Disclaimer - There is a scene with Mikey, near the end of the TMNT movie, that spawned a plot bunny for me. I had to wait in writing it down, however, until I had my current project completed. Wasn't sure how to start it, but as I thought back to that scene, I wondered what happened just before and just after. So, this is my take. I don't know if I wrote Mikey properly, but I think you'll figure out what scene I'm talking about by the end of this first chapter. It's not going to be a long story, however, as I'm just exploring another aspect of family life.
As before, I only own the plot bunny. All other scenes and characters belong to Mirage, Warner Bros, and that wonderful man, Kevin Monroe! Thanks, Kevin, for believing in the TMNT's.
The little dudes are crowding 'round me, smiling evilly, their weapons raised high. They seem happy and for a moment, I am, too. But, then I realize I'm on my back and my arms feel like lead weights. I squeeze my eyes shut and try with all my might to roll over, but I can't.
I'm stuck fast.
Suddenly, a loud noise interrupts my concentration. That's when I hear a hundred voices giggle, the way kids do on Christmas morning. I look up to see the mini-dudes stare down at me, wide grins plastered on their faces.
Still, I so want it to be Christmas, 'cuz I'd be safe at home and not here, on my back, with a hoard of kids hovering over me.
Then, the little guys begin hitting me with their Styrofoam chuks, the very ones I gave them before the party started.
Some thanks, eh? What was I thinking? And I thought working with kids would be fun, too.
Anyway, as each chuk slams into me, I try to dodge their hits, but it feels like I'm glued to the floor. I can't even lift my head. Styrofoam by itself isn't so bad, but a hundred hitting me at once is another thing all together. At least, it feels like a hundred, 'cuz it stings like crazy, and it seems each chuk belongs to as many little monsters, too.
Normally, I would've jumped up and beaten the snot out of anyone attacking me. But not here. Couldn't even protect myself if I wanted to. Donnie had even warned me about it, cuz he said I'd be thrown in jail - or worse - for maiming little kids! Wouldn't that be peachy? Sensei would have my shell, if the authorities didn't get it first.
Suddenly, the little dudes stop hitting me with their toy weapons. I breathe a sigh of relief; but only for a moment, because in the next, a hair-raising scream makes me jump. Only I can't, cuz I'm stuck.
Before I know it, hundreds of little feet begin kicking me in the leg, the chest, the…oooh, the groin.
Ugh, that last one hurt, the little dudette really connected and now I can see stars and visions of a childless old age.
Heh, of course it doesn't matter anyway; like - what woman would want t'start a family with me, a freakazoid mutant turtle? I can hope, of course, imagining a half-dozen little squirts just like me, complete with shell and a big grin like mine, and probably green all over! I can even imagine Splinter trying to spoil them, only I think he'd end up committing seppuku if they turned out anything like me.
Then I chuckle, thinking about Dad rolling his eyes in exasperation, spouting his "Oi, kids" phrase, and then…then I wonder if my kids would have…hair?
Hmm…now, there's a thought.
Before I can think what a human hybrid turtle with hair would look like, though, I look up and watch as an avalanche of birthday cake tumbles towards me. And as much as I love cake, this doesn't look good at all.
I try to move out of the way, but I can't. Again, I feel super glued to the floor.
Yet, the cake keeps coming, raining down on me. The helpless feeling is overwhelming, too, but I can only lay there on the ground, inert, as half-grown humans laugh at my expense.
Then, as the mountain of cake and icing slowly obliterate their smiling faces, just as I feel the sweet suffocating goodness of confection…a loud noise from beyond the crowd of birthday kids startles me from my impending, sugary death.
"Mmmph…" I sit up, my eyes wide and frantic, my hands batting at imaginary foes. It's then I notice that something's fallen from my face. In panic, I pick it up and find it's only the…sofa pillow. Bits of crumbs and frosting are all over it, too, right where my face had been.
Suddenly. I look around and realize I'm home and not at the party from hell. I'd do a whole slew of Hail Mary's if I was Catholic, but...um...I think I'm Buddhist. Yeah, so, I thank that big pugdey guy with the grin, instead.
