Duty.

Summary: Once a brother, always a brother; even in the wee hours of the morning. Pure fluff.

A/N: Playing around with just letting myself type, rather than coming up with any set plot first. You can probably tell too. Anyway, constructive reviews most welcome.

I don't own any of the following characters etc.


Duty.

"Donnie!"

No, it couldn't be. His little brother wasn't really shouting at him, he was still dreaming. Subconsciously he knew it was still dark even on the surface, so it was illogical that Mikey would be awake and shouting. Illogical for two reasons; one, Mikey rarely woke before daybreak unless absolutely necessary, and two, he knew his brothers were perfectly within their rights to murder him if he awoke them before six thirty. Or ten on their rare days off.

"Don, you're totally awake, you just moved."

This just happened to be a day off. And they had all trained far too hard the previous day. That's what this had to be. An irritating dream brought on by sheer exhaustion. It would go away in time, and he would return to weeding the flowers that were growing out of the concrete floor of his bedroom, as he had been doing earlier.

"Donnnie!"

Now that he thought about it, flowers growing through concrete seemed to be making less sense than it had been earlier. And the voice wasn't going away. Worse, now something was shaking at his bed persistently, and everything started to feel a little too real.

"Don, pleease, wake up!"

Don heard himself groan and mutter something incoherently threatening. When Mikey just shoved at his bed again, he cracked open an eye, blinking at the cracked LCD screen of the alarm clock he'd relieved from the local dumpster.

4:53. Of course.

"Mikey, you had better pray to the God of turtle punks that you can run faster than I can untangle myself from these blankets," he growled, or rather, rasped groggily. He winced at the sudden weight that dropped unconcernedly across the back of his legs, and tried uselessly to roll away.

"That sounds like the line from some movie, dude," mused his brother, ignoring Don's weak attempts to free himself and return the blood flow to his feet. "I think it's a safe bet that I can, too. You guys don't really function before the sun comes up."

"Get off me and I'll show you how well I function," he muttered darkly in response, inwardly demanding to know why he, of all his brothers, had been chosen to undergo this torture; this pre-dawn - little brother ambush.

"You're more like Raph early in the morning, too, did you know? I wonder what Raph is like. He probably dreams about kittens."

"Disemboweling them, maybe," sighed Don, falling limp and deciding that if he just went along with everything, Mikey might grow tired and leave. It worked sometimes. "And are you really telling me you don't know?"

Mikey snorted.

"Dude, the last time I woke up Raph this early he tried to kill me."

"What makes you think I won't?"

"Well I'm still alive and kickin' so far."

"Just wait until I can find my elbows," Don mumbled. "Once I can move all my body parts again you're in big trouble."

"Here's your elbow," said Mikey helpfully, prodding at the appendage in question.

"Thank you. Why are you here? What did I do?"

"You didn't do anything, you've been a model big brother recently," Mikey assured, resting an arm across Don's shell, shifting around to get comfortable and drawing out a pained growl from his brother as he dug his knee into Don's calf.

"And this is the thanks I get?"

"Hey, not everything is about you, mister," chastised Mikey. "Actually, this visit is all about Leo."

"Then how come you aren't gifting him with this surprise visit instead of me?"

"About Leo, Donnie, pay attention. I can't talk to him about this, that would ruin it. We have to discuss his birthday festivities."

Don sighed, letting his head slump back down to rest on his forearm. This obviously couldn't have waited until daylight. Especially considering that Leo's birthday wasn't for another week and a half. No, he was glad that Mikey had had the presence of mind to wake him up at this ungodly hour of the morning of his day off to chat about it.

And he conveyed his gratitude by reaching around, blindly locating his brother's bandana ends, and giving them a good, hard yank.

"Hey! Unnecessary. This is important."

Birthdays had always been a big deal in their family, mainly because of Mikey's overwhelming enthusiasm for all five occasions, not merely his own. Don had to admit that Mikey was a lot of things but he was nothing if not generous, and genuinely excited and eager for celebrations not strictly centered around himself. Don, Raph and Leo had gradually outgrown excitement for their own individual birthdays, but Mikey tended to make it fun, whether intentionally or not.

In recent times, he'd even dragged April into the festivities; roping her into decorating and baking and running the CD player, and all kinds of activities that gave him more time to follow the birthday turtle (or rat) in question around, serenading them with an off key 'happy birthday'.

"I guess the sooner we do this, the sooner I can go back to sleep, right?" he mumbled, choosing to believe that having his legs grow numb was a marked improvement to being able to feel his brother's knee pads digging into them.

"That's the idea, bro," chimed Mikey cheerily. "And you don't even have to think about anything, you just have to agree with what I'm tellin' you."

"Perfecto."

"Okay, now the rules of this event are going to be very simple, even for you guys. No and I mean absolutely, definitively, no behaviour to bring out Inadequate Big Brother Leo. For this one little day he's going to know that he actually is a good brother."

Don smiled a little despite himself.

"That's actually a nice thought, Mikey. Impossible to do, but nice."

"It's not impossible," grumbled Mikey good naturedly. "Granted it just seems that way lately, with him goin' all emo on us. But we can snap him outta that. Provided you keep Raph in line for me."

