Disclaimer: I do not own the TMNT. If you're like me, sometimes it's hard to come up with original ideas for stories. I've noticed that a lot of the turtle fan fics are similar; I don't mean we rip each other off, I mean different stories from different writers stem from similar ideas. In fact, this story was inspired by a South Park episode. See if you can guess which one!
Same Old Story
"Hey bro, what's up?"
It was a phrase Michelangelo had uttered hundreds, if not thousands of times, often out of boredom, over the last sixteen years. Usually the brother in question would simply answer him. However, once in a while they would jump in surprise and try to cover up what they were doing, which meant Mike's day was about to get a lot more interesting; on the rare occasion the surprised turtle was Leonardo, Mikey knew he'd hit the jackpot.
"I'm not doing anything, Mikey, just boring stuff," Leo said, clutching the yellow notebook he'd been writing in just moments before tightly against his plastron. "Battle strategies, that sort of thing."
"Well, you're always saying I should take more of an interest in battle strategies, so let's have a look," Mike said, reaching for the notebook.
"No, Mikey, cut it out!" Leo yelled as he ducked and weaved, expertly avoiding Mike's attempts to snatch the notebook from his clutches. Like most pests, Mike was very persistent, but Leo was very determined that his annoying little brother never discover his dirty little secret; However, despite what Leo always said, Mike did know a thing or two about strategy, and he was about to prove it.
Mike suddenly stopped grabbing for the notebook and backed off, hands in the air. "Okay, I give up. Keep your precious notebook."
Leo relaxed slightly, but was still eyeing Mike warily. Mike continued to back further away, hands still raised. "I know when I'm licked. I'll just go to my room and…" he glanced to his right and suddenly his eyes grew wide and he gasped in shock. "Raph, are you drinking a beer?" He cried.
Leo immediately turned his head in that same direction, but Raph was nowhere to be seen; that split second of distraction was all Mike needed to slip the notebook out of Leo's arms and run off with it.
"Give that back, Mikey!" Leo snapped. He gave chase, but unfortunately for him Mike could read and run at the same time.
"Aha! Just as I thought! These aren't battle strategies!" Mike laughed as he flipped through the book and dodged Leo's attempts to tackle him. "Joanne awoke with a pounding headache. Looking around, she realized she was not at home. Although this wasn't the first time she had woken up in a strange place after a wild night, this time things were very different…"
Mike trailed off, stopping in his tracks. Leo came to an abrupt halt as well, because at that moment he knew it was too late; Mike confirmed that fact by turning around and facing his brother with an evil little smirk plastered across his face.
"It's not what you think," Leo gulped in a futile attempt to explain it all away.
"I believe it is exactly what I think," Mike said. "You write turtle fan fiction!"
"I don't think it qualifies as fan fiction if I'm writing about us," Leo argued.
"Then why all the secrecy?" Mike shot back. "Is it because fan fiction is for geeks with no lives, as you and a certain two other turtles are constantly telling a certain handsome, younger turtle who now knows that such comments are merely a way of denying your inner geek!"
"You're crazy!" Leo snorted, folding his arms.
"Am I? Well, why don't we show this to Raph and Don and let them decide?" Mike asked as he waved the notebook around.
"No! Mikey, don't!" Leo cried. He slumped his shoulders in defeat. "Okay, okay, you're right. I am writing fan fiction, so what? Despite what you think, I'm not all about ninjitsu! I have a fun, creative side just like you, and I need to express it, just like you!"
"Whoa, slow down there cowboy, there's no judgment here," Mike said, patting Leo's shoulder. "You're in good company."
"Thanks bro," Leo smiled. There was a moment of silence as the two brothers let things sink in to form a new, exclusive bond of geekdom between them, one that could only be sealed by the words that Leo uttered next.
"So...what do you think of my fic?" He asked nervously. "It's not done but I could really use your input since this is my first attempt and…"
"Bro, I would be honored to beta read your story," Mike smiled. Noting Leo's confused expression, he added, "We'll work on the fan fiction terminology later. Right now let's have a look."