I sighed and then smirked, "Dude, that was some nightmare!"
I guess I fell asleep on the couch with a half-eaten slice of cake, one of many given to me from the parties I do. And I seem to be having a lot of these nightmares, too. But then I wonder what woke me up.
That's when I see Raphael storm into the lair from the sewers. For once, I'm thankful for my big brother's customary noisy entrance. The party-nightmare's are really starting to get to me.
As the brick door slides closed, mimicking the wall it pretends to be, I suddenly notice something odd about my red-banded brother. He seems upset, not in 'angry upset' but in 'upset upset', the emotional kind, the kind he hates and tries hard not to have, where his eyes get all watery, except...this time he's not doing a good job of fighting it.
He sees me and seems to recover a little, squaring his shoulders, but it's too late and I give him that look, the one that says 'what's wrong'.
Posturing himself more than normal, Raph musters up his usual arrogance, but I can tell whatever trouble he's bringing home is too much even for him to handle and then I notice his bandanna. It's wet. Must be raining topside, I guess, only, his eyes look red, too. Well, at least it matches his mask.
Still, Raph fixes me with a look that challenges me to be quiet.
I smile back a little, hoping to get at least a small one in return from him. With my face decorated with bits of frosting and chocolate cake, I'm sure I look pretty silly, but he only snarls at me and I know better, now, than to say anything.
Then, again, when have I ever listened to common sense? Yeah, dudes, like never! Heh.
"S'up, bro?" I ask.
He growls in reply and narrows his expression threateningly, and I wonder if he's going to take his troubles out on me. Instead, he says nothing.
That's when I notice his growl is different. It matches the way he looks, kind of depressed, and it sounds strained, like he's been crying or something. But Raphie never cries, not since he was real little. I've known my big brother all of my life, so I know when he's more than just a little angry. I'm smart like that; I know all of my brothers pretty well, just ask me.
But, a year ago, he became mellower, the way he did whenever he'd pound the practicing dummy into oblivion. It's like he found himself a purpose, something to make him proud. He didn't' turn into a pushover or anything. No one, at least not in this family anyway, would ever call Raphie a push over, not unless they want their weapon shoved to where the sun doesn't shine. Sensei might be able to say stuff, but - well - he's Sensei and he can say what he wants to Raphie and Raph has to listen. Well, he doesn't listen so much anymore, but…yeah, usually.
Of course, after Leo came home a couple days ago, I wasn't so sure how Raph would react. He's been more of a lone wolf this past year and I know Leo would have a fit about that. He believed in everyone being a team player. The moment I saw that Leo was back home, after I gave him my thankful hug (and believe me, was I thankful! No more parties, dude!), I worried that he and Raph would end up duking it out at some point. So far, though, they've been marginally civil.
And, believe it or not, even Don wondered about it. I mean, we're all happy to have our big brother back, but like I said, while Leo was in South America, Raph did his own thing. He slept all day, going out all night, and doing whatever it was he did since he didn't have Big Brother bossing him around anymore. And he's still doing it, too, now that I think about it. Leo's been back for a couple of days, now, yet Raphie's still prowling the city - probably with Casey.
Of course, I wonder if April knows. I'm surprised she lets him, where they're an item, now. Yeah, shaking up like husband and wife, only - they haven't said the 'I do's', yet.
The more I think about Leo's trip to enlightenment, though, I'm convinced Raph took it personally, 'specially when Sensei picked Don to lead. 'Course, it's because Don is so smart, which only made Raph's attitude, worse, and I know that Don hates dealing with Raph. In fact, I kinda feel sorry for the guy. I wouldn't trade places with Donnie, not for anything! Well, other than maybe a lifetime supply of cake… so long as it's real and not part of a dream. Heh.
Anyway, Raph and Leo behaved pretty awful this morning at breakfast. I thought for sure World War 3 would happen. Surprised Sensei didn't notice.
Maybe he did and was just happy to have his family whole again.
