Okay-- Sap-City, here we come. I find that I like writing Turtle Tot Stories. Maybe it's because I am not good at angsty stuff. Maybe it's because I need humor in my life. All I know is, this is yet another Chibi Turtles Tale, and it will end with them as teens. Then I am going to work hard on some more action stories! I must! I must, do you hear me?
TMNT are owned by Mirage. Christmas is owned by those of us who refuse to be intimidated by the few who, not merely satisfied with secularizing it, are out to totally destroy a wonderful holiday (and holy day as well)! Fight the grinches!
Summary: Six-year-old Donatello helps Michelangelo with a special Christmas wish... years later, Mikey returns the favor.
Chapter One: You'd Better Watch Out!
Now that Thanksgiving had passed, Mikey's mind was on Christmas!
When they were four, Christmas as a holiday wasn't something they'd really been aware of. It had been just a special fun day where Father didn't make them do lessons. They had played games all day, like "Hide and Seek" and "Tag" (he'd let them run in the lair!) and they had had all sorts of fun. They had received funny red stockings that you could not wear but had their names written on them in some glittery stuff; the stockings had been filled with apples, oranges, nuts, candies, and a small toy-- Mikey's had been a little toy horn that he'd cheerfully blown loudly and tunelessly for all of about two hours until it had mysteriously disappeared. And Father had prepared a special meal of chicken and vegetables-- and a cake, a chocolate cake!
Mikey remembered that day so clearly! He still wondered where that horn got to...
When they were five, they were more aware of Christmas as a holiday due to the wonderful Television that Don somehow got working. Father had brought in a real TREE! Mikey had never seen a real tree-- he had not been out of the sewers yet, like Leo and Raph and Don, and they had tried to describe trees to him, but it had been hard for him to understand. Splinter would occasionally bring home leaves and branches and stuff for their lessons, and Michelangelo would feel them and smell them to death, they were so fascinating. But this tree...
It was about the size of Michelangelo. He knew from pictures that it was a type of pine tree, the type used for Christmas trees! He smelled it and smelled it, trying to figure out where he'd smelled such a beautiful scent before... it kind of reminded him of the stuff they used to clean the floors with... only better... it made him happy to smell it, and he stood there whenever possible, taking in deep breath after deep breath, until Raph accused him of "trying to suck all the air out of the room so that we all die!"
They had decorated it with colored paper chains that Splinter showed them how to make, and he taught them how to string popcorn (he got these ideas, btw, from a crafts book he'd found in a dumpster, naturally). And he'd found some old ornaments that had been thrown out with broken ones-- perfectly good, but "out of fashion" probably. Michelangelo's favorite was one Santa-shaped one-- he was finally learning about Santa from the TV.
That was the year he had asked Splinter if Santa was going to come visit them!
And Splinter had no answer to give him.
"Santa comes to visit children everywhere," Mikey kept chattering about all he'd learned from the shows. "He brings presents to good little girls and boys all over the world! He slides down chimbleys and leaves presents under the tree! We gots a tree this year! Does that mean Santa is gonna come visit us?"
Splinter had listened to this hopeful chatter in silence, trying desperately to come up with the proper way to let his son down. But his other sons had their own ideas to expound upon.
"Mikey, there ain't no way Santa is comin' here to see us," Raph, busy stringing more popcorn (to replace the long string that Mikey had eaten earlier), said in an irritated yet practical voice. "We ain't humans. Santa only goes sees human kids."
"But it don't say that in the stories," he contradicted. "It just says all the good little girls and boys-- not all the good little humans. And 'sides, I saw a show, and Santa came to give presents to those kids, and they was animals!"
"That is a cartoon," Leo chimed in, carefully hanging one of the unbroken ornaments on the tree. "Santa is a human and for real only visits humans." Said with the conviction of a really "old" five-year-old mutant turtle. "And 'sides, we don't have a chimney."
