HI NO DE
Inspired by the TMNT, the Black Stallion, and the speed of Thoroughbreds
The TMNT are registered terrapins of Peter Laird, who is in charge of Mirage Publishing/Studios, and thus, I claim no ownership to this clever idea of a mutant ninja turtle. The only character I claim as my own is Ryan "Ryutaro" Keshiki and the horses they rode.
In one of the old subway cars, Splinter knelt beside Michaelangelo. The concerned rat removed the thermometer from the turtle's mouth. As he did so, Mike anxiously watched his bushy eyebrows rise.
"Awl man..." The Turtle shifted uneasily on his futon. His cat, Klunk, leapt up on the mattress and sat on the end.
"You be all right," Splinter laid his hand on Michaelangelo's brow for a moment. He pulled up the blanket and watched the Turtle's liquid brown eyes until they closed. "Sleep now, my son, it is much needed."
Splinter also noticed Leonardo standing at the door of the subway car went he turned to leave. After stepping outside, he laid a reassuring hand on Leonardo's arm and told him Michaelangelo would be okay. But just as a precaution, however, there was the possibility that the others would get sick from whatever Michaelangelo had. Splinter turned his eyes away from Leo and walked to his car at the end of the Subway station.
With a sigh, the older turtle looked out to the platform area next to the line of cars. Raphael and Donatello were bundled under blankets on the broken-down couch watching something on TV. It was getting colder in the subway station lately, colder than what they were used too. The musty fumes that hung in the air meant that Don must have gotten the kerosene space heater to work again. But it still wasn't as effective and cheap as furnaces connected to hot steam pipes, like in the other liar.
This antiquated subway at least had much more than a hole in the sewer walls, what with the electricity and plumbing, but it also had a lot more open space. Trying to stay warm there was starting to get tricky, since it didn't completely go below the freezing line. Who knew how cold it would be there when winter really took hold? Leo decided if they couldn't stay warm, they would have to move back into April's apartment. That option came more for Splinter's sake, being as old as he was. As turtles, they could go into some sort of hibernation - something they did when younger to make it easier for Splinter. But sticking it out through the cold months meant worrying about sickness and finding enough food. And cooperation from everyone to prevent that sort of suffering. Leo took in a deep breath and stepped in front of the TV to turn it off.
"What? Leo..." Raphael got up from the couch with the intent to turn it back on.
"What did Splinter say 'bout Mikey?" Don sat up more from the couch. He could tell something was bothering Leo more than usual.
"He thinks it's the flu bug," Leo told Don as he batted Raph away from the power switch.
Raphael stopped to look at Leo. "An' you had to turn off the TV to tell us that?"
"It's because Splinter wants us to be careful around Mikey-"
"I already am careful around the klu--"
"Listen, Raph! He's contagious now--"
"Don't get sick? That's impossible, Leo! Besides, the Shred-head is dead for sure. He's fish food now." Raph fixed his eyes on Leo's with a look of certainty.
"We should be ready for anything. There's still some Foot out there. Y'know how they strike when we have our guard down. Get with the program, Raph!"
"I can handle it," Raph told him. It must have been the past holiday, when the Foot made hell break loose, that was making Leo nervous again. "Leo, look, you gotta let all that from before go."
"You want to be sick to have your butt kicked?"
Don shook his head as he watched the two make faces at each other. They always have to argue about something. At least Raphael wasn't in one of his funks now.
"Now you've given 'the great message', can I turn the TV on?" Raph pointed to the set.
"Fine! Don't give a damn about this!" Leo held his hands up.
"Shya..." Raph left them. This topic was a lame one to fight over anyway. He'll go out to Casey's place then. There, he'll be off of his brother's shells and be warm.
Despite all that Splinter did to care for Mike, his concern persisted. His homemade remedies worked just enough to alleviate Mike's discomfort. But the virus still won at the end. Mike was not showing signs of improvement like Splinter hoped to see.
Nonetheless, Mike still wanted to stick it out and participate in the day's training session. Splinter felt uneasy with this decision, but he allowed him to practice.
"Do that one more time, and I'll blow snot on you, asswipe!" Mike got back on his feet.
Raph stayed in his defensive stance. "Wull, stop bein' such a push-over, Booger Brain."
"Look, Chunky Chicken, I'm doin' good to even be here." Mike stepped back into a fighting stance and flipped back his chucks.
Raph gave him a sinister look, his sai gleaming in the light. "Dimetapp Droolin' Dog."
"Whoa, a triple D... uhh, time out!" Mike promptly straightened up to face his sensei. "My head is killin' me, not to mention the rest-- Master Splinter...can I be excused?"
With a groan, Raph turned away. He noticed Leo stopped his spar with Don to see what was going on too. Raph had to admit it wasn't like Mike to walk away from a challenge.
Splinter narrowed his eyes with concern, but he actually felt more relieved. It was better for Mike to not work up a sweat in his condition anyway. Despite all his remedies, the best one he could give was rest. The sensei granted Mike the permission to leave. "Do get more rest," Splinter told Mike as he bowed out.