Just the same, I realized then how peaceful things have been with Leo gone. I do miss the quiet but I have to admit that last night was pretty awesome. All of us together again, fighting bad guys, even though the ugly dude won, or - at least I think he did. Haven't a clue where he went, though. I know Raph wanted to chase after him, but - the police were coming fast and we had to get back to the sewers before any of them saw us.
And it was very strange that the Foot were in on it, too. I thought they'd left town. Hmm...
Barely made it to the tunnels in time, though. Leo was pretty mad at Raph, too, told him he needs to listen to orders better.
And all the way home, Raph acted pretty pissed. I can't say Leo wasn't mad, either, because if he had laser eyes, he'd have bored a hole right through Raphie's shell!
Actually, other than losing a brother, that'd be pretty cool!
Oh, and the way Raph led us all home, I don't think Big Brother liked that part. Between getting us all into a fight that wasn't ours and then taking his time going to ground, Raph should have just let Leo lead, but - well - he didn't. And it only got worse at breakfast, too.
Of course, after Splinter heard the news about the construction site mess on television, it stopped the growing conflict between my two brothers. They had more important things to worry about then - such as…making sure we all kept our heads!
And then when Leo challenged Splinter, I thought Dad would nearly explode! I took a quick look and noticed Raph react. I think he was just as surprised as Don and I was. But, the way Splinter snapped back at Leo, I saw Raphie smile. Haven't seen too much of that expression from him, that's for sure. Kind of nice, if it was because we were all in trouble.
Still, although it might have taken balls and maybe a little stupidity thrown in for good measure to do what Leo did, he shouldn't have challenged Dad like that. He may have been a Lone Ranger in South America, but he's home, now.
You never, ever backtalk Sensei. We all both know better. We have the bumps to prove how foolish that is.
Guess Leo's been away too long.
Anyway, I think about these things as I watch Raph storm further into the lair. He tried to ignore my obvious curiosity about his abrupt entrance, too. Before I can say "What's wrong, dude", he stops, and then glances at me.
With his voice low and guttural, his Brooklyn accent no longer lacing his words, he nearly spat, "Where's…Splinter?"
I shrug, "Don't know, dude, been sleeping." I look up at the clock on the wall and notice the time. Right about now, Sensei would be doing a little Tai Chi. "H'might be in the dojo, though." I offered brightly, trying to sound positive.
Raph snorts and resumes his march, saying nothing more to me. The way he storms towards the doorway leading to the dojo, I half expect him to blow through, but he suddenly hesitates, almost coming to a full stop.
Raph never hesitates and I can see him tremble, now, and then he ducks his head, the way we used to when we knew we were in trouble.
I sit up straighter, now, curious, and as I do, a feeling of dread comes over me. As I look over at my brother, my gaze follows the length of Raphael's arm, finally coming to rest on his hands. It's there I see that he's holding something in each fist, something familiar. A glint of reflection catches my eye, the flash bright, but more importantly, I can see what he's holding.
In a moment frozen in horror, I realize that in each hand Raph grips what looks like…Leo's twin katana. There's something different about them, too, and my attention sharpens immediately, but one question comes to mind, distracting me for a moment.
"Why does Raphie have Leo's swords?"
Suddenly, I see Raphael inhale deeply, pulling me even further from that thought. The way he's breathing, now is the way he breaths whenever he has to face Splinter with unsettling news, and it's that last thought which adds weight to my inner, growing fear. Unsettling news doesn't happen unless…one of us is in danger.
Now, I ask myself, "What's happened to Leo?" because I know Leo never goes anywhere without his weapons.
That's when I seeRaphael tighten his grasp around the handles.
For a moment, I'm kind of glad it's not my neck, thinking back to the times I've pranked him and how he'd retaliate. But, then, the skin of his hands whitens and he holds the handles firmer still, almost in a death grip, as if afraid the swords would slip from his hands.
And when I look again, I suddenly know what's wrong with them. My breath hitches and I gasp and I have to force myself to swallow, to keep from getting sick. For it's in that moment when I finally understand what's going on…and what it might mean.
Leonardo's weapons are…broken!