"But--" Mikey tried again, but Raph cut him off.
"Mikey, get a clue! Santa Claus is a HUMAN! An' HUMANS are not to be trusted! He can't visit us 'cause we gots to hide! Don't you listen to Master Splinter? He comes down here an' sees us, and the next thing you know, he's puttin' alla us in that bag, and takin' us to the zoo or the circus-- and NOT 'cause he likes us! Right, Sensei? He can't find us, right? He can't find us and take us away from you, can he?"
Now Splinter looked at his second oldest in amazement. He could see that the lessons regarding not trusting humans had gone home all too well with this one-- and also with Leonardo, who was nodding in agreement with Raphael. They both looked just a tiny bit concerned; a tiny bit afraid!
All their short lives he had warned them about the surface dwellers, the humans. They had seen enough TV shows and movies in the past year to reinforce those warnings.
But he also knew that this story of Santa Claus was just that-- a story that adult humans told their children. He cleared his throat to address this issue, when Michelangelo solved it for him.
"I know," he sighed deeply-- and sadly. "I know, he ain't coming to see us, even though we gots a tree. I understand."
And he forced a smile on his face and went back to work making more decorations for the tree.
Splinter's throat choked up at the disappointment of his son, and he resolved to have a private talk with him later, to explain the "tradition" of Santa Claus... but for some reason, he never got around to it.
They had hung up the stockings they had gotten the year before as part of the decorations-- though Mikey had hopes. After all, in the stories the kids hung up their stockings and in the morning there were presents and stuff. Maybe Santa was not the type to capture them, and would come after all and give them gifts!
Raphael and Leonardo had been reluctant to hang the stockings, also knowing of what happened in stories, and to them it was like INVITING danger into the lair. But Splinter had assured them that any gifts they found in the stockings would be from Father, not from Santa. This sort of took the surprise he had been planning away-- but it had relieved the two eldest.
Donatello, surprisingly, had kept out of the entire exchange. Splinter would have thought that, of the four, he would have been the one to expound on the myth and the nonexistence of such a human. But Donatello had quietly watched and quietly listened, and had kept making decorations.
So that Christmas had passed much as the previous one, with games and fun and treats in the stockings, and a nice meal, and a chocolate cake.
But Michelangelo had been just a bit disappointed. He just couldn't believe that someone who went all over the world giving gifts would be evil enough to snatch up four mutated turtle children and turn them over to evil people.
So, as the year advanced and the holiday season approached, Michelangelo once again thought about Santa and presents. He was more and more curious about Christmas, so much so that Splinter took him out one night instead of scavenging and, bundled up, they toured the neighborhood that Splinter had taken them trick-or-treating in this year (ANOTHER first!), and they spent a cold yet enchanting two hours looking at the Christmas lights and decorations.
To Mikey it was like stepping into one of the fairy tale books-- it was so beautiful! The colorful lights, the moving decorations, the snow, the music, the people-- Mikey feared people like he'd been taught, but he was also fascinated-- he could watch them for hours if given a chance. He wanted to MEET them, play with them-- yet knew that he never could.
"And how do they make the lights all them colors, Father?" he enthused, his breath turning to smoke before his eyes, despite the muffler that Splinter had wrapped firmly around his youngest's face. "And how do they make them blink? And how comes that house gots all white lights, and that house gots lots of colors? And where is that music coming from? And is that a reindeer statue? Do reindeer make it rain, Father? Ohhh! Looklooklooklook! They gots SANTA on the roof! Is it Christmas ALREADY? SANTA! Oh, it's a decoration? Sorry, Father! I promise I will quit shouting... LOOOOOOOK! RUDOLPH!"
He was so impressed with the entire experience that he couldn't speak with his brothers about it for several hours. He just had been so blown away with the beauty of it all!
And in his mind the Santa Claus question was pushing pushing pushing until he couldn't take it any more, and suddenly asked, in the middle of drinking hot chocolate to warm up:
"Can Santa come visit us THIS year?"
