Disclaimer: Sadly I don't own the TMNT...::sighs:: oh well...in my dreams I do though ;o) But anyways...I only hold claim to any original character that happens to pop up along the way.

Author's Note: Hmmm...I did have something but now I can't remember what it was...oh well...ENJOY! Review please please please please!!!!!

Prologue"Grow up!"

"Donnie, Donnie, Donnie, what'cha doin' Donnie? Huh, huh, huh? What'cha doin', Donnie? Wanna come see my new trick I've been workin' on? I finally got it mastered and I wanna show ya!"

"Sorry Mikey…I'm kinda busy right now."

"Aw c'mon Don!! You can spare five minutes, can't'cha?"

"Sorry Mikey."

"But Donnie! I wanna show ya it!"

"MIKEY! I said I was busy! Maybe later." Donatello snapped, annoyed that his "younger" brother would not stop pestering him. Donnie had had himself locked up in his room for the past few days working on one of his many gadgets and gizmos when his brother Michelangelo, Mikey, came bounding in, skateboard in hand. The orange masked turtle would have nearly scared five years out of his brother—if he wasn't already use to such interruptions. He had, however, become accustomed to any one of his brothers just barging in and making their presence known. Most times Donatello would stop what he was doing to listen to them, or would just nod and agree with them as they would rant and he'd be working, only half listening to them. This day though, he had already had six different interruptions—all from Michelangelo—and he had finally had enough of it.

Michelangelo's shoulders slumped and his blue eyes darkened a shade in pain. Looking around his brother's room silently, he sighed heavily and turned to leave. To him, it seemed as if everyone was getting annoyed with him. All he wanted was someone to hang out with him, like they use to when they were younger. He could remember all the times the four of them would go on adventures through the sewers, and he missed those days. Now, all they cared about were themselves and doing things that didn't involved "little brother". Every once in a great while Raphael would go hang out topside with him, but then he'd see Casey and leave Mikey to wander back to the lair by himself. Sometimes, in an even greater while, Donnie would emerge from his room long enough to play a few rounds of video games with him before retreating back into his room. Then there was Leo. Mikey didn't even wanna begin to try and remember the last time Leo ever did anything fun with him. Hanging his head, he trudged from Donnie's room in search of his other brother, Raphael.

"You're always busy." He muttered softly, heading out into the hallway of their sewer home. He spotted Raph sitting on the couch in their make-shift living room. Thinking his luck had improved, he stepped up to him just as Raph was getting up to leave.

"Hey Raph! Wanna come see that new trick I've been workin' on? It's totally awesome!"

"Love ta Mikey…but…I'm on my way out. I told Casey I'd meet 'im an' we'd go bash some heads in. Maybe latah, ok?" Sighing, Mike nodded and just stood there as Raph headed for the door.

"See ya bro-n-oh!" he called, closing the lair door behind him.

"Yeah…later…right." Answered Mikey sadly. Feeling dejected, he headed to the dojo where he knew his final brother would be practicing. He wasn't going to get his hopes up on Leo wanting to see the trick, not when he had more important things to be doing—like playing Splinter Jr. and acting like a "fearless leader"—but he was willing to take the chance. When he opened the door he saw exactly what he thought he would, well, maybe not exactly but close enough for him. Leo stood in the middle of the dojo, balancing on one foot with his eyes closed. He stood so still and silent that anyone who didn't know any better would have thought he was a statue. He didn't say a word or even shift slightly when the door opened and Mikey stepped in. Mike didn't say anything to disturb his brother, he just stood there waiting, knowing soon enough Leo would say something to him first. After a few minutes, Leo finally spoke to him.

"Yes Mikey?"

"How'd ya know it was me?" That got a small smile from his older brother. If there was one thing Leo had learned from his meditations and lessons in leadership from their Master Splinter, it was how to tell which one of them was in the room without looking at them, using only their presence to go by.

"Magic." He joked, eyes still closed. "What do you want?"

"Uh…I was wonderin' if you wanted to come see my new skateboard trick I've been workin' on. I've finally gotten it mastered and—"

"Mikey, I can't…I still have two more hours of katas to do. Go see if Don'll watch you." Leo answered, slowly lowering his left leg, placing his foot firmly on the floor and rising the right. Bringing his arms in, he placed his hands together—palms flat—and let a slow, long breath out. Mike continued to watch his brother for a few more moments before narrowing his eyes and leaving the dojo. Walking through the living room, he stopped when he reached his bedroom. Opening the door part way, he reached in, grabbed his skateboard and walked out.