Later, Leo stopped by Master Splinter's car to learn of any new developments. His sensei seemed to be preoccupied with something lately and that bothered him. "Master? Can I talk to you?" Leo stood at the door.
The old rat sat on his zabuton near a small, electric heater. He nodded wearily.
Leo entered and kneeled in front of the rat. "You're worried about Mikey, right?"
"What he has is something strong. I have not seen any illness that bad in a long time." Splinter nodded. "I hope Mike can fight it."
Leo could sense the regret in his voice. A feeling of unfairness for who they are. "Yeah, the wonder of modern science...designed by humans, for humans." Too bad April was visiting relatives this week. Ever since they gotten to know her and Casey, they opened a door to the outside world that wasn't there before. In addition to experiencing many more human customs and experiences, good and bad, the Turtles got access to drugs and antibiotics too.
"It gets worse before it gets better, I fear," Splinter added.
"Do you know for sure what it is?"
"Influenza. A bad case."
Don looked up from his monitor to see Raph leaving. He was decked out in his bandana and sai again. "Going' topside with Casey?" Don wanted to make sure. Another part of him wanted to go where it was warm too. Keyboards and mittens definitely didn't work out too well.
"...Yeah," Raph stopped to look at Don a moment. "I'm dying from boredom here." And the off key sounds Don's computer made was starting to drive him nuts.
Don's dark eyes fixed themselves back on the black DOS screen. The computer game he was writing, and experimenting with, was starting to eat at his patience. His head was pounding with a hunger headache too. Don sat back and checked the clock. No wonder, it was almost seven o'clock. Leo and Splinter have been preoccupied for a long time too.
Well, somebody's gotta do something about dinner.
Don stepped into Mike's car. "Mikey, how's it goin'? Hungry for some Chinese, or something?"
Mike was lying on his back with his arms folded across his face. He put them down to look at Don. "Donny, don't. I just spewed," Mike whispered.
Klunk looked at Don with a matter of fact expression. Yeah, talk about a mean hairball!
"Ooka-" He frowned in disgust and started to back out.
"In the bathroom."
Don stopped at the door. "You okay now?" he tried to sound more concerned.
"No..." Mike put his arms back over his face.
Don frowned, "Try drinking water?"
"Don't feel like it..."
"Well, um, hang in there," Don finally left him to look for the others.
"Mhh... s'cuse me," Mike swept by to get to the rest room.
Don went directly to Master Splinter's car after that. "Master?" He kneeled next to Leo. "Mike's... vomiting now."
"Now it's stomach flu..." Leo grimaced. Splinter already left to check on Mike.
It was the middle of the night and a streak of light still shone from the restrooms. All but the glow from the kerosene heater, the rest of the station lay in a still darkness. But this light persisted...it kept Raphael awake since he became aware of it an hour ago. The reason why it was on just kept bothering him.
Raphael finally crept out of the car to check on Mike. He heard Don asleep on the couch, apparently not wanting to sleep in the same car with Mike tonight. Raph knew Don cared about Mike, but Don had never been one for being much of a nurse. Sure, Don may know medical science inside and out, but he tended to get squeamish when it got down to the actual flesh and blood.
Raphael turned his focus on the restroom. He hadn't heard any noises come from it for some time now.
Raph found Mike on his knees, leaning against one of the sinks and sound asleep. You know, toilets handle this shit way better, he thought as he turned on the faucet to rinse out the sink.
The cold spray of water awoken Mike and he lifted his head. "Whut, where? Uh, Raphael."
"Feelin' any better?" he stood there while holding the empty Pepto bottle upside down.
Mike tried to smile. "Nuthin' works, eben the 'beverage of choice'..." he attempted to stand up.
Raph helped him and put his brother's arm around his shoulder. "And nothing cures a hangover either," he motioned that Mike should go back to bed. "You weren't here all night? It's getting cold."
"Gave in, huh?" Mike asked instead. He thought this was not like Raph.
"You get better, okay?" Raph regarded him with a warm smile. It reminded him of that time, during their first encounters with the Foot, when he had been beaten into a coma. Leo and Mike faithfully took care of him for a couple weeks until he came out of it. He would never forget that. Before Raph left the car, he set a bucket by Mike's bed. "So you won't hafta get outta bed."
The next day, which happened to be Thanksgiving Day, started off on a different note. Before April left to visit relatives, she gave them a turkey and some holiday money so they could celebrate the occasion too. Leo found himself stuck with the duty of buying food needed later that day with Casey. This holiday had gotten to be one they looked forward too, as it was a chance to eat some hot, real food.
By ten o'clock, Raphael was up watching the parade and whatnot on TV. Don had been watching TV, but instead busied himself with replacing some light bulbs here and there, now that they got some new ones. When they started cleaning up the place last summer, Don noticed that light sockets lined much of the architecture. The subway must have used hundreds of light bulbs back then. Now, however, he couldn't imagine obtaining that many light bulbs, or repairing the wiring, to make it all work. Of course, finding a way up to the higher parts of the ceiling became another challenge. So just a few light bulbs stuck in the bottom sockets and a couple floor lamps suited them. After that was done, Don finally mustered some courage to go into the diner car to get the turkey going.