Directly, to Splinter, as if he sensed that his father was the one who kept him away, like he kept the other humans away. Maybe just this once Splinter could let him in, let him know where they lived-- after all, that whole song went "he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake"; surely that must mean he already KNEW where they lived, and since no one had come for them in all this time, he could be trusted! He didn't tell anyone!
"Not again!" Raph groaned. "Mikey, it ain't gonna happen! We're NOT HUMAN!"
"Raphael, there is no need to shout," Splinter mildly rebuked his son, then turned to Michelangelo. "My son, I am sorry, but--"
"NO problem, Sensei! I understand! Really I do!" Mikey quickly interrupted, grinning widely-- yet Splinter could tell that he was disappointed. He usually gave in like this when he did not want to hear the reasons why something couldn't happen. It let him hold on to hope...
Splinter sighed sadly, looking down for a moment. He truly wanted his sons to have as "normal" a life as possible-- and yet Fate had decreed that this not be so. Where was the harm in letting Michelangelo hope for such a visit? What harm could it do-- apart from building his expectations to such a height that whatever Splinter did give him in the name of Santa would surely disappoint?
He thought of the carefully saved money that he kept on hand for the important things they needed, such as milk and other fresh foods. To use it to buy toys would put their nourishment at risk... and yet, perhaps, with the help of the Sakais, he could find toys that were new enough to please yet would not take up all of his carefully hoarded money.
"My sons," he said-- hesitated-- then went on, carefully. "Perhaps he may come this year, if he promises me most sincerely that he will not reveal our presence to the outside world. Perhaps, this year, Santa Claus may come here."
Stunned silence for a full minute; then-- pandemonium!
Michelangelo had such a joyous look on his face, that Splinter felt that choking feeling in his throat again. His son's eyes were wide and shining, his mouth was open in the largest grin that could fit his small visage, and he seemed to glow with happiness.
"Santa is gonna come see us this year?" he barely could speak the words aloud, he was so happy! He turned to his older brother, and grabbed him. "You hear that, Donnie? Santa is gonna come see us this year! Santa! US! You and me and Leo and even Raph! Santa Claus is comin'--"
He jumped up and started dancing around the living room, singing "Santa Claus is comin' to town" at the top of his voice. The words were not perfect, the tune was only slightly better, but there was no mistaking the enthusiasm behind the performance. Mikey had already been given his first real Christmas wish: Santa was going to visit them this year!
Raphael and Leonardo exchanged worried looks.
"Uh, Sensei," Leonardo hesitantly spoke. "Is-- is he REALLY gonna come here? An' see us, and where we... where we live?"
Splinter once again was quick to pick up the note of fear in his eldest son's voice. Raphael's look mirrored Leonardo's-- they both still remembered their attempt to go topside alone and buy milk, and the scare they'd had when Splinter, in his own disguise, had shown them in a most frightening manner, why they needed to remain unseen.
Reaching out, he placed comforting hands on the two eldest.
"I promise you, my sons, that no one, not even Santa Claus, can ever take you from me! I will never allow anyone to take you from me! I swear it."
Both looked visibly relieved, while also trying to look unconcerned; after all, the two younger brothers were watching, and they had reputations to keep intact.
Splinter sighed again as he watched the antics of his youngest. What had he done? How could he ensure that he would not be disappointed?
Donatello, once again, had kept quiet throughout the entire exchange. No one could tell what his opinion was about the entire thing. He watched as his baby brother celebrated the coming visit of this so-called "person"; he noted the slight fear in the expressions of his two older brothers, in the tone of Leo's voice as he'd asked Splinter his question; he particularly was aware of his father's look of concern.
Don could tell that Splinter was torn and unhappy about this, though the smart little turtle was still not quite sure why Father felt this way.
Still, it seemed that Christmas, this year, was to be as close to a human one as possible.