"Fine…no one's gonna come watch? Everyone's too busy to watch one stupid trick? I'll go someplace where I'll be appreciated."

Guenevere sighed and closed her eyes for a moment before looking back at the man with a forced, but sweet, smile. She had been at work for almost eight hours now, and for nearly seven hours had absolutely nothing to do. She had spent most of the time watering the flowers, making arrangements for the coolers, and upgrading different plant baskets with pretty ribbons and bows. When she saw the gentleman approach the counter, she groaned inwardly but forced a bright smile at him. She knew he was going to be in a bad mood, he always was when he came up to the flower counter. What she hadn't expected though was for the man to stand there and argue with her for close to twenty minutes over whether or not she was "hiding" the good roses in the back cooler. He was never that persistent. Taking a deep, calming breath, she tried once more.

"Mr. Henson…I can assure you…again…I am not hiding the 'good' roses in the back cooler, from you. What we have out on display is all that we have left! What you see is what we got."

"You are a very rude and deceitful young lady. I want to talk to your manager!" For a little old man, the grey haired gentleman sure was obnoxious. Gwen wondered how much longer he could hold out before he finally angered himself into a heart-attack. Shaking that thought from her mind, she shook her head at him.

"My manager has gone home for the evening. If you'd like to lodge a complaint you'll have to take it up with one of the store managers." Grabbing a piece of paper and a pen, she quickly scribbled down the manager's name, along with her own. Handing it to him, the man seemed to settle down some.

"You'll be fired before the week is out." He threatened before turning and storming off, well, as much as a motorized shopping cart can allow.

"I'm sure I will be, Mr. Henson…" She answered a small smile on her face. Taking a deep breath, she leaned over the counter to watch him leave. "See you next week, Mr. Henson!" A grumbled curse came back in reply, making the twenty-two year old floral clerk smile more. Hopping down, she glanced at the clock on the phone. 7:45pm, eight more minutes and she could go clock out. Pulling her shoulder length brown hair out of it's ponytail, she shook her head some, loosening it as a shadow fell over the counter in front of her.

"I still think it's just wrong that you're always so happy to be at work." A male voice said playfully. Guenevere laughed softly and smiled, looking up at her friend Carson. Gwen had only been working in the floral department at the Sampson Supermarket for a few months and hadn't really made many friends there yet. However, Carson Pressman had at least made an attempt to talk to her from time to time as she would walk past the meat/seafood department on her way to collect her floral delivery every morning. He would always joke saying she was way to happy to be at work, to which she'd pipe back that she was happy she at least had work. Every once in a while, one or the other would go to talk to each other if they had nothing to do and Gwen was glad she had someone to talk to.

"I'm happy because in exactly eight minutes, this badge is going through the time clock and then I'm walking out the door. I've been here eight hours and have had nothing to do…all…eight…hours. It's been the most boring day of my life." She said, resting her head on her hand, leaning against the counter. Carson laughed and smiled as he leaned against the opposite side.

"Lucky. I've still got an hour left before I can leave."

"I'm sorry, Carson. But hey, at least you have tomorrow off. I've gotta be here at eight am. Wanna trade?"

"Not on your life, Gwen. Take it easy." Carson said, pushing himself up off the counter and heading back towards his own department. Gwen gave a small chuckle as she glanced at the clock. 7:52, close enough. Grabbing her memo book off the counter, she made sure things were cleaned up and hurried to the far back corner of the store where the employee break room was located. She smiled politely at the two older women sitting at a table gossiping before swiping her badge and tossing it haphazardly into her waiting locker. Grabbing her keys, she locked the small metal door and turned to leave.

It was a mild, early May evening and Gwen was glad that the sky was bright and clear. Stepping out into the warm air, she quickly untucked her red work shirt from her tan slacks. Pausing for a moment at the edge of the curb, she bent down and untied her shoes enough so that when she got home she could easily kick them off and go walking through the soft baby grass on her front lawn. She quickly crossed the near empty parking lot to her car and glanced up when she saw the most beautiful shooting star streak across the sky, a bright green tale flashing behind it. Breath caught in her throat, she watched it brighten the darkening sky before fading out just before it disappeared behind the horizon. Clamping her eyes shut, she made a wish; the same wish she'd been making since she was fifteen. Maybe this time, someone up there will listen to me for a change and give me a hand. She thought before unlocking her truck and getting in, heading home.