Leo waited anxiously as Mike read; it was only two pages long so he was done in minutes. "Not bad, bro, not bad at all," Mike said, handing the notebook back to his brother.
"But…" Leo prompted.
"Your tone of voice…sounds like there's a 'but' in there somewhere."
Leave it to Leo pick up on that. "Well…it's just that…the writing is good, but the story's been done to death." Mike said.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean your idea…where we save a troubled young girl and the Shredder is after her…I've seen it before in other stories. A lot of other stories."
"What stories? Where?" Leo asked, somewhat indignant. He knew he had asked for Mikey's opinion, but he wasn't used to his little brother being better at something than him, and Mikey actually finding fault with his work was a bigger blow to his ego than he cared to admit.
"Geez, you really are green, aren't you? So to speak." Mike said, shaking his head. "There's tons of websites that host turtle fan fiction. In fact, I know one website that has at least five hundred turtle fics by writers from all over the world!"
"And I suppose you've read them all," Leo huffed.
"I have," Mikey replied. He was really enjoying this. "What do you think I do all those hours I spend on the computer? I could pull up any one of my bookmarked websites and show you a dozen stories like yours right now if you want."
"No, that's okay," Leo sighed. "I'll just start over."
"What for? It's a good story. So what if it's been done? Just put your own spin on it."
"Forget it, Mikey. What's the point of telling a story that's already been told? I need to come up with a completely, totally, never-been-done-before original story."
Mike couldn't help but chuckle. "Bro, trust me, that's impossible!"
"Is not! You'll see!" Leo snapped. "I'm going to come up with story that's so brilliantly unique that you will bow down and worship me as the king of fan fiction!"
"All right, wow me if you can," Mikey smirked.
"You're on!" Leo snapped. Notebook firmly tucked under his arm, he marched off to his room.
"I'll be waiting!" Mike called after him. He flopped onto the couch and picked up one of his comic books. For once he was glad Leo was such a rabid perfectionist; in this case, it could translate into days of entertainment.
Mike was still on the couch when Leo returned, notebook in hand and a smug look on his face. "Okay, Mikey, after some careful thought I have come up with five story ideas. Let me know if you've seen any of them on those fan fiction websites."
Mike put down his comic book. "Shoot."
"Story idea number one…Splinter dies of old age and we all mourn him in our own separate ways in a poignant character-driven piece…."
"Seen it," Mike interrupted.
Leo didn't miss a beat. "Story idea number two...Raphael gets a concussion from doing something stupid, and we all take turns babysitting him so he doesn't fall asleep, and to pass the time we reminisce…"
"Number three…by a twist of fate, instead of being raised by Splinter we are raised by the Shredder…"
"Number four…female turtles…"
"Seen it. For the record, anything involving female mutant turtles has been done far, far, faaaaaaaaar beyond death."
Leo frowned. "Even if we were the female turtles?"
"FIVE, Don becomes so obsessed with science that it isolates him from his family to the point that he becomes…"
"As cold and calculating as a machine, just like the ones he's built in an ironic twist?" Mike concluded. "Seen it."
Leo's eye twitched slightly. "Okay, these were just my first ideas. I'm sure if I give it some thought, I'll come up with something totally original." He walked back to his room.
"You know where to find me," Mike called after him.
Leo wasn't at dinner that night. Mike didn't see him again until the following morning, when Leo caught him coming out of the bathroom.
"Okay, Mikey, how about this…April and Don discover they have feelings for each other, but Casey…"
"Seen it," Mike interrupted.
"Raph loses a bet and has to do an entire training session wearing women's high heels!"
"You get pneumonia and we're all taking good care of you, but then you get kidnapped and…"
"Raphael has a drinking problem…"
"Don becomes addicted to…"
"Let me save you some trouble, bro," Mike interrupted again. "Substance abuse is completely covered. I've read a ton of fics where any and all of us is an alcoholic, a junkie, a pill popper, a cutter…"
"Are you serious?" Leo gasped. "You're not just messing with me, are you?"
