Mikey between them. Raph is grinning and clapping his hands in time to the music on the tv's – some Pokemon music video – and Leo is trying to sing, albeit off-key. Both of them look like they're fighting to keep from outright laughter. Mikey is standing on the couch, bouncing up and down – Raph's got one hand on him for safety – and he's trying to join in the song but like Leo, he only knows some of the words. Leo and Raph keep shooting amused looks at each other everytime Mikey hits a patch of words he doesn't know and hums along, or substitutes them with something else.

Armageddon has hit the sewers. Satan's selling sno-cones in hell. Somewhere outside, a butterfly flapped it's wings and made it rain in China. Leo and Raph are getting along.

Never, EVER underestimate the power of a child. They are able to inspire and encourage emotions in adults that they may have never thought was possible for them to feel.

Splinter has noticed the tension level has dropped considerably since 'the change'. Even April and Casey comment on it occasionally. Of course, with April it's a positive statement about how everyone is getting along, and with Casey, it's more of a moan of, "What the hell is Pokey-man? Put the game on," but you get the idea.

Even I have to admit the lower-stress environment is doing wonders for my creative thought processes. I've made headway into a huge number of projects I've had building up for years, and both Raph and Leo have emphasized to Mikey repeatedly that my lab is not for playing around. Unhampered by any intruders determined to find the ONE button on all my inventions that will cause internal mechanical meltdown, I'm almost embarrasingly productive.

It's annoying.

I wonder if any of the others really want to make Mike the way he used to be. I mean, don't we have a responsibility to keep trying? Just because he doesn't really remember too much of his former adulthood, doesn't mean we have the right to keep it from him, or to keep him from it.

I miss Older!Mike. He was annoying, disruptive, clumsy and an all-around pain-in-the-rear, especially when I was working under a self-imposed deadline. He was also the best listener I ever had. He knew nothing of electronics except how to work the TV remote control, his knowledge of chips covered only those produced by Humpty Dumpty, and my computer had a habit of imploding within five minutes of coming into contact with him, yet he would hang out with me for hours, just being a sounding board while I talked out my theories.

I fixed his toys, his gear and his feelings, whenever they were broken or ruffled. Leo was the leader and Raph his second, but Mikey and I never felt the urge to compete within our self-designated roles. We had our parts to play as inventor and joker and we worked well together when we had to take the other two down a peg. But now, I work solo.

Raph still has his 'baby bro' and Leo has always seen Mikey as a person he had to help protect (despite Mike's vehement protests to the contrary). I feel like I'm the only whose truly lost something.

Mikey's still here, right in front of me. Yet part of me has the overwhelming urge to mourn his passing. Like a feeling, that maybe he's not going to be returned to normal, and that even if I could, I'd be met with protests.

Speculation, all of it. It's better not to think of it – it's not like we've succeeded in getting another prototype from Shredder to even begin formulating a restoration plan. So I'll drop it.

I have things to do in my lab anyway. Things to do, inventions to devise, things to tinker with.

...and a candle to light.