Raphael paced the living room like a caged animal waiting to be released and pounce its captors. He could feel his blood boiling and was reminded once more why he had been given a red bandana. He couldn't-no-wouldn't believe that his brother could honestly be so stupid as to go out and reveal himself to a bunch of strangers in the park. Granted he had done everything in powers to keep his true identity hidden, but Raph knew it was him. He had been out with Casey, patrolling the alleys and keeping the unsuspecting and ungrateful city at least a little safer when he heard the excitement at the skate park. Smirking and thinking of how much fun his brother would have a place like that, Raph led Casey over to the shadows near by and that's when he saw him.

"Are you absolutely sure it was him, Raph? Maybe it was just some teenager being a show off? There are a lot of strange lookin' teenagers in this city." Donatello questioned from his seat on the couch with his older brother Leonard, both of whom were finding strange amusement in watching Raph pace. Stopping in the middle of the room, Raphael turned a cold hard gaze at his so called 'genius' brother and scowled.

"I ain't blind Donnie…I know it was him! He was wearin' the clothes dat April and Casey bought him for his birthday last year so he could go topside to get things for his board. Da DC skater shoes, baggy blue jeans, bright orange oversized hoodie, shades…it was him."

"Yeah but Raph, lots of people wear clothes like that. That's why April and Casey got them for him."

"Alright den Leo, how about this den…he did one of his stupid stunts and den shouted 'Cowabunga'. Who, aside from Mikey, say's cowabunga anymore, huh?" He had a point. Taking a deep breath, Leonardo crossed his arms over his chest plate and frowned as he thought for a few minutes. Donatello meanwhile, got up to go retrieve a soda from their fridge when the door to the lair opened and in walked a smiling Michelangelo, skateboard in hand. He was no longer wearing the clothes Raph had described, but that didn't mean he hadn't stashed them somewhere along the way. Sliding down the railing, he landed in front of his two older brothers and glanced over at Donnie in the kitchen.

"Hey bro's! How's it going?" He questioned like it was nothing and moved past them to put his skateboard away. Clenching his fists, Raph lunged at him and tackled him to the floor of the living room.

"I knew you were stupid Mikey but I nevah thought you were that stupid!!" He exclaimed through clenched teeth. Mikey looked up at him in surprise before shoving him up and off of him and standing up.

"Hey dude, time to switch to caffeine free." This granted a snarled response from his hotheaded brother and almost a punch in the mouth if Leo hadn't been his saving grace and stopped Raph's hand before it could extend. Stepping between the two brothers, Leo crossed his arms and glared down at his 'younger' brother.

"Michelangelo, you know you aren't supposed to go topside without permission, especially not to just go play. What were you thinking? You could have gotten into seriously trouble." Mikey knitted his eye ridges together and shook his head, moving towards the fridge for something to eat.

"I dunno what you're talkin' about bro. I was out skatin' the sewers. I'm not that stupid. You guys all need to lay off the caffeine, seriously, it's messin' with your eyes or something."

"You're such a little liar!! You were not skatin' the sewers! I saw you! You were out bein' a show off at the skate park. You're the only one I know of who could give Tony Hawk a run for his money and that's what you were doin' out there." Raph snapped, his anger building inside of him by the minute. How could Mikey stand there and lie right to their faces and Leo not do anything about it? So much for Mikey being an honorable ninja. Silently, Raph vowed that he was going to kill Mikey before his next birthday for lying right to them without even batting an eye.

"Heh…a run for his money? C'mon bro, seriously. I'd kick his tail." Mikey laughed at the thought, taking a bite from his apple. He started off for his bedroom again when he was stopped, this time by all three brothers. The three other turtles looked at him with a look that, combined, could actually kill someone if they wanted. Sighing, he slumped his shoulders some and stared them down.

"Mikey you could have endangered not only yourself but also the rest of us. What if any of them had followed you?"

"Oh yeah, Leon…an evil clan of 12 year olds are gonna come an' kill us all in our sleep."

"Maybe not them, but how much ya wanna bet all those li'l kids went runnin' home to tell mommy an' daddy about the neat tricks the strange lookin' guy at da skate park was doin' an' the next thin' we know the towns folk are comin' after us wit' torches and pitchforks to do away wit' da monsters before dey can eat their little children?!"