"Me?"

"Yes, you, I'll be too busy singing and decorating and running the event."

"Please, Mikey, you bake a cake, you play some music, that's as complicated as it gets-"

"Like I said, I'll be busy. Besides, Raph actually listens to you, who knows why. So no 'Fearless Leader's, no 'Splinter Junior's, no nothing. Just sweet, adoring, big brother worship from all of us. I think he should be able to manage that for one day."

"Yeah, you never know."

"And you also have to get me a blow torch. Or at least find the one you lost in the abyss of your lab," added Mikey off handedly.

"Excuse me?"

"Well come on bro, it's a mess in there. It's like a war zone. Except even more dangerous 'coz you've got sharp edges and acids and all sorts of freaky sh-"

"Why do you need a blow torch?"

"Hello, crème brulee."

"You're making crème brulee?"

"Uh, yes," intoned Mikey, and Don could just picture his younger brother rolling his eyes in annoyance. "Remember, it's like the one sweet thing Leo even likes. Our brother is a freak, Don."

"We're all freaks," Don sighed. "Some more than others," he added pointedly. "But since when did you learn how to make that?"

"Well, it's a work in progress," admitted Mikey, rocking forwards to lean on Don's shell and inadvertently driving his knees further into Don's calves. "But I'm getting better. I figure I have to live up to my namesake, and start venturing into more artistic endeavors than just pasta and pizza."

"Better that than nude sculptures all around the lair, I guess."

"Says Donatello," smirked Mikey. "He was just as bad. We both crafted the same thing, dude, that David guy, and it's your fault that I know this, because it was you who printed out all that internet waffle about the Renaissance period-"

"Seeing as how this part of the conversation is not germane to Leo's birthday celebrations, could we please skip ahead," Don muttered, struggling to hold back a yawn.

"Fine, fine. So your instructions so far are…"

"You said I wouldn't have to think about anything."

"Don."

"Locate missing blow torch… and supervise you whilst using it… tell Raph to keep his mouth shut for one day, and be an adoring little brother."

"You're also on balloon blowing-up duty, and streamer hanging duty, and helping-April-set-up-the-music-speakers-and-what-not duty."

"Fine, that's easy," he nodded, realizing that the lower half of his body was by now numb enough that he was starting to feel comfortable. "Hey, how come I didn't get crème brulee for my last birthday," he asked drowsily.

"You got chocolate sponge cake," reminded Mikey, smiling. "I didn't hear any complaints then."

"No, it was good."

As much as they all liked to complain, Mikey actually was a surprisingly good cook. When he wasn't 'improving' the recipes with his own unique flair that is; usually in the form of foreign and unusual bonus ingredients.

"Hey Mikey?"

"Yeah?"

"What do you want for your birthday?"

He let his eyes slip closed, hearing his brother chuckle quietly at the question.

"Nothing that any of you cook," he teased. "I prefer my birthdays without food poisoning, thanks very much. I'm quite happy just having artistic license with the pizza toppings, and a steady supply of chocolate ice cream."

"I resent that," Don protested softly. "I'm a good cook sometimes. Besides, we have a few months to prepare for your birthday. I bet… I could learn something nice by then." His words were punctuated by a wide yawn, and he felt Mikey shift against him.

"Well, I'll have a think about it," promised Mikey, sounding as though he was torn between feeling touched and amused. "If you can master cheese on toast maybe we will let you progress to the oven. Anyway, that sums up Leo's birthday plans, I think."

"Good. In nine days time I bet I'll look back upon this moment and be glad you took the time to come and wake me up."

"I know."

"Can I go back to sleep now?"

"Knock yourself out, bro."

Don sank back down into his warm bed sheets with a sigh, patiently waiting for the pressure on his legs to ease up, and for his brother to pad off into the darkness of the rest of the lair.

A few moments turned into a few minutes, and he found that he still couldn't move his legs, and Mikey appeared to have no intention of leaving. He twisted his neck around and opened one eye, peering up at his brother.

"Are you waiting for a goodbye hug or something? I can't even do that if you don't free my shell."

Mikey rolled his eyes but didn't get up.

"It's warm in here," he noted, glancing around. Don blinked.

"So?"

"My room's cold."

"Well that's because your floor was so filthy and piled up with broken toys and boxes of comic books that I couldn't find a place for the space heater in there."

"I totally made a space for you beside my bed."

"Yeah well, in the time it took you to knock all the action figures back into the pile of surface clothes, Raph had already claimed the heater. Not my fault."

"You could stand up for your little brother."

"Clean your room."

"The hall is cold too."

Don groaned.

"Look, you can stay here on three strict conditions: You do not speak, you do not shift around endlessly, and you get off my legs. I can't feel my feet anymore.'

Mikey beamed at him.

"You're a good brother, Donatello," he confided, rolling around and dropping down to stretch out at his side; ignoring Don's relieved sigh as feeling began to flood back into the lower half of his body.

"That's the real reason you came in here, isn't it," he accused sleepily. "It had nothing to do with Leo."

"I always knew you were the smart one, Donnie."

Finis.