"I don't kid about fan fiction," Mike replied solemnly.
"What kind of crazy sickos write about us?" Leo cried.
"Oh, fan fiction writers are some pretty sick puppies," Mike said. "I've seen some real disturbing stuff. Stuff that would make your shell crawl."
"Such as…" Leo asked cautiously.
"Let's just say the phrase 'brotherly love' takes on a whole new meaning," Mike smirked.
"I see…" Leo said absently. "Mikey, tell Master Splinter I'm too sick to train today." He hurried back to his room and slammed the door.
Mike stood there, completely dumbfounded. Did Leo really just skip out on a training session to write fan fiction? Slowly, however, his shock melted away into pride. Maybe there was hope for Mr. Stick-Up-The-Butt after all.
Leo didn't reappear again until lunchtime. Mike was just about to sink his teeth into a honey walnut pizza when Leo walked into the kitchen and sat down across the table from him.
"Okay, I've got it this time," Leo said. "Fan fiction writers only know us as teenagers, right? But what about when we were kids? How many kiddie turtle fics have you seen?"
"Lots," Mike said. "And the term is 'chibi turtles.' A real fan fiction writer would know that."
"ANYWAY, who knows our childhood better than us? I'm sure I've come up with a 'chibi turtles' story that no one has ever done before." Leo looked at his notebook. "Like when we were first learning to speak."
"Learning to walk?"
"The first time Donatello built a TV out of spare parts?"
"The time when we were eight and we tried to bake a cake for Splinter and nearly burned down the lair?"
"Potty training!" Leo sputtered. "There is no way anyone has ever written about potty training!"
Mike grinned. "Hate to say it bro, but…"
"Then don't!" Leo snapped.
"Leo, why don't you take a break? Have some lunch. Clear your head." Mike offered a slice of his pizza.
"Later," Leo muttered. He got up and left the kitchen. Mike felt a twinge of concern, but it was quickly replaced by the concern that his pizza was getting cold. He turned his attention to the slice in his hand and chomped down.
As the afternoon wore on, Leo began popping in on Mikey every hour, always with a slew of "original" ideas that were shot down one after another like ducks during hunting season.
While Mikey was playing video games...
"Donatello gets electrocuted and thinks he's Swedish!"
While he was playing with Klunk…
"April yells at us for not helping Master Splinter around the house, so we divide up all the chores with hilarious results."
While he was trying to nap…
"We get sucked into a world inhabited by humanoid animals like us, and instead of green ooze there's this yellow goop…"
While he was sorting his comic book collection…
"You let slip a deep dark secret about us to Casey, and it all sounds really dirty and disgusting at first, but in the end the secret is that we drink warm milk out of the same glass!"
Not surprisingly, the novelty wore off pretty quick for Mike. He tried avoiding Leo, going so far as to put in an extra workout in the dojo, confident that Leo would never think to look for him in there. But he was wrong.
"Crossovers! I know there's got to be at least one crossover that's never been done before! Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Kim Possible! Mighty Ducks! Come on, Mikey, don't tell me anyone has ever heard of the Mighty Ducks! Mikey? Mikey, are you listening to me? Mikey!"
Mike decided to call it an early night. Leo, however, grabbed him just before he reached the safety of his bedroom. "You've heard of Steve Irwin, right? The Crocodile Hunter? Well, what if he discovered the lair and…"
"Seen it!" Mike snapped. "Leo, I'm tired and I'm going to bed. Can we talk in the morning?"
"Oh…sure!" Leo blinked.
"Good," Mike sighed. He waited for Leo to leave, but his older brother just stood there. Mike mentally threw up his hands and went into his room, firmly shutting the door behind him.
When he awoke the next morning, the first thing he saw when he opened his eyes was Leo standing over his bed.