"Raph…dude…lay off the horror movies. Nobodies done that since VanHelsing."

"They're right Mikey. You know that the topsiders still think we're the bad guys. What if you slipped up and let something slide? You could have given yourself away and we'd have no way of knowing where you were or if you were ok. That's why you gotta stay in the sewers to skateboard. You always said 'Why skate a half pipe, when you can skate a sewer pipe?' So stay down here where the skating's better anyways." Donatello said, finally voicing an opinion on the whole thing. Raph glared at the all too lenient brother and stepped forward, pressing his nose close to Mikey's. Brown eyes narrowed into cold slits, he glared at him for a moment.

"Forget that…I'm sick of riskin' my shell ta keep you outta trouble little brother. We ain't little kids anymore!! Hell, we ain't even teenagers anymore! Why don't ya start actin' yer own age!?" Michelangelo took a few steps back and for the first time ever felt as if his brothers really did hate him, and that thought hurt him badly. Straightening his shoulders, he glared back at Raph and tossed the rest of his half-eaten apple into the garbage can. Pushing past the three of them, he placed his hand on his door and turned back to look at them.

"So what? Just cuz we're not kids or teenagers anymore, that means I can't still have fun? Where's the fun in actin' your own age then if ya can't have fun anymore? Do katas for 5 hours a day? Spend most of the day and night out beating people up? Or…Or lock myself away in my room for days on end and not pay attention to any one or anything? What do you guys want from me? Cuz I just wanna have fun and spend time with my bro's."

"We want you to GROW UP!!" The three brothers exclaim. Those words stung Mikey worse than any beating from the Foot ever could. He felt truly betrayed by his brothers. For as long as they had been brothers he was always the laid back one, the one who always possessed the innocence of a child which sometimes annoyed –though mostly refreshed- his brothers with his crazy antics. Yet here they were telling him he needed to grow up? Growing up was overrated, and his brothers were prime proof of that. If growing up meant he couldn't have fun anymore, then Mikey was all the more determined never to. Standing a little taller, Mikey turned and slammed his bedroom door causing the pictures to shake slightly.

Leonardo sighed heavily and unfolded his arms. Looking between his brothers, he turned and moved off towards the dojo. There was nothing more to say to Mikey, he knew how they felt, and they now knew how he felt about the matter. Having been followed by Raphael and Donatello, he turned to look at them. Donatello was always the more reasonable one in the family. He's rather talk things out than start a fight over things; Leo liked that best about him. Raphael on the other hand, would rather punch first, ask questions later. Despite that, Leo did have to give him credit for always being the one to look after the others when he couldn't, and would usually be the one who bore their problems for them. In their own rights, Leonardo supposed that, maybe they all had been pretty much grown up their whole lives and never knew it since it was so normal for them. Yet, what was it about growing up that scared their brother so much that he refused to do it? Frowning, he sighed and shook his head.

"Just leave him alone for the night. We all could use some rest. We'll work things out in the morning." Leo states before turning to go meditate before going to bed. Raph scoffs at that and leaves Donnie to stand in the dojo by himself. Sighing, Donnie glances out the door of the dojo and into the living room. Spying a picture of the four of them with Splinter from when they were younger, he felt a small twang of pain in his chest. The picture had been taken by April shortly after they had become friends. It showed Splinter sitting in his grungy old chair, like he does so often and though you couldn't see it you could tell that he was smiling from the bright shine in his brown eyes. Sitting in front of him, looking like the biggest suck-up in the world, was Leonardo. Donnie had to chuckle softly, remembering how Raph always would call him "Splinter Jr." To Splinter's right in the photo was himself, giving a slightly shy smile with his hand resting on the armrest of the chair. To the left was Raph, looking all too annoyed but forcing a half smile anyways. He had one hand hanging down to the side but his right hand was reaching up to smack Mikey in the back of the head. Mikey was standing behind the chair, smiling brightly and innocently though both hands were extended to give Raphael and Donatello bunny ears. The bunny ears had appeared so suddenly that April didn't have to time take her finger off the shutter button before the picture took. Smiling and shaking his head, Donnie turned and headed back to his bedroom, hoping to get some rest before they'd have to try and talk to their little brother again in the morning.