"What gives, Chef Boy D? You makin' enough noise to win over a construction crew." Raph walked into the diner car.
Don didn't look up, as he was searching through a box on the floor, "Can't find that folder with recipes in it..."
"Aww, heaven forbid, Donny has to cook without a recipe!" Raph teased him. He loved it whenever Don didn't know about something.
Don stood up and crossed his arms. He looked at the small turkey on the counter the back to Raph. "Would you know how long to bake a bird, in a toaster oven?"
Raph smirked. Don was practically working himself into a tissy over the matter. "It's alright to say the words, 'I don't know'."
Leo walked in and set a grocery bag on the table. He didn't have a moment before they pummeled him with questions.
"Leo, do you know how long to cook turkey?"
"Is Casey comin' over?"
"Would you know where the recipes are?"
"Guys," Leo held out his hands to keep the two at bay long enough for a response. "The answer's no for both of you."
"What?" Raph tried to hide his disappointment. This day was going to be a drag for sure. First Mike and now Casey's out of the picture.
"Casey told me he was going out of town. His mom had been missing him." Leo turned to Don, who seemed perplexed by the news as well. "Donny, I'll ask Mike if he knows about the turkey, okay?"
Mike sat in his bed, flipping through a comic book when Leo walked into the car. "Que pasa?"
"Your medicine, catch!" Leo tossed him a small, paper bag. "How are you feeling?"
Mike promptly dropped the comic to make a fast rebound. "Uh...I'm not pukin'," he hoarsely replied.
"That's improvement. Look, after what Casey went through at the doctor, you better take that stuff." Leo smiled. "And Don's wondering how long to bake the turkey. What do you have on it?"
"I got something in the folder over there," Mike looked up from the bag to point under a cluttered bench seat.
"Geez, Mikey! No wonder..." Leo fished it out himself.
"Happy Thanksgivin', Leo." Mike pulled out a container of pills to read, then put on a Bob Dylan impression. "Whoa, dude! E-everybody must get sto-oned."
Leo went back to the diner car and tossed the folder on the counter.
"Uhh, maybe I should disinfect it first," Don looked upon the folder without touching it.
"Get real, Donny-boy." Raph groaned.
Leo shrugged and opened the folder. "Got any ideas so far?"
"Just turkey, if I can bake it." Don rummaged around in the refrigerator.
"Hmm, pumpkin pie pizza..." Leo paged through the recipes.
"At least Mike isn't the cook this time," he broke his smile to the other two.
The three worked together to do what they could for dinner in between TV commercials. For Raph, it was the football games that made the highlight of Thanksgiving Day, not as so much the food. On the contrary, food was often a luxury for them while TV became a necessity.
The cheers coming from the game on TV brought Mike out of his room. He had made it clear before he didn't want any of the dinner.
"Hey, Mikey-y! Long time, no see," Don scooted over on the couch for him.
Mike sat down and warmed his hands in the space heater. "Who's winning?"
"Huh... dunno, don't care," Don sighed. "Been in the kitchen most of the time."
Mike took a glance through the doorway of the diner car, "Just turkey?"
Don nodded, "Still not joining us? Casey's not coming, so..."
"He's not? Man, it's goin' to be a bummer."
"Talk about all the turkey leftovers we're gonna have." Raph leaned on the back of the couch. He somehow felt the need to get on Mike's nerves.
Mike pulled his blanket over his shoulders more. Shut up Raph, or I'm gonna...
"Ya sure you don't want any... turkey?"
Mike shook his head.
"Raphael," Splinter addressed him, "fifteen- "
"But, I w-"
"No 'buts,' do flips now," Splinter ordered.
"Suckaa," Mike grinned, but was reminded of his manners or he could be next.
The dinner of Thanks came and went, but with a semi-festive atmosphere. It just wasn't the same without Mike being himself. They did save some of the turkey for him, but he still refused. When in fact, Mike actually was afraid of what Don did to the turkey. It just didn't sound too good.
Things were fairly calm that night--or were they? Leo suddenly woke up to a thud, and Mike cursing. He thought it could've been a sudden invasion of the Foot Clan. "What's going on?" He whispered to himself, a katana in hand.
"Uh, hi Leo," Mike stood by the couch as he rubbed his right shoulder.
Leo lowered his blade in relief, "What's the story now?"
Splinter also came to the door of his car, but just listened.
"Uhh...I musta fell off the couch, into the table," Mike whispered. He was glad he didn't knock it into the kerosene heater too, or it would've been a real mess.
Leo glanced over to Splinter with a half smile. "The break from him was nice when it lasted." He turned to go back to bed.
"Great, there went my footrest." Mike slowly piled up the pieces of the coffee table before he drifted back to his own bed.