"Morning sleepyhead!" Leo chirped. He caught a shell shocked Mike as he fell out of bed and pulled him to his feet. "Hey, be careful! How will I know I've come up with a completely original story if you get hurt?"
Mike stared at the dark circles under Leo's bloodshot eyes. He wondered if Leo had been standing over his bed all night. "Bro, when was the last time you slept…or ate?" He asked, realizing he hadn't seen Leo at breakfast, lunch or dinner in almost two days.
"Eating only slows you down," Leo giggled. "And no sleep is a good thing! You wouldn't believe some of the crazy story ideas I've come up with! Ready?"
"Um…I really need to use the bathroom…" Mike said, quickly edging his way past Leo.
"No problem! We'll walk and talk," Leo smiled. He followed Mike out of his room and down the hall. "Bishop injects Donatello with a serum that makes him pregnant…"
"Seen…wait, no! No I have not seen it!" Mike exclaimed. He turned to face his brother with a big grin plastered across his face.
"Really? You're not just saying that to get rid of me, are you?" Leo asked with a trace of skepticism.
"No, I mean it," Mike said. "One of us pregnant? That's crazy! Totally out there! No one has ever come up with anything even close to that!"
Leo studied Mike, still not convinced. "You're absolutely sure?"
"Yes, cross my heart! Let's celebrate! Why don't you go into the kitchen and grab that some of that sparkling cider left over from April's birthday, and we'll have a toast! I'll wash up and join you in a minute." Mike held his breath as he waited for Leo's response.
"Okay," Leo finally replied. He turned and walked towards the kitchen.
"Right behind you, bro! Pour an extra big glass for me!" Mike yelled after him. Once Leo was out of sight, Mike made a break for the elevator. "Come on, come on," he muttered impatiently as he pounded the button. The door slid open, and Mike was about to step inside when he was tackled from behind.
"Mikey, Mikey, Mikey," Leo sighed, shifting his full weight onto the leg that was firmly pressing down on Mike's shell. "I am very disappointed in you."
Mike sat in Leo's bedroom, tied to a chair with about thirty feet of duct tape. Three meditation candles sat on a coffee table in front of him. He struggled, but his arms and torso were firmly secured to the back of the chair; the best Mike could do was hop around a little.
"Help! Help!" Mike cried. "Raph! Don! Master Splinter! Where the shell is everybody?"
Leo entered the room, his notebook tucked under his arm. "They can't help you, Mikey. No one can," he said calmly, kneeling in front of the coffee table opposite Mike.
"Leo! Have you lost your mind? Let me go!" Mike cried.
"Why? So you can run out on me again?" Leo shot back. "I don't think so!"
"I wasn't running out on you! I was…going to get some cheese and crackers! Everybody knows you can't have sparkling cider without cheese and crackers! So how about you let me go and I'll pick some up?" Mike asked hopefully.
"No more lies, Mikey!" Leo snapped. He put his notebook on the table and began to light the candles.
Then Mike noticed something peeking out from underneath Leo's notebook. "What are you doing with my comic books?" He cried.
"Teaching you a valuable lesson. You need to understand that your lies not only hurt others, but they'll often come back to bite you," Leo said. He picked up one of the comics, a rare edition of the Silver Sentry, and held it perilously close to the middle candle's flame.
"NOOOOOOOO! LEO PLEASE DON'T!" Mike yelled, rocking from side to side in a vain attempt to break free.
"Do you understand why lying is wrong?" Leo asked. Mike nodded vigorously, and he put the comic book down. "Good. Now let's get down to business."
Leo picked up the notebook and flipped a few pages, stopping somewhere in the middle. "Master Splinter gets fleas and after numerous attempts to get rid of them, he shaves his whole body." He said, looking expectantly at Mike.
"Seen it," Mike sighed.
Minutes passed, then hours as Leo rattled off one story after another and Mike shot them down. Mike's brain started growing numb; he became convinced that his vocal cords were mutating, and that if he didn't escape Leo's insanity he would never be able to say anything but 'seen it' ever again. He had to get out of there.
"…but despite Raph's best efforts to help me out of my depression I end up dying anyway, not from suicide but from being shot by some punk." Leo said, looking up from his notebook at Mike.
Head bowed, Mike mumbled something unintelligible that forced Leo to lean in closer, far enough so that his notebook was in range of Mike's foot. Mike kicked the notebook out of Leo's hands, sending it sailing to the back of the room. As Leo stumbled for it, Mike leaped to his feet in a burst of frantic strength that broke the chair in two; he blindly fled the lair, still bound to the back of the chair, determined to get as far away from his deranged brother as possible.
Mike ran and ran, not paying any attention to where he was going, partly because the piece of chair he was still tied to forced him to bend over and look at the ground as he ran. That's why he didn't notice the steep drop at the end of the tunnel until he'd run out of ground and there was nothing but air beneath his feet. Mike plunged straight down, towards tens of thousands of gallons of raging sewer water on its way to an unknown destination, when suddenly his fall stopped cold; dangling precariously above the rapids, he looked up to see Leo tightly gripping the back of the chair.
"Leo!" He cried, happy to see his brother for the first time in days. "Pull me up!"
"Sure thing Mikey," Leo replied. "But first…Don comes up with an experiment where you eat nothing but pizza for a month…"
"NO!" Mike shrieked. "NO MORE! I don't care if I fall to my death, I'm done! You want an original fan fiction story? How about a story where you're so obsessed with coming up with an original fan fiction story that you harass me to the point where I'd rather drown than listen to any more of your stupid ideas!"
"Really? No one has ever done that before?" Leo asked.
"YES!" Mike yelled. "I don't think any writer could ever see you going this coo-coo over fan fiction!"
Leo frowned. "Technically it's your idea…"
"No it's not! I officially renounce all ownership of the idea! It is now an orphan! Do you want to adopt it? It's so lonely…sitting all alone in the dark, crying out for a daddy…"
"Okay, I'll do it!" Leo cried happily. "I'll do it!"
"Great," Mike sighed in relief. "No will you please let me go?"
"Sure thing bro," Leo grinned. He let go of the chair and skipped off to the lair to write his totally original story.
"That's not what I…" was all Mike could cry out before he hit the unforgiving icy waters...
Leo's eyes snapped open. He was slumped over his desk in his room, using his notebook for a pillow. He wiped off the drool and began flipping through it; there were plenty of battle strategies but not a single fan fiction story idea. Leo sighed in relief. He hadn't gone crazy…his subconscious mind was just telling him he needed a break.
Leo got up and walked out of his bedroom. "Hey Mikey! You'll never guess the crazy dream I…"
Leo stopped short. The lair was in black and white, and the walls were covered with a thin layer of chicken strips. The air was heavy with the stench of lint. Sonic the Hedgehog was curled up in the corner.
"Leeeooooo…" a familiar voice said. "Why did you let me gooooooo?"
Leo froze. He turned and saw his baby brother, green skin turned grey and covered in bits of duct tape, slowly advancing towards him. Leo tried to run but his feet were stuck in peanut butter; it slowly crawled up to his knees, keeping him rooted to the spot as Mike came closer and closer, reaching out to him with dead, rotting arms…
Mike awoke with a start. Slowly a grin spread across his face; he leaped out of bed and hurried down the hall towards the computer room. As he passed the dojo, he poked his head inside and saw Leo practicing.
"Hey bro, what's up?" Mike asked.
"The usual," Leo replied. "I train hard and you get a free ride."
"Cool. Well, I'm off to write a new turtle fan fic. You accidentally kill me and I come back as a zombie and eat your brain with peanut butter." Mike hurried off to begin writing his latest masterpiece.
Leo stood dumbfounded for a moment. "Man," he muttered, shaking his head. "Where does he get those crazy ideas?"